Mid-century modern rugs encapsulate effortless style and classic themes while pairing well with any style of decor. These rugs add dashes of warm, vivid colors and abstract shapes. Say goodbye to the era of black and white movies and say hello to technicolor cinematography with a mid-century modern rug that stepped out of Mad Men into your living room.
You don’t have to mix an old-fashioned to match your mid-century modern rug. Their earthy and jewel tones make it easy to pair them to more transitional-styled rooms as well. They also work well with deeper wood floors, bring eye-popping color to neutral rooms, and liven up large, undecorated spaces. These rugs have stayed in style for the last 70 years and will continue to be heavily relied on for decades to come.
But what makes a mid-century modern rug different from any other rug? How can you tell the difference between an abstract mid-century modern rug and a contemporary rug that might rely on similar themes? Mid-century modern rugs have their own elements of style that they adhere to, influenced by popular themes from the Kennedy era and the race to the moon. These rugs can act as color television sets to your decor without dating the design or cramping creativity.
The Birth of Mid-Century Modern Rugs
The mid-century modern style came about as a marriage between already existing modern styles, abstract styles, a return to Scandanavian and Indigenous patterns, and a bohemian style that emerged at around the same time. The movement relied on a cornucopia of patterns and materials, both natural and synthetic, that played off each other in the same space and emphasized differences.
Focal pieces, like art on the walls or rugs on the floor, play key roles in mid-century modern design. Large canvases of color and pattern set the tone for the rest of the room, taking clean, gentle lines and extending them to chairs, lamps, tables, bedstands, or other pieces of furniture. The entire style based itself on functionality: it was easy to live in. Rather than a display that said “look, don’t touch,” mid-century modern styles offered art that worked with your everyday life. This emphasis on its usability added to its timeless appeal.
Rugs like this Multi Striped Chevron Area Rug (pictured above), found at Rugs USA, take a page out of the past but apply it to a contemporary setting. The multiple colors make it easy to fit into the rest of a room, no matter what the theme, while the shapes offer the eye some relief in an open space like a living room or a hallway.
Technicolor Screens: Mid-Century Modern Colors
If you’ve ever seen a movie from the 1960’s, perhaps Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest or West Side Story, the colors from the films are typically the ones found in mid-century modern rugs and pieces. Burnt orange, mustard yellow, avocado green, turquoise, shades of gold, and fire engine red create the basis for many mid-century modern patterns and styles. These colors don’t have to take the main stage in a mid-century modern design; in fact, matching ivory and pearl shades with different styles of wood are also classic mid-century modern. But the message is the same: warm, inviting colors that add to the coziness of a room belong in these designs.
Rugs like this Multi Florid Labyrinth Area Rug found at Rugs USA bring warm and vivid colors to a room, while also introducing an alternative texture to work within the rest of the design. If you don’t want the more vivid colors and prefer neutral tones instead, this Natural Jute Checkerboard Area Rug (shown below) maintains the mid-century modern style but can instead offer a lighter palette for your room.
Better Lighting and Definition: Mid-Century Modern’s Bold Geometry
Bigger pieces and shapes formed the outline for a mid-century modern design. Sweeping ovals, rhombuses, and trapezoids found their way into rooms, pictures, architecture like Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, and onto rugs. The reliance on big lines and shapes without the need for harsh, sharp angles brings a whimsical tone to your room, making mid-century modern rugs the perfect transition between a playroom and a grown-up room. They also guided the eye to natural sources of light and helped bring bright rays to balance out darker woods.
Over time, mid-century modern styles became inclusive of global patterns like Indigenous styles and Scandinavian patterns, especially in rugs. Patterns like the one found in this Silver Crosshatch Aztec Area Rug became celebrated and recognized for their own timelessness and durability in living spaces.
The Surprising Durability of Mid-Century Modern Style
Mid-century modern rugs are family-appropriate since functionality forms a key part of their design. Reliance on washable and synthetic materials as well as designs that hide stains from the average eye make these rugs perfect for your family of pets and small children. Fibers like jute and synthetics like polyester can take on wear and tear in hallways, living rooms, and dining rooms (or really anywhere else.)
Rugs like this Black Jute and Cotton Token Area Rug, which blends natural jute and cotton, can provide mid-century modern style and taste while taking on the traffic from family, friends, and furry ones.
Is a mid-century Modern rug right for you?
Mid-century modern rugs fit well as transitional rugs, modern placeholders, or even as a classic throwback to an older time in a contemporary styled room. These rugs can bring their artistic warmth and jewel tones to your room with ease. You don’t have to spend all your paycheck on a vintage mid-century modern rug for your home: Rugs USA provides a wide selection of mid-century modern styles that will match your style needs.