The Best MidCentury Modern Chairs [November 2019]

If you’ve browsed an Ikea then you’re familiar with the charming allure of midcentury modern furniture.

Designed with an emphasis on simplicity and efficiency yet remarkably appealing to the eye, midcentury modern is a favorite style of collectors, homeowners and design connoisseurs everywhere.

Indeed the most iconic of all mid century pieces is the chair.

The Eames Lounge chair is often used as the visual definition of mid century modernism.

Below I’m going to show you my five favorite mid century chairs, and I’ll also show you where to find them.

Ready? Let’s go!

Best Mid Century Modern Chairs

And a little about what makes each special…

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Living Room Chairs

Living Room Chairs

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from Wayfair $349.99

An accent chair is more than just an extra seat when you need it most — it’s also a stylish touch that goes a long way toward complementing your living room’ s style…


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Bar Furniture

Bar Furniture

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from Wayfair $137.99

This collection blends mid-century modern and industrial modern styles with current design trends to create timeless pieces that will seamlessly compliment any decor…


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Bar Furniture

Bar Furniture

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from Wayfair $119.99

This collection blends mid-century modern and industrial modern styles with current design trends to create timeless pieces that will seamlessly compliment any decor…


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Dining Chairs

Dining Chairs

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Stilnovo from Wayfair $117.99

The Mid-Century Eiffel dining chair features a clean, simple form sculpted in one piece out of durable beige polypropylene…


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Living Room Chairs

Living Room Chairs

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from Wayfair $232.99

Relax in mid-century modern style with this manual recliner…


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Bar Furniture

Bar Furniture

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Jaren from Wayfair $156.99

Features: Rope chairs are staples in any seasonal entertaining arsenal…


Research / Frequent Questions

Where To Find Vintage Mid Century Modern Chairs?

Looking for some original mid century chairs? They’re not hard to find.

There are a ton of websites and brick-and-mortar retail shops that specialize in mid century furniture.

You may have to spend some time browsing, but it shouldn’t take too long for you to find the chair of your dreams.

We recommend checking out the following 3 sites…

1. eBay

eBay is the holy grail of vintage furniture.

It really is.

It’s usually the first place collectors go when they want to sell off some of their best pieces.

Plus, most of the big auction houses have an account, so you’ll see big auctions take place periodically there.

Of course, the turnover rate is FAST on eBay.

So, if you see something you like, you may have to purchase it now before someone else scoops it up.

On top of that, you might have to pay a bit more than the listed price if someone else outbids you.

Visit Ebay on the Web

2. Chairish

Chairish is another favorite among mid century furniture connoisseurs.

Collectors from all over the world buy and sell pieces on the site.

The prices run a little steep because all of the pieces are authentic.

Vintage furniture is an investment, after all.

But, if you’re really looking to build a collection of mid century modern chairs, this is the place to go.

Go to Chairish.com

3. Furnish Me Vintage

This is the online store of a vintage furniture store in St.

Petersburg, Florida.

They have an excellent collection, with new stuff showing up all the time.

FurnishMeVintage offers free shipping on many items.

It’s a great store to browse if you’re looking for some mid century chairs.

See Furnish Me Vintage’s Website

Where To Find Reproduction Mid Century Modern Chairs?

Authentic mid century modern furniture can be pretty expensive.

These are antique items, after all.

So, if you’re a fan of the style but can’t afford the prices, you may want to consider buying reproductions.

Some connoisseurs might turn up their nose to the idea of buying a reproduction, but it doesn’t bother us.

What’s wrong with having stylish furniture and getting it at a quarter of the price? There are a few stores that sell amazing reproductions.

1. West Elm

This store specializes in making mid century-inspired furniture.

They’ve got chairs, tables, sofas, and anything else you might need.

Their prices can run a little high for reproductions.

However, because their furniture is mass-produced, you don’t have to worry about losing out to a higher bidder.

Rove Concepts: This furniture boutique has tons of amazing mid century-style stuff.

We love this store for its unique designs.

Their furniture is relatively inexpensive (particularly during sale season), but they also offer financing so you can pay for it over time.

Visit West Elm’s Website

2. Joybird

Like west elm, Joybird has a large selection of reproduction midcentury modern chairs.

Their stuff is also produced in mass quantities.

They have regular sales, so it’s not hard to find something amazing at a decent price.

Visit Joybird’s Website

3. Rove Concepts

This furniture boutique has tons of amazing mid century-style stuff.

We love this store for its unique designs.

Their furniture is relatively inexpensive (particularly during sale season), but they also offer financing so you can pay for it over time.

Rove Concepts

What Makes A Chair Mid Century Modern?

As you can tell from the name, mid-century modern was most popular during the time period between 1940 and 1970, having developed out of the modernist tradition.

Its practitioners, like Le Corbusier, George Nelson and the Eameses, all strove to design upscale furniture that the average person could afford.

They hoped that their chairs, tables and other pieces would meet the needs of the masses and thus designed their work with an emphasis on efficiency and functionality.

Although their work may seem tame today, mid-century designers were wildly experimental with the tools and materials available during their lifetime.

They saw the ability to use metal, glass, plastic and plywood as a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the language of design.

Because these materials were readily available and mass-produced, the designers found them to be the perfect staples in a movement centered around democratic design.

Mid Century Chairs Via The Spruce

Mid Century Chairs Via The Spruce

When looking at mid-century modern chairs, we find that these materials are used in the construction of two distinct styles.

On the one hand, we have chairs that are built to look handmade.

Although produced in factories, these chairs maintain the look of classically handcrafted furniture.

Instead of being intricately sanded over and detailed, however, this handmade look maintains the mid-century modernist aesthetic of simplicity, often combining only five or six pieces of wood to make an elegant piece of furniture.

Mid century chairs via Remodelaholic

Mid century chairs via Remodelaholic

On the other hand, many mid-century modern chairs are designed with a biomorphic quality to them.

While they are built from wood or metal, their aesthetic seems to refer to organic shapes found in nature or on the human body.

Similar to the mid-century chairs with a handmade look, these biomorphic pieces maintain an attention to the user.

It is no surprise the the style has persisted for so long.

How To Reupholster A Mid Century Modern Chair?

When you are reupholstering a mid century modern chair, you need to first take the chair apart. If there is a need, you will want to sand the wood and apply varnish or a protective coat.
You need to remove the old fabric and padding from the chair.
Starting with the bottom pad, ensure you have all the material and padding removed.
You will need to place some batting around the foam you use for your chair padding.
Using a pneumatic stapler, staple the new material to the refinished wood and that is how to reupholster.

How Do I Know If My Mid Century Chair Is Valuable?

When looking at mid century furniture, there are some dos and don’ts.
When you look for how the chair is made, check the joints. It will not be held together with glue. There is a technique that was used by designers that involved dowel rods and joints that are melded together.
Be familiar with the names associated with the makers of med century designers.
If a chair has five legs, you can know that it is authentic.
Also, make sure it is solid wood.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Teak And Walnut?

The surefire way to tell the difference between teak and walnut is the color. Teak will be more red and walnut will be more brown.

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