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Find Your Style: Mid-Century Modern

Welcome to another ‘Find Your Style’, where we take your results to our less-than-perfect quiz and help you figure out what being your style really means (if you haven’t, take that quiz!). This time we are talking to you ‘Mid-Century Modern’ folk (our first week was “Scandinavian“).

When ‘Mid-Century’ came back into fashion, say 15 years ago, many people thought it would be a fleeting trend. Like bolo ties, scrunchies or hypercolor tee-shirts. My neighbor in the East Village at the time certainly did because she put a Saarinen table and two tulip chairs on the curb, riddled with trash. They were all broken but it didn’t stop this hoarder from dragging those heavy ass originals up my 5 story walk-up (the base turned into my dining table with our “custom” top seen here). I requested quotes for having them repaired but my waitress budget wouldn’t cover it.

So I lived, unable to give up these broken classics their proper repair. Four years later I bought my first major investment, a Mid-Century sofa for $700 shipped down from Portland (which I regret selling).



It was deep and wonderful, with original fabric that was invincible.



Five years later, I decided I should sell her and begin a new sofa relationship with this handsome strapping dude.


I still miss the blue sofa (good news! I’ve ordered a new blue sofa!!!)

While all of those photos are full of vintage, one of a kinds, our friends at Target sponsored this ‘Find Your Style’ series and we are showcasing their Mid-Century inspired vintage pieces below (and in the video):


This video series with Target, is more about teaching what ‘Mid-Century’ means and how to find the pieces that will work for your style. Buy vintage if you can, but if not, we have options for you.


For those of you who are into it, think about this:

1. Choose really simple boxy furniture, with wood detailing, in a teak-toned finish. The more streamlined the better.


2. Fabrics that are tightly woven without a lot of fuss or glam. This isn’t the time for sequins, nay the fabrics are simple and the patterns are graphic, with a geometric motif.

Emily Henderson_Target_Find Your Style_Vignette_Mid Century Modern_Danish_Vintage_Teak_Sleek_Hip_10_Edited

3. Look for pottery and accessories that have geometric texture, but with some handmade detailing. I LOVE that lamp and have used it many a time. Vintage Mid-Century pottery lamps exist, but are harder to find in colors that are easy to mix in with today’s decor. Finding a pair is extremely hard to find (thus why these Target lamps are so great).

4. Chrome and gold are both big in midcentury – and you can mix them if you do it intentionally, all over the room (and not just randomly one piece of chrome amongst a lot of brass/gold). You know that I love that mirror and have used it in the last 10 projects that we’ve done. It’s VERY good (it’s in our master bathroom right now).

Watch the video to see this room in action (produced by my handsome husband, Propeller Media)Mid Century Modern Target Vignette Video


Now, if you can find the real deal, vintage pieces that are 50 – 70 years old and in working condition then BUY THOSE. Part of the charm of buying Mid-Century is having it be old and unique.

But if you don’t have that luxury of a flea market, and you want the look without the “looking time”, then there are options out there for you that do a great job of giving you what you want, without the price point or the time spent shopping.

Emily Henderson_Find Your Style_Style Quiz_Vignettes_Modern_Pattern_Roundup_Midcentury

1. Navy Linen Pillow | 2. Color Block Pillow | 3. Waffle Throw | 4. Accent Chair | 5. Gold Drum Side Table | 6. Floor Lamp | 7. Double Task Lamp | 8. Marble and Wood Coffee Table | 9. Graphic Rug | 10. Bar Cart | 11. Blue Vase | 12. Geometric Vase | 13. Planter with Stand | 14. Navy Curtains | 15. Wood Cheese Board | 16. Wood and Ceramic Tumblers | 17. Salad Forks | 18. Marble Tripod Table | 19. Leather Sofa | 20. Brass Circle Mirror | 21. Ceramic Lamp | 22. Cabinet | 23. Large Candlestick | 24. Small Candlestick | 25. Glass Tumbler | 26. Brass Flatware | 27. Ceramic Plates | 28. Blue Mug | 29. Abstract Sculpture | 30. Black and White Pillow | 31. Brass Wall Sconce

***Photos by Tessa Neustadt, Video by Propeller Digital Media

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7 years ago

The big appeal of mid-century for me is how well it works as a base for showcasing other styles. If I’m mixing styles it is so easy for one of them to be mid-century because it adds a dose of class and simplicity. Your Scandinavian post for example had mid-century elements. I used to proclaim it as “my style!” But now I’m more moderate in my use of it as I’ve opened myself to lots of styles.

