Furniture Design

Furniture Design Timeline



Art Deco Movement


The design of the Roaring Twenties
Time period: 1925 until 1939
This international design movement included: architecture, interior design, industrial design, visual arts, fashion, painting and film.

The name “Art Deco” comes from a 1925 exposition held in Paris by a group of French artists. It featured modern French art and business interests, and was known as Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. After the Great Depression hit, Art Deco was accompanied by a similar movement, Streamline Moderne – noted for it more rounded corners and more simplistic design.

Neoclassical, Russian Constructivism, Italian Futurism, Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau Cultures such as Asia, Africa, Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico were also influences in Art Deco.


  • Elegant style and cool sophistication
  • Abstraction, distortion, and simplification
  • Geometric shapes and highly intense colors celebrated the rise of the economy, new technology, and speed.
  • Trapezoidal and zigzag shapes
  • The lavishness and modernness of Art Deco is attributed to reaction of the forcefulness and harshness imposed by World War I.
  • Geometric shapes and sleek lines gave fractal or faceted forms of objects (much like Cubism).


Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern furniture were designed between the 1930s to the 1950s and characterized by simple, modern and natural forms.
The furniture were designed to be modern and beautiful without sacrificing functionality and comfort.
As such, the popularity of these furniture has endured the test of time and are still very sought after today.
Many of the classic designer chairs and tables originated from this era. Their aesthetics can complement many interior and architectural styles.
They evoke both the nostalgia of an iconic period as well as the sensibility and attitude to embrace all things modern.

4 Characteristics That Define Mid-century Modern Furniture

The lovely lines!
The most outstanding feature of mid-century modern furniture is the clean, lovely lines.  As a sharp contrast to the furniture that pre-dated the 1950s, mid-century modern designers found beauty in lines that were sleek, uncluttered, and clean.  Smooth lines epitomized the modernity these designers wished to emulate.

Mid-century modern furniture is easily spotted by its streamlined appearance.  Using clean lines to create sculptural elements, the simplicity of the line design is what makes mid-century modern furniture continue to be relevant in today’s homes.  Those who earn the credit of defining these streamlined lines are designers like Charles Eames, Euro Saarinen, Anne Jacobsen, and Mies van der Rohe.

Prevalence of teak
Along with the infusion of man-made materials, including fiberglass, was a tremendous affection for teak wood in mid-century modern design.  With the large Danish influence on modernism, the wood’s warmth and strength was embraced by a WWII-tattered world looking to find serenity.  In addition, from a design perspective, teak provided an excellent backdrop and accent to the interesting colors and textures prevalent in mid-century modern design.

Rainbow of colors and textures
Bursting onto the scenes of mid-century modern inspiration was a plethora of unique textures and colors.  By emphasizing the contemporary outlook of the home, mid-century modern design wanted to forget the past, but rather emphasize the hope (of a peaceful world) that the future held.  Thus, mid-century modern design saw a great plethora of colors and textures that were mixed together in great creativity.

Use of cutting-edge materials (at least, for that era)
Turning the traditional woods on its head, mid-century modern design introduced the mass appeal of man-made materials that were not previously found in furniture.  Plastic becomes an important element of mid-century modern furniture, including Bakelite on table tops, along with Plexiglass and Lucite.

The tremendous popularity of mid-century modern design in today’s interiors is indicative of the timeless appeal of great designers like Herman Miller, Eames, and Saarinen.  60 years later, people are paying top dollar for authentic, valuable mid-century modern furniture pieces.