Trending Now: Live-Edge Furniture
Live Edge: the name pretty much sums it up, right? Essentially, the term refers to lumber that has been cut into slabs of the desired thickness, but instead of next cutting away any knots or flaws to create symmetrical boards with smooth, square edges, those natural elements are left intact and only the bark itself is removed.
Initially made popular by legendary midcentury-modern furniture designer and architect George Nakashima, whose sculptural pieces paired clean-lined bases with tops that showcased wood's natural beauty through butterfly joints, a live edge and heavily burled or figured grain, this holistic approach to honoring wood's beauty — flaws and all — has again captured the design world's attention:
Live-edge furniture's popularity has led to its use in architectural installations like kitchen islands, mantels and built-in bookcases. Here, this gorgeous walnut island by designer Lauren Levant Bland shows how a single live-edge element adds a big dose of organic style to an otherwise industrial and contemporary kitchen:
Custom Features in Warm, Contemporary Kitchen
The unique kitchen island features a top made from live-edge walnut, bringing an organic element into this rustic, contemporary space. On the cooktop wall, cabinetry is constructed from hot-rolled steel panels, and rough-hewn walnut continues with the custom hood.
Photography by Bob Narod for Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath
With a gnarled cypress root base and live-edge top, design diva Sarah Richardson put this side table to use as a functional piece of sculpture in an otherwise contemporary living room:
Mid-Century Modern Decor From Sarah Sees Potential
As seen on season 1 of Sarah Sees Potential , designer Sarah Richardson filled this mid-century home with vintage-style decor like this live edge wood side table, fisheye mirrors and glass and gold lamp.
Given its ties to midcentury modern design via Nakashima, live-edge furniture is right at home in mid-mod homes. Check out this sleek midcentury modern makeover by Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines. In the living room, she added a single live-edge end table to contrast with the room’s otherwise streamlined furnishings:
Clean Lines, Natural Hues
Midcentury furniture pieces are characterized by their clean, simple lines. Wood pieces, often made of teak, are simply finished to showcase their natural beauty. Here, designer Beth Haley paired this traditional midcentury table with clean-lined contemporary chairs and bold teal walls.
Let Wood Details Take Center Stage
Don't hide wood details; let them shine. In this living room, a neutral wall color and soft-hued fabrics lets the handcrafted arms of these Danish modern chairs be the star. Design by Domicile Interior Design
Less Is More
Subtlety and thoughtful craftsmanship are much of what makes midcentury style timeless. When Eero Saarinen designed his modern classic, marble-topped table in 1956, he wanted to eliminate any extra parts, including extraneous table legs. Paired with molded plastic Eames chairs, the simple lines of the table still look fresh and modern in this slate gray contemporary kitchen. Design by Joel Snayd
Let There Be Light
Midcentury table lamps lend themselves well to any space featuring low-slung furniture, and they're easy to find at vintage stores. Look for curvy bases in bold hues, paired with tall, slim lampshades, like this Murano glass lamp designer Kenneth Brown used atop a vintage Knoll nightstand. Photo by Mayer Bowden Photography
An Affordable Focal Point
Flea markets are another great source for retro lighting. A brass helix-style chandelier purchased for $200 is the focal point in this midcentury-menswear mashup. Black, silver and gold pinstripe wallpaper covers the walls and lets the entryway's bargain chandelier stand out. Design by Brian Patrick Flynn
Find Retro Art
Add an unexpected element to your home with a vintage art piece. Look for graphic wall hangings using squares or circles, like this red, orange and brown piece. Or, find a vintage-inspired print on sites like Etsy.
Pick a Traditional Color Scheme
Embrace the era of mustard, avocado and tangerine with a '60s-inspired color scheme. This living room from designer David Scott nods to the classic hues without seeming like a movie set.
Keep the Walls White
Midcentury style is all about showcasing quality pieces, so try keeping your walls white. This room's neutral palette allows the artwork and the rich blue velvet on the vintage Robsjohn Gibbings chair to stand out. Design by David Scott
Embrace Pattern and Texture
Graphic patterns and midcentury modern style go together like milk and cookies. In this vintage-inspired room, a neutral palette allows designer Sarah Richardson to play with pattern and texture, from the angular gray-and-white upholstery to the textured wallpaper and throw pillows.
Try a Bar Cart
If you've ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you know cocktail culture was almost as important to the show (and the era) as Don Draper's hair gel. Embrace it by picking up your own bar cart and stocking it with vintage glassware, cocktail shakers and ornate decanters. Design by Emily Henderson
Go Totally Retro
Take the midcentury look a little further by creating a space entirely furnished with '60s-inspired pieces. A George Nelson bubble lamp floats atop the vintage table and chairs, and retro vases, sunbursts and abstract wall art adorn the mustard-hued walls. Design by Alicia Friedmann
Mix Traditional and Modern
Midcentury style isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. This bachelor pad combines the clean lines of the tufted midcentury sofa and table lamps with more traditional elements, like the bronze-and-glass coffee table. Photo by Brian Patrick Flynn
Feature One Standout Piece
Even if you're more contemporary than retro, a single midcentury piece can warm up your space. In this red and white living room, an iconic wood-and-glass Noguchi table is an unexpected focal point. Design by Marie Burgos
Cozy Up With Midcentury Style
Midcentury furnishings in a nursery? Believe it. Designer Sarah Richardson used this orange chair, inspired by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen's iconic egg chair, as cozy seating in a nursery on Sarah 101. Find an iconic piece for your nursery to give it high style and a shelf life long past toddlerhood.
Restyle Classic Pieces
Don't be afraid to update midcentury pieces to suit your style. In this Los Angeles home, a classic Eames chair is reupholstered with an African fabric to add a bold pattern to the space. Design by Commune Design
Try Modern Industrial
The clean lines of midcentury modern furnishings are the perfect juxtaposition to rough-hewn industrial spaces, which makes this mix of styles ideal for urban loft living. Image courtesy of CB2
Shop New Midcentury-Inspired Pieces
As midcentury style grows more popular, many retailers are stocking new pieces that evoke the feel of midcentury greats. These chairs from CB2 are inspired by classic Bertoia Knoll wire chairs, but offer a slightly more streamlined silhouette and an on-trend, emerald-green hue. Image courtesy of CB2
Preppy style and midcentury modern pieces can be a design match made in heaven. Here, designer Tobi Fairley used an iconic midcentury accessory, the sunburst mirror, to create a quintessentially preppy look with houndstooth pillows, a classic color scheme and lots of symmetry. Photo courtesy of Tobi Fairley Interior Design
Modern Eclectic Style
A vintage Mies chair is right at home in this reading nook. The geometric leather pillow from South America adds dimension to the space. Design by Luis Caicedo