Why is Mid-Century Modern Furniture So Popular?

Why Mid-Century Modern Furniture Is So Popular

The popularity of mid-century modern furniture is growing and here are the 7 reasons why

Why is Mid-Century Modern Furniture So Popular? - 1960'S MID CENTURY ARMCHAIRS

From the frugality and despair of World War II, a new exuberant concept arose in the 1950s and 60s utilising new materials and techniques bringing a new architectural and furniture style to the masses what we know today as mid-century modern.

Although originally designed as post-war furniture, Mid Century Modern was devised to assimilate a new design that evolved and developed, embracing function and form for a new era and generation.  

But why is Mid Century Modern furniture so popular today? 

Mid Century Modern furniture is still so popular today for several reasons, which include its low carbon footprint and sustainability credentials, the furniture’s design and high level of craftsmanship, the nostalgia it invokes and because of its rarity.

There are also a number of other reasons such as psychological factors that make mid-century modern furniture so well-liked by consumers which we will discuss in more detail in this article.


  1. Sustainability 
  2. Craftsmanship
  3. Design 
  4. Nostalgia/ familiarity
  5. As seen on TV
  6. Rarity
  7. Potential for Investment

1. Sustainability

One of the biggest advantages of using original Mid Century Modern furniture is its sustainability rating.   By utilising second-hand furniture, re-homing, re-using, and if desired, upcycling these incredible pieces of furniture, they can be saved from landfills and given a new lease of life. 

Re-purposing items of furniture that have already been made can be seen to be kinder to the environment, reducing the carbon footprint as fewer “new” materials are being processed and manufactured.   

You can be also safe in the knowledge that any of the original volatile organic compounds that may have been emitted are long gone, reducing any airborne pollutants into your immediate environment.  This can be of real benefit to our more vulnerable family members. 

With consumers making more conscious decisions to purchase more sustainable and eco-friendly furniture, it is easy to see why original Mid Century Modern items of furniture are popular.  

2. Craftsmanship

With examples of furniture available on the second-hand market being over 50 years old, it is easy to see the craftsmanship that went into making these remarkable items. 

Utilising the “new” techniques of the time, the quality of these items of furniture rivals the quality of our newer mass-produced products hands down. It is hard to imagine some of the items from our current furniture stores still being in use and going strong 50 years from now. 

3. Design 

The design of Mid-Century Modern furniture is one of the great factors in its popularity. 

Made from a variety of natural and fabricated materials, it is not uncommon to find designs made from teak, rosewood, and oak or sleeker materials of glass and metal.  The addition of accents of colour with vinyl and leather fabrics all help to make these items of furniture stand out from the crowd. 

Designed for a post-war modern era, the furniture has clean lines and a non-fussy finish.  Generally smaller and easier to transport than designs of previous decades.  It was lighter and designed to be folded, nestled, or stacked.

The materials were moulded and manufactured into multifunctional furniture with clean lines and tapered legs.  Curved and geometric shapes were accented with pops of colours providing stylish furniture, which are still capable of blending with and enhancing, most modern contemporary home decor styles.

With new homes now being built smaller than in previous decades, the furniture style lends itself to our new home environments. 

Not only can it provide useful storage, but its multifunctional forms can also be mixed and matched into most rooms in the house. Indeed, dressing tables can also be utilised as vanity units for the bathroom or for sideboards in the living area, whilst bookcases can be utilised for storage in the bedroom, trendy coffee stations in the kitchen or as room dividers in the living area.

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4. Nostalgia/ familiarity

Part of the popularity of Mid-Century Modern furniture is the nostalgia that it invokes.

Most people can relate to the feeling of familiarity from visiting grandparents and relatives, or from their own childhood home. Mid Century Furniture reminds us of simpler easier times.  This easy nostalgic feeling is one of the reasons why Mid-Century Homes are so popular. 

From a psychological stance, we can bring those past feel-good feelings into the current time whilst getting some reassurance from them. As well as thinking of the future, assuming the items will have continuous use. It is a rare psychological occurrence that allows us to think of the past, present, and future in one thought process.

In our daily stressful lives, it is essential our houses are restful, and incorporating furniture that makes us feel good and reminiscent of happy times, helps to make our living environments feel more like home.  

5. As seen on TV

Another chain of thought as to why Mid Century Modern is so popular is partly due to the subliminal familiarity and the Mere-Exposure effect.

This psychological phenomenon can be described as “a phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them”. 

Similarly, to wanting furniture from our past and re-living those nostalgic feelings from the furniture you have grown up with.  We are also influenced by what we see in our current day to day lives.

Mid Century Modern furniture not only has cameo appearances in more modest daytime commercials but also more starring roles in a large proportion of television programmes and million-dollar blockbuster films.

With its familiarity and high visual presence, it is easy to understand how this can play a role in the increase in popularity of Mid-Century Modern furniture.  

6. Rarity

Despite its appearance on television and in magazines, there is still an element of rarity to Mid Century Modern furniture which appeals to great swathes of people and helps to increase its popularity.

Due to its age, there isn’t an infinite supply of furniture and whilst some styles can be reproduced it doesn’t have the same allure as an original piece of mid-century modern furniture due to its age and character.

With its rarity, sourcing and finding that suitable item of furniture that fits your intended space can give a real feel-good buzz adding character and style and an individual look to your home. 

7. Potential for Investment

With some of the original furniture manufacturers diversifying or no longer producing some of the most sought-after designs, the remaining existing elements are becoming collectors’ pieces.  

With these original pieces of furniture complimenting modern art, it goes hand in hand for investors to want to diversify from modern art and include furniture in their collections. 

Collectors value the original non-restored furniture with the character and patina of age. One-off items or items with provenance can reach truly high prices especially from sought after designers.  

In the last decade, Sotheby’s has experienced an explosive resurgence of MCM furniture with its increasing element of rarity, and original items of Mid-Century Modern furniture. This means they are beginning to be seen by collectors as an investment resulting in an increase in pricing, making them more popular and sought after.

Key Takeaways

It is easy to see why Mid-Century Modern furniture is so popular- the timeless straightforward designs were born from an era where furniture was built to last. The war was over, and it heralded a new exuberant boom time that reflects in the colours of the materials used and the angular and geometric lines of the times. 

There was a playfulness and feel-good feeling to the furniture that is still in evidence today and provides a nostalgic fuzzy home-like feeling for those who purchase it.

With its versatility and design, most Mid-Century Modern furniture can be incorporated into most modern home décor whether it is just a single investment piece or a matching suite, saving this iconic furniture from landfills not only is good for the environment but also good for the soul.

The popularity of Mid Century Modern is not waning and with collectors incorporating some of the most iconic pieces into their collections for investments, it is clear, that this trend will not be disappearing any time soon.