Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands

20 Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands

From Eames to Noguchi – The 20 Brands That Created the Most Iconic Mid-Century Pieces

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands

The Mid-Century Modern design movement produced some of the most iconic and beloved furniture brands that still resonate today. This style is characterized by clean, simple lines, organic shapes, an emphasis on functionality and quality craftsmanship using wood, plastic and other materials.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 20 mid-century modern furniture brands, from famous names like Herman Miller and Knoll to underrated gems. You’ll discover the history behind each brand, their most notable designs and what makes them stand out.

Whether you’re a collector looking to invest in authentic vintage pieces or want to emulate the retro modern aesthetic in your home decor, understanding these influential MCM brands is key. Let’s dive in!

1. Herman Miller

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Herman Miller

No list of iconic mid-century furniture brands is complete without Herman Miller. Founded in 1923 in Zeeland, Michigan, the American company became synonymous with great design thanks to collaborations with legendary designers like Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi.

Herman Miller is perhaps best known for producing the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Designed by Charles and Ray Eames and released in 1956, it remains one of the most recognizable and coveted mid-century designs today. The chair exhibits the Eameses’ signature plywood molding technique and includes plush upholstery fitted over seven hand-crafted leather cushions. It perfectly encapsulates luxurious, relaxed California modernism.

Other popular Herman Miller creations include the playful biomorphic Nelson Marshmallow Sofa, the curved Molded Plywood Lounge Chair and Ottoman by Eames, and the Noguchi Coffee Table with its smooth freeform sculpture base meeting a clear glass top. Herman Miller’s collaborations with these groundbreaking designers make them a legendary mid-century brand.

2. Knoll

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Knoll

Established in Pennsylvania in 1938 by Hans Knoll, this furniture company focused on European-inspired, modernist Bauhaus aesthetics. Hans recruited many renowned designers to create products for Knoll like Mies van der Rohe, Harry Bertoia and architect Florence Knoll, whom Hans later married.

The Barcelona Chair from 1929 remains one of Knoll’s most iconic and celebrated mid-century designs, conceived by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich for the German Pavilion at the Barcelona Exposition. With its tubular steel frame, leather straps and angular geometry, the Barcelona chair embodied the sleek continuity of modernism across borders.

Other items like Bertoia’s wire womb chair, the contoured diamond chair, and multilevel Saarinen coffee tables are also emblematic of the Knoll’s style. The brand was an early pioneer of office system furniture and ergonomic workspaces through Florence Knoll’s designs. Their signature mid-century aesthetic artfully blended architecture, pragmatism and sculptural elegance.

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3. Heywood-Wakefield

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands -  Heywood-Wakefield

Founded in 1897 in Gardner, Massachusetts, this American furniture maker became a go-to for quality modernist pieces in the 1940s-50s. Under the leadership of interior designers like Russel Wright, Heywood-Wakefield employed innovative materials like fiberglass, rattan, wicker and blond wood for its signature mid-century style.

Some of Heywood-Wakefield’s most collectible designs include the blond and natural-toned M1558 bedroom sets from the 1950s. Their bentwood creations like the scoop-shaped Conchord Chair also exhibit the company’s deft handiwork. With seating like the wicker-woven Wagon Wheel Chairs formed from a single spiraling piece of rattan, Heywood-Wakefield’s avant-garde use of diverse materials make their vintage MCM pieces fascinating additions to any home.

4. Widdicomb Furniture

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Widdicomb Furniture

This Grand Rapids furniture builder started crafting fine wood furnishings in 1898 and grew into a hallmark mid-century brand under designer John Widdicomb. In the 1930s and ’40s, Widdicomb shifted towards more minimalist modernism with clean contours and organic natural shapes.

Their most famous designs include the three-legged S-Curl desk from the early 1950s, featuring softly rounded corners and a kidney-shaped birch veneer top. Widdicomb’s Bl Blendbed with its smooth amoeba-like silhouette also captures the company’s Space Age motif. Vintage Widdicomb pieces seamlessly blend fluid woodgrain, tapered legs and smooth contours in retro yet nature-inspired forms.

