Art Deco vs Mid Century Modern (What’s The Difference)

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Both Art Deco and Mid Century celebrate contemporary luxury, innovative new materials, and distinctive design characteristics.

Mid-century design is a sleek minimalist style that focuses more on practicality while art decor design has a more elaborate style with extravagant and intricate details.

Is art deco mid-century modern

First introduced at an exhibit in Paris in 1925, Art Deco quickly gained popularity. Its influence is seen in everything from fashion and furnishings to buildings, transportation, and artwork. Art Deco was a contemporary style until about 1940.

Although the design elements are distinctly different, there is some overlap in the period that both styles were in vogue. The Mid Century style began in the 1930s and ran through the 1960s.

Art Deco Design Also Incorporates Geometric Designs


These tend to be more elaborate designs such as chevron and zigzag. This style emphasizes vertical lines and is more elaborately enhanced than Mid Century.

Furnishings made in the Art Deco style often use exotic woods such as ebony, mahogany, and zebrawood on surfaces and as accents. Intricate inlays and veneers highlight the distinctive design lines and add to the feel of modern luxury, which is the basis of this design’s concept.

Materials like chrome, aluminum, and bakelite, along with highly polished and smooth surfaces, emphasized the new and modern feel created by Art Deco design. Upholstery also displayed unusual elements such as exotic furs, and sharkskin or ray skin (shagreen). Leather was also often used.

Mid Century Design Is A Minimalist Style In Which Form Follows Function


Its geometric and organic shapes with clean, sleek lines, and often contrasting textures, materials, and colors helped to identify it.

Mid Century furniture design embraced new materials such as plastic, plywood, vinyl, glass, Lucite, and Plexiglas for their distinctive characteristics. Designers often took advantage of the artificial qualities juxtaposed against the sleek organic look of wood.

Art Deco Chair Vs. Mid Century – What Is The Difference?

While the two styles are distinctly different, they have often shared the same space. Art Deco has seen some level of revival every decade since the 1950s. Mid Century has never really gone away.

Even today, you can purchase brand-new furnishings in either style. Vintage pieces from both disciplines are widely available and sought after.

  1. Chairs designed in Mid Century style will typically be lower profile and incorporate sweeping lines with tapered legs. These chairs will also utilize more man-made materials and laminated wood structures. The color palette can range from bold, stark contrast to warm earth tones.
  2. The Art Deco chair will have a more intricate and detailed design in an upright habit. Typically a higher gloss, these furnishings will sometimes have a lacquered finish. They display a distinctly geometric and symmetrical structure in their design. While the Mid Century chair sports a sleek low-profile, Art Deco chairs will have a more traditional proportion and straight legs.


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Both Design Methods Incorporate The Modern Materials Of Their Time

The materials themselves are distinct features of each style. Depending on preferences and the overall design of the space, one may be just as appropriate as the other.

Each is attractive and graceful in its own right, and you may find that combining the two in some fashion will create the look you are seeking.

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