Posted on March 9, 2017 by Jorie Helms


If you’ve ever seen an episode of Mad Men, then you know that drinking policies, smoking habits and gender roles in the office place have evolved significantly throughout the last 50-60 years.

You might also realize that some things haven’t changed much at all, or they’ve made a huge comeback—namely, mid-century modern design.

Mid-century design elements abound in a multifamily project designed by Beasley &  Henley in Atlanta.

The resurgence of mid-century modern has been so popular for so long—the better part of two decades—it’s not much of a resurgence anymore, according to Stephanie Henley, principal of Beasley & Henley Interior Design.

“Most people don’t even recognize it anymore as mid-century modern. To them, it’s best described as simply ‘modern’ or ‘contemporary’ style,” said Henley, who also serves on NAHB’s Design Committee.

“Especially in the multifamily market and among millennials, there’s big demand for design that’s simple, unpretentious and, above all, functional.”

Some consumers even shy away from using the term “mid-century modern” altogether. One of Henley’s recent clients told her in an initial meeting that he hated mid-century modern, but went on to tell to her what he did like—essentially, he was describing several primary characteristics of 1950s and 60s design.

“When we finished the job, which featured a lot of visible wood grains with unembellished and authentic designs, he loved it,” Henley said. “We just knew not to call it mid-century modern.”

Smaller, ranch-style homes that became a staple for 1950s America are no longer in huge demand. However, several key elements of that era live on.

“As popular as it’s become, you won’t often see a new home done entirely with a mid-century design. But you can’t miss the large sliding glass doors, floor-to-ceiling windows, bright accent colors and rustic wood finishes that hearken back to the 1950s,” said Susan Bady, another member of NAHB’s Design Committee, and senior editor of Professional Builder.

“The designs from that period can be used in a variety of ways, and over the years, the best of those elements have endured.”

Much like these remarkable designs that have stood the test of time for several decades, NAHB is proudly celebrating its 75th anniversary. Since 1942, NAHB has continually played a critical role in serving its members to advance the home building industry.

Visit and take a look back at many other significant housing trends and milestones in American history.

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