5. Dunbar Furniture

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands -  Dunbar Furniture

This vintage furniture brand was founded in Berne, Indiana in the early 1920s by the Dunbar family, specializing in well-built bedroom sets and case goods. After WWII, under the leadership of president Ben Altschuler, Dunbar became an acclaimed mid-century modern furniture craftsman.

Dunbar’s creations from the 1950s-60s feature sleek lines and geometric angles while still exhibiting elegant woodworkmanship. Their modular sofas, lounge chairs and finely crafted cabinetry balanced retro design with traditional construction. Popular Dunbar pieces include the angular Renoir line of sofas/chairs and the Brasilia collection with its warm walnut finish.

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6. Drexel

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Drexel

Originally founded as a North Carolina furniture maker in 1903, Drexel began releasing their iconic mid-century collections in the late 1950s under famed designer Walter Von Nessen. Known for quality and durability, Drexel created high-end furnishings with an emphasis on stylish functionality for everyday life.

Their popular Profile series from 1962 exhibited space-saving, modular open shelving units and stackable storage pieces with a sleek, minimalist style. Other top designs include the dramatic Dragonfly collection of contoured sofas/chairs modeled after insect wings. Drexel brought affordable yet inventive vintage furnishings with forward-looking design into mid-century homes.

7. Paul McCobb

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Paul McCobb

This prolific American modernist designer pioneered mid-century chic for more accessible prices. McCobb designed commercially for brands like Directional, Winchendon Furniture and Conant Ball, bringing clean-lined, minimalist pieces into the mass market.

His iconic creations include the Planner Group office line, dexed dining sets for Kimball, and open-frame bookshelves and credenzas for Directional. McCobb’s efficient modular storage units like the ladder-style Planner Group bookcases also epitomized modernism for the masses. With his more subdued style, McCobb introduced Scandinavian-inspired mid-century style to everyday American households.

8. Paul Evans

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands -  Paul Evans

Based in New York, sculptor and metalsmith Paul Evans fused mid-century style with artistic craftsmanship. His handmade, limited-edition furnishings feature a bold combination of metal, wood and slate for an industrial modern aesthetic.

Evans’ sculptural Cityscape series from the 1960s incorporates contoured metal bars, wires and colorful enameled steel panels in table and cabinet designs resembling futuristic skyscrapers. His prismatic Cloverleaf dining tables exhibit a more naturalistic slate mosaic style. With an avant-garde edge, Evans brought an interpretive artist’s perspective to hand-crafted mid-century furniture.

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9. Milo Baughman

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Milo Baughman

An influential Mid-Century designer, Milo Baughman translated contemporary sensibilities into elegant, livable furniture for companies like Thayer Coggin. Known for his sleek, unadorned designs, Baughman produced iconic chairs, sofas, chaises and tables that epitomized “California modern” style.

Baughman’s creations emphasize comfort through ergonomic shapes combined with smooth lines. His Thayer Coggin lounge collections like the 1966 recliner exemplify his less-is-more aesthetic. Baughman also pioneered customizable modular upholstery so buyers could select their own fabrics. His furnishings brought clean sophistication into both commercial and residential interiors.

10. Warren Platner

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Warren Platner

Architect and sculptor Warren Platner created some of the 1960s’ most recognizable wire furniture designs. Working in curved steel wire with sculpting methods, Platner’s airy, openwork pieces exhibit a delicate transparency.

Platner’s iconic furnishing is undoubtedly the Platner Armchair introduced by Knoll in 1966. Its flowing folded wire frame and disc-shaped seat exemplify Platner’s signature freeform, sculptural style. Other designs like his wire Side Chair and more complex Venetian Table also capture Platner’s artistic mid-century sensibility.

11. Adrian Pearsall

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Adrian Pearsall

Known as one of the forefathers of American mid-century craftsmanship, Adrian Pearsall focused on woodwork and quality construction. His signature lounge chairs feature fluid, organic curves that almost resemble driftwood.

Crafted from premium woods, Pearsall’s seats seem to mold around the body for ergonomic comfort. His iconic Long Chair takes on an asymmetrical, amoeba-like shape accented by handwoven upholstery. With their naturalistic look, Pearsall’s furnishings seamlessly combine mid-century lines with timeless artistry.

