Design has a way of building upon itself or taking influences from the past. When looking at exactly what Mid-Century Modern is there are a couple of key points that you can look for.
One of the defining characteristics of Mid-Century Modern are the clean lines that you see. Unlike before the 1950s designers of this era embraced sleek, uncluttered, clean lines. Designers such as Charles Eames, Euro Saarinen, Anne Jacobsen, and Miles van der Rone are wonderful examples of Mid-Century Modern designers.
Teak, teak, and more teak
With the new introduction of man-made materials, such as fiberglass, teak was also quite prevalent in the 1950s Mid-Century Modern movement. It was the perfect compliment to the Danish influence and the need for a warm and hospitable environment after WWII. It also complemented the wonderful colors and textures that were popping up at this time as well.
As a way of defining "out with the old and in with the new" the Mid-Century Modern movement saw with it an explosion of color. You will also see white used quite prevalently as well. White was a great color being used as a way to anchor a room and was almost always seen in clean, sleek pieces.
Cutting Edge Materials
One of the things that turned designed on its head in the 1950s was the use of man-made materials. From the use of fiberglass, plastic, Plexiglass, Bakelite, and Lucite (just to name a few) these materials were being used in new and exciting ways.
Mid-Century Modern design in still quite prevalent today and influence a lot of design that we see around us. To this day collectors are still paying top dollar for authentic Mid-Century Modern pieces because of their beauty and influence to our culture.