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3 Ways to Make Your Sofa a Mid Century Modern One

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Recently, mid century modern furniture designs are appealing to a wide variety of demographics. Perhaps it's the latest impact of the well-received AMC's TV show Mad Men, which depicts the lifestyle and aesthetic of the early 1960s, that is causing all the rage. Or perhaps these designs from the mid century era are rather timeless. Regardless of the reasons, these modern designs from not long ago radiate a cheerful energy about them, even today. They have and still do inject new life into the basics. Original pieces which are still in good condition can be quite costly. The same is true for reproductions. Yes, the current economy is still quite a challenge, but you can make the most of what you have and you don't have to spend a lot to achieve these mid century looks, especially when it comes to sofas.

So what exactly is mid century modern furniture and why such fascination?

Immediately after World War II, consumer demand fueled extraordinarily strong economic growth. Manufacturing was at an all time high. New materials started to emerge such as thermoplastics, acrylics, plywoods, etc. As a result, furniture designers started to experiment with these materials. Tubular metals were used quite extensively as is shown on a typical Le Corbusier sofa designed during this period. Curvilinear shapes were gracing these new designs as well. It was also a new era of atomic-age inspired furniture design. Gone was the ornamentation that was all too familiar up to this point in design history. The overall look, feel, and vibe symbolized hope, success, and the future. Families re-envisioned their spaces in their homes and insisted on affordable, mass-produced, and stylish furniture to match their new outlook on life.

Today, this same furniture represents substance, a sense of achievement, and a prize for all the goals that were met in that era; a prize for creating the means to go to the moon, introducing color television sets, and many other accomplishments. The original designs don't shout at you because their construction draws in your interest naturally. When the external facade is employed - fabrics, leathers, or colors - they are done in order to add a depth and sophistication that pulls you into their charm even more.

Is it possible to add some mid century flavor to your own sofa?

It's very possible and it won't cost you an arm or a leg. We are experiencing a touchy economy which is not budging as rapidly as we'd all like so any way to save money is more than welcome. Let's say that you love the sophisticated, yet simple and not over-the-top mid century modern design of sofas, thanks to its subdued, uncluttered shapes, but it's out of your budget. What can you do? Instead of purchasing a vintage mid century modern sofa or a reproduced one, tweak your existing one. By tweaking a few things you can bring this inimitably chic style into your home.

1. Change the legs.


Start from the bottom up. Replace your existing sofa legs because bun feet, for example, are beautiful on their own, but the long, slender, tapered legs add artful drama and an airy effect that keeps the sofa from overwhelming less than palatial rooms and add that quintessential mid century look. You can go to your nearest Home Depot, Lowes, or any other home improvement store and purchase these legs. You'll probably find pre-stained ones but if you prefer to stain them yourself, you can also go that route. Either way, it shouldn't be very expensive. Your existing sofa is most likely attached via hanger bolts and removing them is as simple as turning them counterclockwise and replacing them with the new ones. The simple leg replacement will usher in a mid century look.

2. Reupholster the sofa.

It may sound complicated but it really is not. First, you need to look at the condition of your existing sofa. If your sofa still holds up well then you need to decide on the new color and pattern for the new fabric, otherwise it may be wise to simply add a slipcover. Reupholstering the sofa is probably still cheaper than purchasing a new one that has mid century finesse. Hire a professional or you can tackle this task yourself and save a few bucks. The first step is to remove the old fabric. Once it's removed, thoroughly check out the padding (foam) and decide if you need to replace it. So, which fabric color do you need to choose to replicate this unique look? You need to complement the existing furniture in the room. If your living room is somewhat captivated with monochromes of gray, for example, highlight the sofa with contrasting hues of tangerine, turquoise, or even aqua, and color it irresistible. Pre-measure every section and start stapling your new fabric.

3. Add some tufting.

The sofa may look dark and minimalist, except for the surprise of button tufting which you can add. It would be wise to hire a professional upholsterer to do the button tufting and it shouldn't be very costly. Without sacrificing the sleek aesthetic mid century modernists want, this simple touch of tufting creates a pleasing sense of uncluttered looks.

Combining the regal presence of mid century modern design with the romance of the latest fabric offerings, the modern look is hotter than ever and you too can replicate this look. There are options which you can do to create high-end looks that celebrate this unique era's dramatic designs. Warm elements, uncluttered feel, and subtle, decorative accessories can give existing sofas a starring role while enriching modern comfort.

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