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3 Oct

Infusing Mid-Century Modern Style Into an Outdoor Space

mid century cover

The classic look of mid-century modern pieces is having a resurgence in the design world.

By: Lucy Crawford

Homeowners are choosing the clean lines and toned down design of many pieces from the mid-20th century. Whether your client’s home was built in the 50s and you want to carry that look through, or if they just enjoy the overall look of this era, consider infusing these mid-century modern styled pieces into their outdoor space:


The addition of an outdoor seating piece is a simple way to begin incorporating a mid-century modern style into your backyard project. Sleek outdoor chairs feature wood or metal construction as well as clean lines that are comfortable while also keeping a low profile. Seating options can include individual chairs or sofas that are rated for outdoor use. Many designers choose to use the mid-century modern style of low seating in order to compliment the outdoor area without becoming the focal point.

Function Over Fuss

Many homeowners prefer the toned down look of mid-century modern pieces because the style provides a clean slate. Fences are built with function in mind first and have little maintenance or added extras to attract the eye. Side tables feature simple metal constructions that have just the bare necessities needed in order to get the job done. Tabletops utilize wood slabs that are nicely finished but offer little fuss in terms of extra decorations.

Geometric Design

One of the most popular parts of a mid-century design is the use of geometric shapes. Even many landscaping companies use plant varieties to create levels and trim plants accordingly to create sleek landscaping design.  Work with your landscape architect to incorporate these interesting shapes into your backyard project by building a unique retaining wall, adding straight edged plants in different levels, or adding square stepping stones across the yard. Other ways to incorporate shapes into the project include the use of straight lines wherever possible including privacy barriers, awnings, decor, flooring and by hanging rounded globes for lighting. A creative way to incorporate geometric design is by adding plants in vases with simple and sleek designs.

Pops of Color

A beautiful feature of the mid-century design era is the use of color. Consider adding small areas of color to the outdoor living space that is well thought out. Things like pillows, sun sails, and rugs can all be used in a bright color in order to liven up the space. Mix just one or two bright colors with the natural tones of wood and other building materials in order to pull off the perfect mid-century modern look.  Plants are also a great way to add color to the outdoor space.

Less Is More

Designers in the mid-century understood the idea that less is more when it comes to decorating. By incorporating features of your clients’ outdoor space that function well you can eliminate the need for frivolous decorations and furniture. Ask your clients to note items that rarely get used in their backyard and consider putting them into a storage space to achieve this utilitarian look. Incorporate a simple design to create space for air flow and movement in order to fully capture the ambience of the mid-century.

It can be easy to make your clients’ backyard more enjoyable and increase your home’s resale value by  incorporating mid-century, modern design into their outdoor space. Start with looking at simple items that have a low profile as well as a lot of function. Add some pops of color and a few distinct shapes to pull together the overall look. Incorporating these items will help you infuse the qualities of the mid-century into a modern outdoor space. 

Find your mid-century inspiration at The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market, January 8-15, 2019. 


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Lucy Crawford is a home design and DIY writer, and lover of herbal tea.  With her busy hands she is always challenging herself with a new DIY project. She enjoys designing spaces where she can relax and enjoy a good book.


Contributing Writer
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