Top 10 Mid-Century Decor Must-Haves

31 Jan

Think of this as the David Letterman list (am I dating myself?) of the top ten things I think say mid-century design in a home. When I think about my hopes and dreams for this house, only half of it is structural. The other half is decor…furniture, object d’art, accessories. So I started making a list for myself that I thought I would share it with you, dear readers. This is an ‘in my opinion’ list. My opinion. Brandy’s. It’s as eclectic as I am (i.e. mis-matched and slightly askew).  And I am sure I will miss something that you personally love and think is a ‘must-have’. I have no Florence Knoll or Le Corbusier or Mies Van der Rohe, all of which I love but I had to make some practical choices based on my own home. So pile it on in the comments.  Tell me what you love too and share it with other mid-century crazies enthusiasts like us.

Whether you buy an original or a replica or a used piece, there are many ways to fit these into your home based on your budget. (I know there are soaring debates about authentic versus replica, but let’s just say I don’t judge. Some replicas are quality; some not so much. Everyone needs to do whatever they need to do within their means and values.)

10. Flokati rug:  Ebay vintage 4×6 $40, New 4×6 $139

Flokati Rug 70 x 140cm

9. George Nelson bubble lamp:  Original 16″ vintage on ebay $450, New authentic from Design Within Reach $329

8. Catherineholm enamelware: Must buy it vintage on places like Etsy or Ebay. Never seen one out in the thrift store wild, but I have to believe they are out there. The set below is priced at $380 on Etsy, which feels a little high to me.  You can find good pieces upwards of $50 for the smaller ones.

7. Some kind of owl something: Easy peasy. Dig an old macrame out of your mom’s attic or pick up this slightly kitchsy but wonderful owl wallpaper by UK designer Abigail Edwards.

Pinned Image

6. Noguchi coffee table:  Authentic from Herman Miller for $1399 or a replica from Rex Kelly for $349.

5. George Nelson platform bench: 5′ at Design Within Reach $779 or 5′ replica at Lexington Modern for $349

4. Eames lounge chairHerman Miller $4499 or replica at Kardiel for $1249 or another replica at Rex Kelly for $849.

Eames Lounge Chair

3. Eero Saarinen Tulip chair and table: From Design Within Reach $1807 for the table and $1440 for each chair or from Designer Seating on Amazon $1130 for the set.39" Eero Saarinen Style Tulip Dining Table with White Marble Top and 4 Tulip Side Chairs

2. Danish teak credenza: These are everywhere but not cheap.  If you are lucky, you will find a decent inexpensive one in a thrift store or you can look for them on Ebay (like the one below for $1750) though some are $200-500 if you are willing to do a little work.  Also check your local craigslist.  You never know.

1. Eames fiberglass shell chair: What can I say? For me this is the iconic must-have piece in any color in any style. I love them beyond words, especially the rocking chair, which I would want in celery and can only find at Modernica for $375.  Not too bad.  Rex Kelly also has some replicas, a $99 side chair I just ordered for the new desk, so I will let you know how that works out. Stay tuned.

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11 Responses to “Top 10 Mid-Century Decor Must-Haves”

  1. Edita August 21, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Beautiful Noguchi table. There’s one here for a much lower price though.

  2. janis - pinecone camp March 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more! I have a Noguchi table that’s been passed down through the years. Love it. Catherine Holm enamelware is so beautiful, but so pricey these days. Hard to find around Vancouver as well. Great list!

    • Brandy March 4, 2012 at 8:31 am #

      Thanks! There is so much more, obviously, but these were my personal faves.


  3. Molly January 31, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Awesome list — I’m totally digging the red enamelware.

    • Brandy January 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      It’s pretty rad, right? Glad you liked the list!

  4. Shirley Ross Joiner January 31, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Love your list! Just wanted to comment that I was actually lucky enough to find a Cathrineholm bowl in the thrifting world a couple of years ago: 9 1/2 inch sage and white lotus. It was my very first Cathrineholm; paid $10 or $12. So, there’s always hope.

    • Brandy January 31, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Thank you for the hope! I will keep looking. I did cave and buy one on Etsy for myself this Christmas and I really don’t regret it.


  5. Rex January 31, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Hey, thanks for including me shop on your list! (Great list by the way!)

    • Brandy January 31, 2012 at 8:44 am #

      You are more than welcome, Rex. I will be in NYC in a few weeks and would love to come by if you have a showroom. Let me know!


      • Rex January 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

        No problem! Email me at and let’s see if we can arrange something!

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