Mid-Century Classics

We asked local interior designers to share their favorite mid-century furniture pieces.

By Melissa Mauzy


Post World War II, the design aesthetic in the United States became all about mid-century modern. Characterized by clean, sculptural lines, geometric and curvilinear shapes and natural and manmade materials, mid-century pieces are still popular today. We asked local interior designers to share their favorites.

“Designed by Swedish architect Greta Magnusson Grossman in 1948, the Grasshopper lamp has certainly stood the test of time. I love how this piece encompasses so many current trends: sleek lines, an industrial edge and mix of black and gold - very chic.” Kimberly Kowalski, Allied ASID, Savvy Surrounding Style.

“This mid-century beauty is one of my favorites for its striking elegance and simplicity. Its black lacquer exterior smartly outlines the faceted details on the rosewood doors. The Gate Armoire by Dwell Studio for Precedent sideboard is easily at home in a number of rooms; gorgeous in a dining room or entry, use as a media cabinet or showcase in a bedroom as your dresser.” Gigi Lombrano, ASID, Gigi Lombrano Interiors.

“The Eames plastic-molded dowel-leg armchair is right up there with my top picks. I love the clean lines and its visual simplicity, with the contrast of the molded plastic off set by the organic nature of the wooden dowel legs. Also, the arms make it very comfortable to sit in, and it’s beautiful to look at.” Dottie Eaton, Design Style and The Mod Bohemian.

“I’m all about comfort, style and edge, and this mid-century modern chair delivers in a striking polished stainless-steel finish against a soft, neutral leather. I love the modern frame and sleek, architectural lines of Milo Baughman's Sling Chair and Ottoman by Thayer Coggin.” Lisa Davis, Showroom Merchandising Specialist, KDR Designer Showrooms.

“The Saarinen table by Eero Saarinen took five years of research to perfect this classic, which was first introduced in 1958. This is my all-time favorite dining table. It is available with a white or black molded cast-aluminum base, and the top is available in laminate, wood or marble. It is the most versatile tables on the market, available in six different sizes and some finishes are suitable for outdoor usage. The sculptural pedestal base was designed to eliminate the "slum of legs," meaning all the legs involved with a table and chairs together.  It is one of the most revered copied iconic pieces of furniture around.” Joni Spear, Joni Spear Interior Design.

“Looks, nostalgia and versatility inspire my choice of the Eero Saarinen Tulip arm chair. It’s inviting and reminds me of my mother’s love of style. Growing up, I enjoyed many meals sitting in a knock-off version of this chair with bright, yellow vinyl seats. Mostly seen in casual settings, I love how these work well with a traditional table to create an unexpected setting. Eero Saarinen, the creative behind the chair, also gave us the St. Louis Arch!” Dana King, Next Project Studio.

“The #3253 sofa from Sherrill Furniture Company is a favorite of mine! Its straight, clean lines are dressed up with back tufting, and the kicky little angled wood legs keep it from being too bulky. This piece is long enough and deep enough to nap on or curl your feet up on to enjoy a good book…what’s not to like!” Cindy Kistner, ASID, G.M. Doveikis and Associates.

“The womb chair is a part of the 100 Masterpieces list from the Vitra Design Museum. The simple, organic lines and comfort that this chair offers makes it one of my favorite mid-century pieces. Not to mention the fabulous fabrics it is available in!” Amy Studebaker, Amy Studebaker Design.

“The Barcelona chair, designed by Mies Van Der Rohe, is the quintessential modern mid-century chair with its beautiful clean lines and quality craftsmanship. Even though it was designed in 1929, it still brings a modern sense to any space.” Tamsin Mascetti, Allied ASID, Tamsin Design Group.

“I fell in love with the Eames chair and ottoman when I saw it for the first time at my uncle’s home in 1958. I loved the beautiful, curved Brazilian hardwood and black-glove soft leather. I couldn’t wait until my uncle let me sit in it. I had never seen anything like it, and I am not surprised that it has been continually manufactured since its conception in 1956.” Davey Mayer, Davette J Mayer, Designer LLC.

“Niche loves the Eames lounge and ottoman by Herman Miller. From their debut, the pair has become quintessential and inform so much of what modern furniture designers strive to emulate today. It’s the hat trick of furniture – comfort, style, durability.” Paige McClellan, Sales and Design Manager, Niche.

“Without a doubt, my favorite mid-century modern chair is the Eames lounge. It's comfortable, beautiful, and I love that you can customize it with several wood finishes and leather colors.  This chair works remarkably well in both traditional and contemporary settings and is certainly an item that will remain stylish no matter the environment it is placed in.” Emily Koch, JCR Design Group.