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Mid Century Modern and Feng-Shui

Floor plan Better Homes and Gardens design book
Floor plan Better Homes and Gardens design book
Better Homes and Gardens Design book 1957

1950’s home designers never pictured a room designed around a TV much less a flat screen that hung on the wall. According to the Ladies Home Journal Book of Interior Decorating, “Television need never dominate a room but it must be available without a great shifting of furniture”. However, back then built in TV’s were quite common.

Traffic patterns were a central design feature in interior design in the 50’s. Most design books of the period emphasize how to get through a room and walk around furniture more than conversation groups. They thought about conversation groups, but not at the expense of good “flow”.

This sounds completely foreign in today’s design world….or does it? When pondering Feng Shui with the general desire to have a home clutter free and have the chi flow through the home. Isn’t this basically substituting air flow for a traffic pattern?

Feng Shui translates literally to "wind-water". Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement. The goal of Feng Shui is to achieve harmony, comfort, and balance, first in ones environment and then in one's life. ( ).

Traffic Patterns from Better Homes and Gardens

This picture shows what they termed in the 80’s as “spin art furniture” which is, essentially, furniture all arranged along the walls. But it definitely has a Feng Shui feeling to the air flow and the movement in the room. Clean clutter free design is also central to Feng Shui as well as 1950’s design. The other parallel between the 1950’s and Feng Shui is the use of Asian art in design. Clean lines along with cherry blossoms, floral prints, and other Asian motifs make the blending of these two design styles quite logical.

So, instead of dismissing 1950’s design style as passé, maybe it’s better to think about how it translates into the new Feng Shui ideals. The two may have more in common than you ever considered.

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