Mid-Century Modern: Accessories (48 of Our Favorites & Everything You Need To Know)

Photo: Manolo Yllera
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Design: Emmanuel de Bayser

It’s the final day of our Mid-Century week (wah wah wah), and after tackling the history, furniture and lighting, it’s time for the finishing touches. 

That means all types of accessories for your walls, shelves, sofas and more. BUT, we’ve got so much more happening in the coming weeks, where we will be breaking down even more styles so stay tuned. Until now then – back to Mid-Century.

Accessories are a huge part of Mid-Century design and cover a large swath of materials, sizes, and purposes. After all, it’s all in the details right?! But what do Mid-Century accessories actually entail?

Pillows and art feature graphic patterns and designs that echo the shapes seen in furniture and lighting, while more useful items like trays, decanters and wall hooks demonstrate how Mid-Century brings together form and function. Ceramic vases and planters, with modern shapes and glazes, are some of the most well known pieces in this style.

With so many different items and materials, it’s especially easy to incorporate accessories from this style into your space.

Here is our breakdown of all you need to know about accessories that work in the style and our picks for adding major Mid-Century vibes to your space. If you missed our posts earlier this week, be sure to check out What is Mid-Century Modern?Mid-Century Modern: Furniture and Mid-Century Modern: Lighting for the full rundown of the style and be sure to check back often as we’ll be bringing you guides to more design styles soon.

CERAMICS

WHAT YOU’ll SEE

  • “Handmade” and organic shapes
  • Speckled and earthy glazes
  • Volcanic Glazes
  • Multiple glazes on one piece
  • Ribbed designs
  • Low, squatty shapes
  • Tall, long necks
  • Geometric patterns and designs
  • “Kitchy” and playful designs
  • Planters with wood and metal bases

WHAT YOU WON’T SEE

  • Fine porcelain
  • Delicate or elaborate designs
  • Terra cotta
  • Square shapes

Ceramics are a HUGE part of Mid-Century design. Different than the refined and honed lines of furniture and lighting, the ceramics used in Mid-Century feel handmade, organic and almost brutalist at times. It’s a mix of the hard and the soft, and any true space that is Mid-Century in style will have at least one collection of pottery or ceramics (two if you are looking for extra credit). Here are some of our favorites.

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Design: Lee Mindel

WALL DECOR AND MIRRORS

WHAT YOU’ll SEE

  • Brass and wood framed mirrors
  • Organic shaped mirrors
  • Geometric art
  • Abstract art
  • Metal and wood wall hooks
  • Metal and wood mobiles
  • Decorative wall clocks
  • Abstract metal wall sculptures

WHAT YOU WON’T SEE

  • Realistic or Classical art
  • Landscape art (that feels too realistic)
  • Mirrors with overly detailed or carved frames
  • Tapestries

 

PILLOWS

WHAT YOU’ll SEE

  • Geometric patterns
  • Floral designs
  • Colorblocking
  • Tweed fabrics
  • Heathered weave fabrics (Interwoven yarns of different colors)
  • Embroidery
  • Tufting

WHAT YOU WON’T SEE

  • Fringe
  • Embellishments
  • Beading
  • Plaids or Ticking Stripes

Mid-Century textiles and patterns pull often from the shapes that you find elsewhere in the style. Oblong circles, hard lines, and graphic patterns. While you will find some bold colors used in the textiles in this style – we like to keep it neutral and tonal so that you can mix and match.

 

ACCESSORIES

WHAT YOU’ll SEE

  • Wood trays, bookends and objects
  • Brass bowls and candle holders
  • Metal and wood sculptures
  • Glass decanters with stoppers
  • Metal and wood magazine racks
  • Travertine
  • Cork
  • Bronze
  • Animal figurines and sculptures
  • Brutalist forms

WHAT YOU WON’T SEE

  • Plastic
  • Overly detailed or elaborate designs
  • Aged or antiqued metal

Rounding out our post we have the accessories, (which in our opinion are the most fun to add in). In Mid-Century it is all about accessorizing with a “light” or shall we say refined hand. Rather than a huge collection of accessories instead you’ll find one or two well-placed items that are statement pieces. Again, we rounded up some of our favorites that are all tonal (wood, glass, brass, black) which allow you to truly mix and match. Let us know if you have any questions below and happy Mid-Century-ing.