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Express Your Unique Style with Mid Century Modern Wall Art

If you're a fan of the midcentury modern style, then you know how far-reaching its influence was. Just like furniture and home decor designers, artists during this period were busy creating passionate, groundbreaking works. Just like designers, they sought to express modern life in the simplest and most beautiful way possible. With bright colors and clean graphic lines, the art made during this time was full of vibrant energy. It's the perfect choice to decorate your home.

Today we'll look at three ways to incorporate wall art with a funky look into your space according your personal style. The three virtual interiors I've designed will each appeal to different people, but they are all neutral enough to work in most modern homes. For each style of artwork, I've included retro furniture and decor that's appropriate for the time period we are referencing, but kept the overall look simple and uncluttered. This artwork has wide appeal and is easy to coordinate with mid century furnishings. Which of the following pictures best describes your style?

Your Style is: Bold

Go for Large Abstract Expressionist Paintings

If your personality is larger than life, or you're a sensitive soul who likes to examine your emotions, abstract expressionism will appeal to you. Also known as "Action Painting", this art movement began in the U.S. in the mid-1940s and became popular around the world. Could you picture the large colorful prints in this virtual interior in your midcentury living room?

Colorful abstract prints, a round white pendant lamp, a wooden credenza, and a graphic area rug

The mid century wall art I chose for this room is in the form of two prints. These are reproductions of paintings made during this time period. This is a great example of how to frame prints so that they have the same impact as costlier original oil paintings. Properly framed on white paper, with simple black frames, these prints are elegant and beautiful.

This room balances the wild artwork with very calm and restrained decor elsewhere in the room. Warm off-white wall paint keeps things from looking too sterile. Wooden parquet floors are simple and time-period-appropriate.

The large colorful area rug is the exception here- it picks up the crazy colors in the artwork and mirrors them, creating balance and continuity. Plus, this rug is just plain fun to look at!

Your Style is: Nostalgic

Choose Retro Graphic Prints

If you love the graphic patterns and simple colors, consider some subtle printed wallpaper. This bedroom design aims to soften the bold line work of the wallpaper pattern with a bright and open atmosphere of relaxation. This room may be small but it has a beautiful flow. The large mirror helps to open up the space by reflecting natural light from the window. Its curved wooden frame is simple and perfectly matched with the style of the wall print.

An attic bedroom with a large mirror, funky blue and yellow wallpaper, and a light wooden dresser

Pale yellow in the wall print is matched by the light wood finish of the dresser drawers and cream colored carpet. Simple white and yellow flowers add a romantic touch in keeping with the naïve style and color palette of this room. Crisp white linens and walls are important to balance a delicate color palette such as this one. A thick white baseboard trim continues onto the feature wall, framing the wallpaper print like a prized work of art.

Your Style is: Eclectic

Start a Collection of Art Prints

If you're a fan of many different styles of mid century wall decor and can't pick just one, why not put your eclectic tastes on display with a well-organized collection? I chose a variety of different artists and styles from this time period to decorate this room. From line drawings, to pop art, to illustration, and photography, there's something here for everyone.

Light gray walls, a grouping of framed prints, a wooden side table, and a white armchair

The key to making a complex assortment of images work together is to frame them properly and simply. Art like this doesn't benefit from an ornate gilded frame that would suit a renaissance painting, so stick to simple, thin frames you would have seen in 1950s art galleries. Always mount the art on archival paper and UV treated glass to help preserve it. Finally, include a large white or off-white border to give the piece room to breathe. Bold colors and lines such as these work best when they're surrounded by white space providing a rest for the eye.

The mosaic of colors in the large, soft area rug in this living room compliment the busy range of colors in the art collection. This rug has a patchwork quality and a chevron print which was very popular in the early 1960s, and muted colors which don't steal the show from the wall art. The funky wooden credenza has an authentic Scandinavian design. It's the perfect anchor beneath this exciting grouping of prints.