All About Mid-Century Modern Style House Plans - NOVA of California (2024)

Though the Mid-Century Modern style house plans were at their zenith in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, that iconic style has remained exceedingly popular among its followers well into the 21st century and shows every sign of continuing.

What is Mid-Century Modern Style?

We will answer that question and so much more in our exciting tour through the mid-20th century that produced a design style still embraced to this day.

Notable Mid-Century Architects

Often called the father of American architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright trained and influenced many of our Mid-Century Modern architects. Though homes in this style can be found across America, the most impressive collection of mid-century modern homes can be seen in Palm Springs, California.

Some of the world’s most famous mid-century modern architects built homes, hotels, motels, and other projects in Palm Springs.

The city is an irresistible magnet for those who love the look. It’s all about the sleek, clean style where “less is more” as espoused by architect Mies van der Rohe. Built in the desert, these modern homes fit elegantly into their natural environment.

Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Koenig, Mies van der Rohe, Eileen Gray (best known for her furniture designs,) John Lautner, Greta Magnusson Grossman, Arne Jacobsen, Eero Saarinen, and others contributed to Mid-Century architecture in the United States. Many of these names are familiar as furniture designers.

Charles Eames & Ray Eames

In addition to furniture, Charles Eames and Ray Eames also built homes in this “mid-century” period. The Eames House has remained their most iconic creation. From the tiny “House Bird” sculpture to innovative home designs and iconic furniture, the Eames duo took the modern design world by storm. They also wrote books and made films.

Other Revered Modern Designers

Here are a few of the many iconic modern designers of the period. We hope you’ll take no offense if we’ve neglected to mention your favorite: Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, George Nelson, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Arne Jacobsen, Eileen Gray, Isamu Noguchi, Verner Panton, Jens Risom, and Alexander Girard.


You may have already noticed the abundance of designer names associated with Mid-Century chairs. Of all the furniture from the period, chairs seem to be the one element that captured the hearts of those who closely follow this style.

The Eames Lounge Chair and matching ottoman grace many of today’s offices, dens, and living rooms. The Swan Chair, created in 1958 by Arne Jacobsen, is a vision in curvaceous form. Papa Bear is big and comfy and an iconic example of the period.

The Barcelona Chair is forever a modern fixture, even in today’s homes and offices. From the simple beauty of the Wishbone Chair to the exquisite design of the Panton S Chair, we love these iconic and wide-range of chair designs.


Furniture and architecture weren’t the only mid-century modern style elements to get a make-over. Lighting designs took a page from the innovative materials and finishes of the period. The Arco Lamp by Achille Castiglioni is another icon of the period that was revolutionary in its day and continues to sell as a timeless classic some 60 years later.

Featured at the first Milan Salone design fair in 1962, the Arco Lamp was embraced by visitors from around the world for its near gravity-defying original design.

Visiting the show in 1962, the founder of NOVA of California, David Moskowitz, was astounded to discover how the Arco lamp was the culmination of an idea he had been working on for years! Once back in the States, Moskowitz set about perfecting his prototype for the U.S. market. Thus, the NOVA Arc Lamp was born.

All About Mid-Century Modern Style House Plans - NOVA of California (1)

Moskowitz’s version was admired for its sculptural form, minimalist aesthetic, maneuverability, space-saving benefits, and flexibility. The fixture was an instantaneous hit among the day’s interior designers and architects who began buying NOVA’s Arc Lamps.

Our still-popular Mushroom Arc Lamps debuted at the Chicago Merchandise Mart in 1964 and have been in the NOVA line for nearly six decades since 1964.

How to Get Mid-Century Modern Style


Mid-century decor style can be described as having clean lines and little if any, ornamentation. Walnut and teak are often used along with plywood. Chrome, stainless steel, and powder-coated metals are also used in mid-century furniture.

Plastic became a favorite furniture material and was prized for its properties, not masquerading as wood. The period designers also had an affinity for using natural leathers, cotton, linens, and high-tech woven textiles and synthetics in their upholstered designs.


