A Crash Course in Mid-Century Modern Design, and How You Can Get the Look

Mid century modern guide to furniture, architecture and design
Drawing of a Suburban House from a 1953 issue of House + Home
Photo from the archives of the author.

Mid-Century Modernism is ubiquitous – from Ikea to West Elm, Architectural Digest to Houzz, the sleek, clean style remains atop interior design charts almost ten years after its resurgence began (often accredited to the onset of Mad Men in 2007). This article provides a crash course in the movement's important figures, furniture and interior design styles. Continue Reading

Curbly Gift Guide: 30 Hip Design Gifts Under $25!

created at: 11/09/2011

Got a web designer girlfriend?  A graphic designer brother?  We’ve rounded up our favorite gifts for the aesthetically inclined… and all for under $25!  


created at: 11/07/2011

1. Branch Earphone Splitter

2. Glass Globe Tea Light Holder

3. Prepster Office Set

4. KeepCup Reusable Travel Mugs

5. Maria Dahlgren Birch Tray

6. Notepad Clock

created at: 11/07/2011

7. Mobile Art Book: 20 Ready-to-Cut Mobiles

8. Adam + Eve Salt and Pepper Shakers

9. Chalkboard Jug

10. Stick Lighter

11. Reclaimed Branch Colored Pencils

12. Continue Reading

DIY Idea: Make Your Own Knitted Wire Chairs!

created at: 10/13/2011

Whether your Eames wire chair has seen better days or you just feel like having some fun with your furniture, this DIY idea offers a clever handmade touch!  


Akira Ishikawa is credited with this idea* (though we can’t find a link–if you can dig one up, please share big thank you to CheesePirate for hunting down the link!) over on ReCraft.  What purists may call blasphemous, I call a playful, non-permanent way of mixing things up on the decor front!   Continue Reading

Make It! An Eames-Inspired Trellis

created at: 06/01/2011

Okay my fellow Curblians, today we embark on a month-long how-to extravaganza of the outdoor decor variety! First up is my original design for an Eames-inspired trellis. It’s super easy to make, which means you don’t have to be an experienced carpenter to get fantastic results. So, without further ado….let’s get started!



  • 5 – 4′ long 3/4″ wood doweling
  • 1′ long 3/16″ doweling
  • 1 – 6′ long 1″ x 2″ select pine
  • 10 – wooden knobs/dolls heads with a 3/16″ hole at the bottom that are 1-1/4″ in diameter (I found mine at my local craft store)
  • saw (hand, miter…whatever you have on hand will do)
  • drill
  • 3/4″ and 3/16″ drill bits
  • hammer
  • 20 – 1″ brad nails
  • tape measure
  • sand paper – 120 grit OR an electric sander
  • pencil
  • water-proof glue
  • latex primer
  • white exterior paint
  • weather resistant acrylic gloss in red, pink, black, yellow and navy blue (I used craft acrylic gloss craft paint found at the craft store)
  • paint brush(es) etc.
Continue Reading

Free Download: Icons of Modern Design (PDF booklet and vector art)

Icons of Modern Design Download PDF

It’s Modernism month on Curbly, and we’re exploring what it means to talk about modern design for the home. This week, we’re offering a really cool booklet of twenty-four iconic modern design silhouettes, along with the vector files we used to make them! We chose all our favorite designs by Eames, Nelson, Saarinen, and the best of the mid-century designers. Read on to see how to download the files.

You can use these however you want; print out the PDF and put it on your coffee table, make a calendar out of it, use them in any number of craft and art projects, or frame them as posters! Continue Reading

How To: Make Your Own Mod Eames-Inspired Drinking Glasses!

created at: 04/21/2011

Two birds, one stone?  Puh-lease!  You can’t throw a rock at Mid-Century Modern without hitting at least three Eames pieces.  Maybe more if you’re really good.  While their furniture designs are beyond iconic, Ray Eames’ textile designs are relatively less-so.  Relatively being the operative word.  While throwing down on a bold Eames Dot fabric for a home decor project is probably not in the budget at $135/yard, that doesn’t mean those playful dots can’t find a place somewhere in your home.   Continue Reading

Five Eames Chairs that Aren’t Just for Seating


created at: 04/04/2011

In my opinion, the most loved and easily recognized and furniture designers of the Mid-Century are Charles and Ray Eames.  Together, they had the Midas touch when it came to home furnishings; if the Eames’ designed it, it became a classic. 

If you aren’t lucky enough to own an actual Eames Chair of any variety, how about using their images as decor?   

This pillow from Inhabitots (above) features the Eames Rocker (as well as other iconic chairs), which is a personal favorite of mine.  Continue Reading

Curbly Gift Guide: The Ultimate Mid-Century Modern Gift Guide

created at: 12/04/2010

You guys, I am so stoked about this gift guide!  From art to books to pottery, we’ve rounded up a collection of gift ideas that are sure to delight the Mid-Century Modern enthusiast on your list.  Get your clicker fingers ready, because this is going to be awesome.  

created at: 12/04/2010

First up are these gorgeous ampersand cutting boards from House Industries, one of my favorite type foundries (and the folks behind Curbly’s signature font: Neutraface).  Solid maple and 1.5 Continue Reading

Someday, I Will Own an Authentic Eames Lounge…Until Then, This Will Do Just Fine.

created at: 03/18/2010

The Eames Lounge (670) and Ottoman (671) set by Herman Miller is, to me, not only the most iconic piece of mid-century design, but the most perfect piece of furniture. Ever. And a new one in cherry or walnut start at $3,000, and a 50th anniversary chair in Santos Palisander rosewood starts at about $4,500, with authentic vintage chairs fetching that much or more.

My new-to-me Frank Doerner copy, on the other hand, cost me just over $100. Continue Reading