7 years ago

Your old blue couch was one of my favorite pieces ever!

7 years ago

I’ve been looking for a vase for our mantle in our new house, and that blue vase may be exactly what I’m looking for!

7 years ago

Don’t be so hard on yourself, I took the quiz and found it pretty accurate. Really you could take it multiple times and get a different result based on your mood or the season, which makes sense bc rarely is someone’s style so narrow that it’s always one thing.

Basically Haters are gonna Hate.

Your quiz (and book) helped me recognize aspects of my style that I didn’t before. It also helped me purge all the rejects that never really felt quite right in my home and gave me the tools to recognize why and save money on not buying them again in a different form.

Susie Q.
7 years ago

This style is very near and dear to my heart. I got “Zen” both times I took the quiz (both in the book and online) and while I feel flattered by that, I’m not much of a minimalist. Most of my big furniture is m3. I clicked on more items in your “get the look” list than I probably ever have! #7 and #31 are lookin’ pretty good…

Been in the market for a new cabinet, and it looks like I may have found the one! Thanks for sharing #22 Emily, as always – gorgeous round up.

7 years ago

You’re my favorite designer. I love your brand, your style, your book–you’re awesome! PLEASE slow the flow on Target content! I am a fan of Target and shop there several times a week, but I don’t read your blog to browse Target.

7 years ago
Reply to  Anna

I realize that Target pays your bills and don’t have an issue with the content. It shows me inexpensive ways I can get the MCM look. Vintage is awesome but if you don’t live in a large metropolitan area it can be elusive, so the accessible looks from Target often hit the spot.

7 years ago

I also miss that beautiful blue sofa!!

I live in a MCM style house, so I’m definitely drawn to this style. I’ve got a mix of vintage and new furniture, but am trying to keep it from feeling to “period.” Hoping you’ll do a post about the keys to mixing styles.

Also, I took the quiz (online & in the book) and got Zen both times. I definitely can see this fitting into my style since I love everything about the picture that goes with the Zen description in the book.

P.S. I love the book, and my mom also fell in love with it while she was visiting in the fall. I ended up getting her a copy for Christmas! Thanks for making my Christmas shopping a little easier!

Julie Ginn
7 years ago

I love this blog, Emily.

7 years ago

YAYYYYY happy the quiz came back, even after scary failure responses.
I was surprised I got Zen but with the description I was like “yeeah” I lean toward beautiful natural materials. I LOVE wood and cannot often say this is public hah I didn’t know you could do a wheel with style. Very cool. I’m curious, do you actually design with the wheel, like “Time to whip out the wheel and see what we need to add”?

Carolina Pinheiro
7 years ago

Love your blog, I read every Friday morning with my cup of coffee before starting to work. Can’t wait for Zen style!

7 years ago

I also took the test several times on the book, and this once on the website. This time, I got “minimalist”, which is pretty accurate, except that I both love antiques and displaying very few of them. So, it made me smiling when I saw the footnote saying I might be interested in the contrasting “traditional” style. Spot on !

7 years ago

You know, at first glance that mid-century modern wall of faces creeped me out. Upon looking at it a little longer I found them fascinating and want to do that for a big wall going down to all of the bedrooms in my home.

7 years ago

Emily, I love that round brass mirror! The price and the style are right and you have given it your stamp of approval by putting it in your own home!
BUT, when I look at the reviews on Target’s website, many people talk about the mirror quality not being great and causing distortions…thoughts?

7 years ago

Showbox is now available with lots of new and attractive features like HD movies browsing and downloading .You can download lots of movies in just one click .