Which mid-century modern wall art is best?
Mid-century modern seems all the rage today. This American design movement is known for its beautiful, simple furniture designs. And many love it for the way it mixes contemporary aesthetics with natural woods and subtle colors. Now that major furniture retailers have revamped their stock to cater to this enduring trend in the last ten years, just about everyone will have some touch of mid-century modern in their home. Yet, for such an understated interior design theme, it can be difficult finding wall decor that matches its contemplative and peaceful mood.
From paintings and photography to sculptural wall art, there are many clever ways to tie a mid-century-modern room together. The top pick is the SIGNLEADER Framed Canvas Print Abstract Wall Art, Shapes and Lines in Black, but depending on your tastes, you’ll want to consider all of the options.
What to know before you buy mid-century modern wall art
What is mid-century modern?
Mid-century modern is a design movement coined by the cultural critic Cara Greenberg in her 1984 book “Mid-century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.” She used the term to describe 1950s furniture, but now encompasses all furniture produced between 1933 and 1965. Contemporary furniture is often inspired by this period.
Mid-century modern design is known for mixing natural woods, particularly teak, rosewood and oak, with glass, metal, tufted upholstery and rich leathers. You probably know mid-century modern already just by popular designs from names like Eames, Herman Miller and Knoll.
Pairing wall-art with mid-century modern decor
Mid-century modern is a somewhat difficult design scheme to style on the surface. That’s because historically, there’s no equivalent mid-century modern movement in art. But if you know what artistic aesthetics are compatible with it, you’ll have no trouble decorating your home. This is made easier by the number of designers now making mid-century modern wall decor.
You’ll want to err on the side of minimalism, primarily decorating with prints and motifs. If you go the sculpture route, objects that emphasize lines and movement or smooth, organic shapes are perfect. Abstract expressionism from, or inspired by, the mid-century art movement also pairs nicely with mid-century modernism.
What to look for in quality mid-century modern wall art
Types of mid-century wall art
Most paintings you’ll be able to find will be prints on paper or wrapped over canvas. Look for high-resolution prints that capture the texture of the paint in abstract works or preserve the richness of flat color in graphic, patterned art.
As for photographs, these can be tricky as the depicted subjects can clash with the muted mood of mid-century modern. Opt for photographs with that film-like pastel quality or black and white photography. Lifestyle photographs of modernism from the middle of the 20th century or photographs of modernist architecture also work well.
Mid-century modern is typically subdued in its palette with natural colors and desaturated accents. You’ll want palettes that revolve around darker blues; burnt oranges; ochres; forest and jade greens; pastel reds and coffee and camel browns. More vibrant, primary colors are reserved for statement pieces.
Choose colors that play off these base palettes when styling mid-century wall art. You can use art as that statement piece, opting for saturated, bright secondary colors such as purple, orange or even red. Gold accents and brass accents on sculptures made from black or white marble or ceramic give that subtle touch of luxury.
You’ll also want to think about how you hang the work. Natural wood frames are a bonus as they seamlessly mesh with that teak media console or the molded plywood of your lounge chair. You can’t go wrong with black, either. But black can be a bit overbearing, so you might want to add black metal elements to your home. Match a black frame to the black metal legs of a coffee table, for instance, so the frame doesn’t overpower the natural woods.
How much you can expect to spend on mid-century modern wall art
Paintings and prints will cost about $50-$150. Photographs can be a little more affordable and are available in sets for as low as $20 and as high as $80. Sculpture depends on the material but can exceed $80 easily.
Mid-century modern wall art FAQ
Do I have to stick to patterns and abstract paintings for mid-century modern wall art?
A. Definitely not. If you want more representational art in your mid-century modern home, think about color. Impressionism, for example, lends itself quite nicely to mid-century modern decor. You can also think about light. A Renaissance painting might be a little too dramatic, but paintings that don’t include a lot of black or overpowering dark colors can sit well with the quiet vibe of mid-century modernism.
How do I hang my wall art?
A. It all depends on whether you’re hanging framed work or sculpture. In all cases, you’ll want a hammer and nails. When hanging heavy art in either scenario, make sure you use a stud finder to locate a stud in your wall or beam in your ceiling. If your desired hanging location doesn’t have a stud, use anchors so the art doesn’t fall.
What’s the best mid-century modern wall art to buy?
Top mid-century modern wall art
What you need to know: This set of modern-inspired graphic prints is a staple for the mid-century modern home.
What you’ll love: You get three beautiful, minimalist prints available in two sizes: 16 by 24 inches and 24 by 36 inches. They come in a beautiful natural wood-colored frame. The prints are rendered in black on an off-white background and a touch of grey helps soften the loudness of black. The frames are deep and the canvas-stretched prints recede in for that substantial look. These can be hung together in a row or around a room to cohere your design theme and come with mounting hardware.
What you should consider: The frames are actually plastic, not real wood.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top mid-century modern wall art for the money
What you need to know: An excellent option for interior decorators on a budget, this set of minimalist prints will look great in your first home, apartment or dorm room.
What you’ll love: You get six prints with a cohesive palette of pinks, oranges and earthy warm browns. The floral and line-drawing motifs work excellently with mid-century modern detailing. Each poster is 9.72 by 13.82 inches. The posters are coated to be waterproof and tear-resistant.
What you should consider: These aren’t framed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These three gorgeous marble prints bring a material texture into your mid-century modern home.
What you’ll love: With off-whites and cool blues, the three prints are cast in archival, fade-resistant ink. Their natural-wood color frames fit in beautifully with teaks, oaks and rosewood. You can also opt for black frames for more modern-oriented home decor. Each of the three prints is 16 by 24 inches or 24 by 36 inches.
What you should consider: Some users found that the packaging of these prints runs the risk of damage in shipment.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Karl Daum writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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