Mid Century

What America Taught Us About Interior Design

We're celebrating the bold American interior designs and brands that continue to fill us with inspiration within our own homes in the UK.
What America Taught Us About Interior Design

When it comes to interior design, discovering designers from all over the world is one thing I’ll never take for granted. There’s so much amazing talent everywhere. Stateside, especially. Today’s best-known designers in America have found themselves on the big screen heading up their TV shows; Joanna and Chip Gaines with the Fixer Upper known to have made Farmhouse interiors as we know it today, and Emily Henderson with Secrets From a Stylist, who has shown us how to creatively mix mid century modern elements with a range of interior styles.

Infamous American interior design styles

As interior designers expand their reach, we’ve been gifted with gorgeous collaborations that make achieving a look and aesthetic much easier. Looking to you Farrow & Ball, with your newly launched Kelly Wearstler range; sun-kissed Californian-inspired paint colours that would look idyllic in any home. Likewise, leading interior brands such as OKA and The White Company have launched their brands in the States making it easier (and quicker) to purchase the classic interiors you’d find inside British homes.

this is the madison project by kelly wearstler

The fusion of styles is bringing a wave of dynamic looks that stretches beyond borders, and we’re grateful for it. You only have to look at the history of mid century modern to see how much American interior designs have influenced how we perceive design, as well as manufacturer interiors. Likewise, a trip to Palm Springs will put you in the heart of where the luxe aesthetic of mid century modern originally made its debut, across interiors and architecture. Jump straight to the best of American interior design by watching our TL;DR summary by yours truly.

American interiors brands to know

With more of our readers tuning in from across the pond, we’re celebrating the bold American interior designs and brands that continue to fill us with inspiration within our own homes in the UK. You only have to look as far as CB2, Article, Anthropologie, and West Elm to see the quality of pieces available to buy off the shelf and create a beautifully stylish home within a reasonable budget. All done in just one or two stores.

Sound too good to be true? Well, we thought we’d test it and we were not disappointed. We’ve looked to find a collection of pieces to design a relaxed living room from two US-based stores (that ship internationally). The collection has a crossover of eras, and cultures that any mid century modern enthusiast would swoon over.

this is a small apartment in kansas city by west elm

this is a collection of small ornaments by west elm

Mid century modern essentials, the American way

The essence of mid century modern design is all about contrasting materials; minimal but bold statement pieces; bright and earthy hues; and geometric shapes. Combined, these features create a look that has proven to be timeless and can work beautifully inside a living room. When choosing the leather sofa, we wanted to look for a piece that radiated the minimalistic look that American designers often lean towards.

A smooth, dark leather sofa paired with a wooden nesting coffee table set is a modern look that can be taken up a notch with a soft curved armchair and a woven rug or an antique rug below.

Keeping it minimally stylish

To bring different textures and materials into the look, we turned to decor items to add these extra elements into the living room that would add a unique look and feel and requires a minimal amount of space to make it all work. Adding small statement pieces and sculptures is a simple way to bring elements such as metal and tones of wood into your living room. From a metal sputnik to marble and wood geometric objects to wooden lanterns to woven pieces of wall art, a small curated collection keeps the interiors aligned to a key characteristic of American design: a decluttered space.

Layering the lighting

Lighting preferences in the US are surprisingly different to what we’d typically opt for in the UK. Here we might look for the one big light to brighten up the room, whereas in the States layering the lighting has been proven to be the design of choice to create a beautiful ambience that works in favour of the corner of the room you’d use, rather than lighting up the interior space. While finding matching furniture is one for the Brits, beautiful matching lighting sets for table and floor are staple pieces inside American homes.

Photo credits: 1. West Elm 2. Kelly Wearstler 3-4. West Elm

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