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12. Lane

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Lane

The Lane Company built its reputation through sturdy, affordable mid-century furniture for the masses. Founded in 1912 in Virginia, Lane introduced its popular Moderne designs in the late 1930s-40s reflecting clean lines and minimal ornamentation.

Lane’s Acclaim dining furniture with tapered legs epitomized accessible mid-century style for everyday families. Similarly, their Cooper tables and Moxie sofas (often covered in easy-clean naugahyde) showcased budget-friendly MCM for suburban homes. Lane’s commercial approach helped popularize the minimalist mid-century aesthetic across America.

13. Pierre Paulin

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Pierre Paulin

French designer Pierre Paulin envisioned bold, futuristic forms for his sculptural mid-century seating. Through furniture companies like Artifort, Paulin produced innovative chairs and sofas characterized by elliptical, cocoon, and cylinder shapes.

The Mushroom sofa, Ribbon chair, Tongue armchair and Half Moon seat all reflect Paulin’s Space Age style, which stretched boundaries in the 1960s-70s. Made from foam with fabric covers, his organically shaped furniture seemed to defy gravity. Paulin’s designs still feel retro yet somehow ultramodern.

14. Artek

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Artek

Founded in Finland in 1935, Artek represents the Scandinavian mid-century aesthetic led by architect Alvar Aalto and entrepreneur Maire Gullichsen. Artek blended modernist sensibilities, natural materials, and clean contours into avant-garde yet livable furniture.

Aalto’s curved birch creations, like the Lounge Chair and Stool introduced warmer, organic accents to sleek MCM design. Artek also produced minimalist furnishings like the Parsons table that fit seamlessly into open-plan modern interiors. This brand defined the textures, colors and serenity of nature-inspired mid-century style.

15. Florence Knoll

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll played a pivotal role as lead designer at Knoll Associates starting in the 1940s. While married to Hans Knoll, Florence steered the brand’s refined aesthetic and created several iconic collections.

Her 1954 Sofa and 1956 Polyprop Armchairs exemplify Knoll’s mathematically-based designs with their slim lines and geometric angles. Knoll also designed essential commercial furnishings, including the ubiquitous Pedestal table line seen in offices worldwide. With its perfect proportions and fluid lines, Florence Knoll’s work sculpted the visual vocabulary of mid-century interiors.

16. George Nelson

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - George Nelson

As Knoll’s director of design in the 1940s-50s, George Nelson translated his architecture and engineering background into highly functional furniture. Nelson’s “marshmallow sofa” from 1956 remains one of his most reproduced mid-century sofas, designed for comfort and utility.

Nelson also created modular wall-mounted units like the Coconut chair that could be creatively arranged. With their pragmatic style, Nelson’s creations aligned with the rise of open-floor architecture and minimalist living. His stentorian storage designs still feel ideal for tighter spaces.

17. Hans Wegner

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands -  Hans Wegner

Representing mid-century Danish craftsmanship, Hans Wegner created sculptural, handcrafted teak furnishings. Partnering with Carl Hansen & Son, Wegner produced iconic chairs like The Round One, Wishbone Chair and Shell Chair.

Wegner’s bentwood seats formed sweeping, organic curves that perfectly embraced and supported the body. His natural, relic-like wood shapes exuded understated sophistication. Wegner seamlessly blended comfort, tailored carpentry, and elegant restraint within his iconic mid-century designs.

18. Charles & Ray Eames

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Charles & Ray Eames

Any mid-century list would feel incomplete without Charles and Ray Eames. After opening their studio in 1943, the duo produced iconic furnishings like the Lounge Chair Wood and Eames Molded Plywood Chair.

With clean simplicity and practicality as guiding principles, the Eameses portfolio seems expansive – from their Hang-It-All coat rack to the LCW Lounge Chair. Charles and Ray distilled mid-century design to its most essential, functional elements. Their creations for Herman Miller still feel strikingly current.

19. Isamu Noguchi

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands -  Isamu Noguchi

Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi applied a fine arts perspective to mid-century furnishings. Known for sculpture, Noguchi created furniture with biomorphic shapes and an eye for balance.