The Mid-Century Modern color palette also tended towards natural with pops of oranges, yellows, and greens; all colors found in nature. Bold hues are used along with black and white. Accessories in powder-coated finishes and colors, including metalwork and ceramic pieces, also highlight simple lines with little ornamentation.

Influence on Style Today

Mid-Century Homes are in high demand in today’s real estate market. Some of the most sought-after homes of the period have been meticulously renovated to maintain their original character. While giving a new life with sleek new furnishings or restoring with period interiors.

Eichler, Neutra homes in California are highly prized for their Mid-Century roots.

Original and reproduction furniture pieces seem to blend naturally into many of today’s homes, making for a beautiful eclectic look that fits our more relaxed lifestyles.

Designer Take-Aways

  • The United States design scene benefited from the genius of both home-grown and immigrant designers and architects.
  • Charles Eames and his wife Ray played a significant role in American modern home architecture and furniture design. They were leaders in the California modernism movement.
  • The Mid-Century Modern movement gave us a multitude of beloved chair designs.
  • The humble material plywood was used to create innovative bentwood chairs, lounges, and other iconic works.
  • Mid-century modern-style homes were sleek with simple lines that were designed to fit perfectly into their natural landscapes, primarily in the Palm Springs area.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Mid-Century Modern Style: A Timeless Design Movement

Mid-Century Modern style, originating in the mid-20th century, has continued to captivate enthusiasts and designers well into the 21st century. This iconic design movement is characterized by its sleek, clean lines, and the philosophy of "less is more." Notable for its influence on architecture, furniture, and lighting, Mid-Century Modern style has left an indelible mark on the design world.

Notable Mid-Century Architects

The Mid-Century Modern movement was shaped by influential architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, often regarded as the father of American architecture. Palm Springs, California, stands out as a hub for the most impressive collection of mid-century modern homes, showcasing the work of renowned architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Eero Saarinen.

Charles Eames & Ray Eames

Charles and Ray Eames, celebrated for their contributions to furniture and home design, are prominent figures in the Mid-Century Modern movement. Their iconic Eames House and innovative furniture designs have left a lasting impact on modern design.

Other Revered Modern Designers

The Mid-Century Modern era also saw the rise of other iconic designers such as Florence Knoll, George Nelson, and Isamu Noguchi, who made significant contributions to furniture and lighting design during this period.

Chairs and Lighting

Mid-Century Modern style is closely associated with iconic chair designs, including the Eames Lounge Chair, Swan Chair, and Barcelona Chair. Lighting designs also underwent a transformation during this period, with notable examples like the Arco Lamp by Achille Castiglioni, which continues to be revered for its innovative design.

Materials and Colors

The design elements of Mid-Century Modern style are characterized by clean lines, little ornamentation, and the use of materials such as walnut, teak, chrome, stainless steel, and plastic. The color palette tends towards natural tones with pops of bold hues like oranges, yellows, and greens.

Influence on Style Today

Mid-Century Modern homes are highly sought after in today's real estate market, with many being meticulously renovated to preserve their original character. Original and reproduction furniture pieces from this era seamlessly blend into modern homes, creating a beautiful eclectic look that resonates with contemporary lifestyles.

Designer Take-Aways

The Mid-Century Modern movement has left a profound impact on the United States design scene, with influential figures like Charles and Ray Eames playing a significant role in shaping American modern home architecture and furniture design. The use of humble materials like plywood to create innovative designs and the emphasis on sleek, simple lines that harmonize with natural landscapes are enduring legacies of this influential design movement.

In conclusion, the Mid-Century Modern style, with its timeless appeal and enduring influence, continues to inspire designers and enthusiasts, making it a significant and cherished chapter in the history of design.

If you have any further questions or would like to delve deeper into any specific aspect of Mid-Century Modern style, feel free to ask!

All About Mid-Century Modern Style House Plans - NOVA of California (2024)


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