What Is a Mid-Century Modern Style Home?

The love of mid-century modern architecture deepens every year. 

 But what exactly is this style of architecture? And how do we identify it? 

Let's dive into the history of this movement, the key characteristics and features, mid-century modern style homes for sale right now, and more.


This history of mid-century modern design… 

The term mid-century modern is not an easy one to define but broadly speaking, it describes architecture, furniture, interior design, and graphic design from roughly 1935 to 1975, as part of the larger modernist movement with roots in the Industrial Revolution, though some argue this particular movement is only specific to 1947 - 1957. 

Due to the economic changes in Germany following World War II, Bauhaus architects and designers migrated to America. American cities were expanding rapidly post-war and with this came suburbanization and the need for quickly built, modern homes and furnishings. And so the mid-century modern movement was born.

So, what exactly is a mid-century modern style home?

Generally, ranch and split-level homes built between 1935 and 1975 (which feature the characteristics listed below) can be labeled as mid-century modern. However, in recent years, new contemporary homes have taken inspiration from the movement - these would be considered mid-century modern style homes.

Expect clean lines and subtle organic curves, an eclectic variety of materials but in an uncluttered and simplistic manner, a fun and retro-inspired vibe, and an unwavering emphasis on functionality. 

Some of the most notable mid-century modern residential architects include Charles and Ray Eames, Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Koenig,  Le Corbusier,  Oscar Niemeyer, Eileen Gray, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, John Lautner, Richard Neutra, Luis Barragán, Greta Magnusson Grossman, Eero Saarinen, Rudolph M. Schindler, and Archibald Quincy Jones - to name a few.

Common characteristics and features of a mid-century modern home…

  • Clean and sleek lines
  • Organic and geometric shapes
  • Function over form AKA an emphasis on functionality
  • Low-pitched hip roofs and low-pitched gable roofs
  • Roof overhangs with exposed rafters or an open eave
  • The use of contrasting materials, traditional (wood) and non-traditional (plastic, glass, vinyl, Plexiglass, Lucite, and vinyl)
  • A range of colors - from muted to bold and graphic uses of black and white
  • Minimal fuss, clutter, and ornamentation
  • Detached garage
  • Large, linear, flat windows
  • Recessed, covered front entryway

Check out mid-century modern style homes for sale right now in:

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Greater Los Angeles, CA

Greater San Diego, CA

Greater Sacramento, CA

Greater Seattle, WA

Greater Austin, TX

Dallas Forth Worth, TX

Greater Houston, TX

Greater San Antonio, TX

Atlanta Metro Area, GA

Greater Charlotte, NC

Raleigh-Durham, NC

Greater Denver, CO

Greater Phoenix, AZ

READ NEXT: 8 Magnificent Mid-Century Modern Homes for Sale in the US

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