His 1947 Lounge Chair interprets the traditional club chair as a sleek wooden frame with a sheet of bent plywood forming the seat and backrest. Noguchi also produced the iconic glass-topped Noguchi Coffee Table in 1944. Its smooth wood base and freeform glass tabletop exemplify refined simplicity meeting abstract sculpture.

20. Jens Risom

Best Mid-Century Modern Furniture Brands - Jens Risom

After emigrating from Denmark, Jens Risom brought mid-century Danish style to America through his Risom Design firm. He created collections with graceful, tapered legs and smooth contours.

Risom’s designs feel elemental, combining shaped wooden frames with woven textile panels and colored cushions. The Risom Lounge Chair of 1943 stands as one of his most reproduced mid-century seats. Unembellished and practicable, Risom’s furniture brought an honest Scandinavian sensibility stateside.

20 mid-century modern furniture brands at a glance:

BrandCountry of OriginYears ActiveNotable DesignersIconic DesignsWhere to Buy
Herman MillerUSA1923-presentCharles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, Isamu NoguchiEames Lounge Chair, Nelson Marshmallow Sofa, Noguchi Coffee TableHerman Miller
KnollUSA1938-presentMies van der Rohe, Harry Bertoia, Florence KnollBarcelona Chair, Womb Chair, Saarinen Coffee TableKnoll
Heywood-WakefieldUSA1897-presentRussel WrightM1558 Bedroom Set, Wagon Wheel Chair1st Dibs, Chairish
WiddicombUSA1898-presentJohn WiddicombS-Curl Desk, Bl Blendbed1st Dibs, Etsy
DunbarUSA1920s-presentBen AltschulerRenoir Sofas, Brasilia CollectionChairish, Etsy
DrexelUSA1903-presentWalter Von NessenProfile Series, Dragonfly CollectionMid Century Mobler, Viyet
Paul McCobbUSA1930s-1969N/APlanner Group, Directional BookcasesChairish, 1st Dibs
Paul EvansUSA1931-1987N/ACityscape Collection, Cloverleaf Dining Table1st Dibs, Chairish
Milo BaughmanUSA1923-2003N/AThayer Coggin Lounge CollectionDesign Within Reach
Warren PlatnerUSA1919-2006N/APlatner ArmchairKnoll, Design Within Reach
Adrian PearsallUSA1927-2011N/ALong Chair1st Dibs, InCollect
LaneUSA1912-presentN/AAcclaim Dining Set, Moxie SofaEtsy, Chairish
Pierre PaulinFrance1927-2009N/AMushroom Sofa, Ribbon ChairDesign Connection, 1st Dibs
ArtekFinland1935-presentAlvar AaltoAalto Lounge Chair, Parsons TableArtek
Florence KnollUSA1917-2019N/AKnoll Sofa, Polyprop ArmchairKnoll, Design Within Reach
George NelsonUSA1908-1986N/AMarshmallow Sofa, Coconut ChairHerman Miller
Hans WegnerDenmark1914-2007N/AWishbone Chair, Shell ChairDesign Within Reach
Charles & Ray EamesUSA1907-1978, 1912-1988N/AEames Lounge Chair, Molded Plywood ChairHerman Miller
Isamu NoguchiUSA1904-1988N/ANoguchi Lounge Chair, Coffee TableDesign Within Reach
Jens RisomUSA1916-2016N/ARisom Lounge ChairDesign Within Reach

In Summary

The mid-century modern movement gave rise to incredibly varied yet equally iconic furniture brands. From mass-produced postwar designs for suburban homes to handcrafted studio pieces, mid-century furniture set the stage for seamless functionality and Scandinavian-inspired minimalism.

These top 20 brands represent the major forces that shaped and evolved the mid-century aesthetic into what we love today. Studying their histories and famous designs provides inspiration and appreciation for quality MCM furniture – whether you’re collecting vintage gems or seeking modern reproductions.

Understanding the origins and traits of these pioneering brands allows us to better curate that coveted mid-century style in authentic ways. So next time you search for a showpiece lounge chair or clean-lined bench, turn to these mid-century masters first.