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Woods Used for Mid-Century Modern Style

4 Materials That Made the Era

Clean lines, interesting material combinations, and intriguing colors and shapes neatly sum up what mid-century modern is all about. From the height of the era in the 1950s and 60s to today, some things have inevitably changed, but one thing remains constant—functionality trumps all, meaning quality materials must be a focal point. Many mid-century modern fans love the style because of its multifunctional pieces and iconic designers like Eames, Ercol, and Arne Jacobsen. Discover the four key wood types used to create mid-century modern furniture, and learn more about the characteristics of this era if you’re interested in incorporating the style in your latest design. 

1. Teak

According to Livingetc, one of the most common wood types used in mid-century designs is teak which is a dark, durable, and high-quality material. It pairs well with bold colors like red, yellow, and orange, and its sturdy nature lends well to stately desks, tables, and storage cabinets. If you’re looking for a beautiful teak piece, check out our Denmark Dining Table for a minimalist top that looks deceptively delicate. 

2. Oak

The second most popular wood used for mid-century modern style is strong and durable oak. Naturally, it’s a bit softer in color compared to teak, so many people choose to pair it with cooler shades like earthy greens or cream-toned whites. Oak is also available in a range of shades from light to dark if you’re looking for a specific grain. For a paler, more gray-toned oak, browse our Misty Dining Table, and for a more rich oak, check out the gorgeous legs on this Durrant Armless Counter Stool

3. Beech 

Due to its high-shock resistance and extreme durability, beech is often used in mid-century design for chairs. It’s a paler wood, too, which reminds many of the style’s Scandinavian roots. 

4. Moulded Plywood 

Last but certainly not least, we can’t discuss wood used for mid-century modern style without mentioning moulded plywood. In fact, the material was newly discovered in the 1950s and 60s, and it was very affordable and pliable (hence the name). According to Vermont Woods Studios, its use quickly became commonplace for many pieces, and it was even the backbone of the infamous Eames chair. 

Whether you’re furnishing a new home with mid-century designs, or you’re just interested in learning more about the materials that surround you, it’s important to know different types of woods and how they’re used most effectively. Running low on inspiration for your latest project? Read our furnishing guide for helpful style tips, or see how you can elevate any space when you design with patterns.

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