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There are a lot of great resources out there for Mid Mod design— but sometimes, you just want the best of the best. And that’s where we come in! We’ve looked all around for the best books on Mid Century Modern design and we’re ready to show you our essential picks.
These books cover the basics and beyond, and they’re the perfect addition to your collection whether you’re a design novice or Mid Mod savant.
At Atomic Ranch, we love to curate and share our favorite finds from across the web with you. Some of the products you’ll see on this page are affiliate links, which means we’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you!
2 of 7Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s
First on the list is the classic Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s by Cara Greenberg. This extensive guide from 1984 is credited with first putting the term “Mid Century Modern” on the books, and it celebrates the iconic designs of Mid Century furniture throughout its 176 pages. And we’re not the only ones who love it— upon its release, The New York Times said it “conveys the verve, imagination and pure zaniness of the period… This book is an entertaining addition to the current trend.” Purchase it here.Amazon
3 of 7From A to Eames: A Visual Guide to Mid Century Modern Design
If you’re looking for something that’s a little bit lighter, but still just as informative, check out From A to Eames: A Visual Guide to Mid Century Modern Design. Fun illustrations sit alongside helpful explanations about Mid Mod’s who’s-who and what’s-what. It’s the perfect book to sit atop your retro Lane coffee table. Get it here!Amazon
4 of 7A Field Guide to American Houses
A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia McAlester takes a broad look at the architecture of the home from the 17th century to the present day. Its pages are filled with informative diagrams and illustrations and it’s a great way to understand the architectural and cultural context out of which Mid Century Modern style developed. House Beautiful called it “a classic,” and Elle Decor proclaims it as the “go-to resource for architecture spotters.” Add it to your collection here.Amazon
5 of 7Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide
Though travel may be hard to do right now, it won’t be that way forever! And when the time comes to pack your bags and finally go somewhere, Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide should lead the way. The beautifully put together book has two editions— one for the East Coast and one for the West Coast, and each edition has over 250 must-see sights. Of the East Coast edition, ArchDaily says “it provides an introduction to the revelatory and inspiring charm of the East Coast’s Mid-Century Modern masterpieces.” Purchase it here.Phaidon
6 of 7Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age
Vital Forms: American Art and Design in the Atomic Age is the book companion to the Brooklyn Museum’s 2001 exhibition of the same name. The exhibition was one of the first comprehensive shows by a major museum that looked at Mid Century art and design. The book covers everything from advertising to commercial design to fine art, and Library Journal calls it a “thought-provoking and entertaining look back at a reactionary, but cautionary, period in American art and culture.” Make it yours here.Amazon
7 of 7Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses
For a more worldwide look at MCM design, check out Atlas of Mid-Century Modern Houses by Dominic Bradbury. The sizable tome showcases 400 homes from around the globe from over 290 architects. It traces the history of the design movement from homes in places like Sri Lanka, Seattle, and of course, Palm Springs. Architectural Digest says it “might just be one of the most comprehensive books ever to be published on the subject.” See for yourself here.Phaidon