The Savvy Guide to Buying Mid-Century Modern Antique Furniture

Mar 10, 2008 by

With the Dow flirting dangerously with recession, it may be time to turn your investments into mid-century modern antiques.Not only are these antique furniture and collectible pieces chic, but they are continuing to grow in value – making your home and portfolio more beautiful at the same time.

Mid-century modern is the new black

“Mid-century modern” is the catch phrase, with this era’s sleek lines and avant garde style becoming the current design industry’s favorite child.

Eames is the new Chippendale, with Knoll and Herman Miller replacing baroque antique furniture. Mid-century modern is not only relevant in today’s modernity, but is utilized as an inspirational palate, with its sleek lines and thoughtful curves reflected in today’s furniture choices.Either as accent pieces or a complete style, mid-century modern antique furniture and collectibles are springing up in stylish homes.

The value of adding mid-century modern antiques to your decor

What mid-century modern antiques should you collect for your home?Of course, first and foremost is what you like.Regardless of the “value” of the mid-century modern antique, the piece is only valuable in your home if you love it.However, there are certain items you may want to keep an eye out for, both as beautiful vintage décor items and assets for your home’s portfolio:

·The Givens:Any discussion of mid-century modern would not be complete without the names of Eames and Herman Miller.These antique furniture pieces can sell from $5,000 to $25,000 and are in high demand. The George Nelson coconut chair pictured below by Herman Miller is valued at $5000 by Treadway Gallery.

Herman Miller George Nelson Coconut Chair mid-century modern

·The Runner-up:Knoll’s antique furniture from the mid-century modern era has also gained popularity, with its contemporary and sleek lines.Eero Saarinen pieces designed for Knoll are particularly popular, especially the “Grasshopper” lounge chair, the “Womb” series of chairs, settees, and ottomans, as well as the “Tulip” / “Pedestal” furniture series.These pieces also range from the hundreds into the thousands.For example, the pair of Grasshopper chairs below is estimated by Treadway to be $1800 – $2000.

Eero Saarinen grasshopper chairs mid-century modern antique furniture

·The Collectibles:George Nelson’s starburst clocks are highly sought after antique collectibles and the more dramatic the starburst, the better.These vintage clocks are typically worth hundreds to thousands of dollars.

·The Unknowns: The high demand of the “luxury” mid-century diminishes the likelihood that you will stumble upon these pieces at your local flea market.However, even the “no-name” mid-century modern pieces are a good investment.Given the tremendous popularity of the entire mid-century modern movement, all excellent condition antique furnishings and collectibles of this era will have high demand.Look for clean lines, subtle curves, utilitarian fabrics, contemporary styling, and an emphasis on what you love!

Mid century modern antique furniture

Ready for more eye candy inspiration? Straight from the Bible of mid-century modern decor (just kidding…), these images are from the 1956 Better Homes and Garden, and if you crave more, view this flickr set.

Mid century modern antique furniture

Mid century modern antique furniture

Mid century modern antique furniture

Mid century modern antique furniture

This lovely example of a mixture of mid-century modern by flickr’s clickedy-click shows that we can all live in harmony, regardless of our colors :) From what I can gather, this photo was taken in Cuba, which has (luckily or unluckily – depending on who you talk to) been kept in a time warp of mid-century modern decor.

Mid century modern antique furniture

This modern day interpretation of mid-century modern by flickr’s Fifilynn is just stunning. I simply love the mixture of old and new, and although her womb chairs are reproductions, the entire aura of her home exudes effortless mid-century modern.

Mid century modern furniture

And as another fabulous perk, when you buy vintage decor and antique furniture, you are helping to save the earth. Thus, not only does your interior design look chic and unique, but you also grow your assets and help the environment! What else could you ask for in antique furniture? If you have a mid-century modern inspired home or nook, send us an email to – we’d love to see your beautiful home and feature your chic design sense that saves the earth at the same time!

P.S.  For more inspiration, visit the Australia antiques blog by

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  2. Pat

    I have a mid century modern couch that folds out into a sofa bed and two arm chairs that match. I am interested in haviang these appraised. Do you know where I could do that?

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  7. Baroque might definitely be better to look at, but nothing beats an Aeron for comfort. Can sacrifice that.

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  12. The last picture shows two chairs (glass like) are awesome. I think I got to grab those. A space-like ambiance.

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    @Tessa: Thank g-d you and your boyfriend missed out on the Eames Chairs. You are way too scummy than the non English Mexicans who bought them. Stay classy!

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  21. Cattermole

    Yes, we are bringing back bingo! This amazing antique bingo set features a steel wire cage, printed wooden balls, and instantaneous fun! Friend aged 8 to 80 will appreciate the natural excitement tumbling wooden balls create – especially when you hedge bets that give up first-born sons :) directory

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