As a stager/realtor I’ve seen or recreated a lot of design styles. One style that is re-emerging right now is postmodernism. Think bigger, bolder, color, and texture. This is a style that I’ve just dipped my toe in a bit, because done true to form it’s unapologetic and not for the faint of heart. 

I’m inspired to write about this because I’m meeting with design-forward clients and seeing what can only be defined as postmodern design elements popping up. Really bold saturated colors orange, hot pink, and yellow, artwork that challenges one’s perception with funny but strong imagery, unexpected shapes and layers of movement and texture like wiggly lines and fur. 

Postmodernism is late 20th century and it is a departure from modernism.  

I learn a lot from the ignorance of others and, yes, of course, especially my own.  My superpower as a designer is realizing how much I have to learn.  My journey in finding and sourcing furniture for spaces has been part and parcel with learning the history of furniture and design.  I very much enjoy this part of my journey, after all my bachelor’s degree is in art history, which unfortunately didn’t include interior design.  So my interior design education is on-the-job!

A few years back, I was meeting with a listing agent and her seller client to quote a stage job.  The seller, a lovely woman with a fabulous true mid-century home to sell in the best part of Charlotte, kept intermingling the terms mid-century and postmodern.  

This is a good time to give some definition to ” Mid-Century. ” This term gets bandied around a lot and oftentimes a bit incorrectly.  In general, mid-century is just an indication of the time frame in the middle of the 20th century, this is arguable too, but we can all agree the middle of a century is the 50’s, right? Now how far do we stretch the middle? Well, let’s give it, very generously, to 1970.  So anything regarding design and style i.e. art, furniture, interior design, architecture, clothing, etc. is indicative of that era and hence would be defined as from the middle of the century. Realizing, of course, that style and design are never in a vacuum and have many aspects simultaneously.  The iconic MCM design that is referred to now is mid-century modernism. Think minimal, clean lines, peg legs, and atomic shapes. 

Postmodern is almost making fun of minimalism and goes big and whimsical and shapely, takes up space, and demands your attention with color and texture.  

Modern art collage. Concept portrait of a man holding mobile smartphone using app texting sms message. Gypsum head of of Apollo. Thug life.

So I had some idea of the two eras of style that the seller was referring to but was confused because they were sooo very different and suspected she might have meant mid-century modern.  Before I embarrassed myself or the client, I came home and researched.  We went with a mid-century modern style for this client’s house, but the post-modernism stuck in my brain.  Just like history repeating itself; We have been locked in a modern tightly bound box and now want to burst forth, blossom like a huge bright flower.  

Postmodern is to modern what a well-tailored suit is to a drag queen’s sparkly gown with feathers, and personally, I love it!

You can add a touch of postmodern design to a room without going full bore or, shoot, go wild baby. Finding pieces that really cry out for attention in textures is so fun. One note about texture.  Texture can also be smooth. Ultra shiny smooth is a texture too. Glass, acrylic and high gloss paint all evoke post-modern design. 

modern interior with classic sofa (3d rendering image)

The best part about this style is you can put these pieces in traditional settings with traditional furniture. It is a fabulous look! 

I would love your thoughts on postmodernism, oh and send pics.  Did I mention? Postmodern design looks fabulous on film.