The aesthetic I am choosing for my project is mid century modern. According to Sara Lyon in a The Spruce article, this style can be characterized as “. . .simple, functional, and wooden . . .”[1]. This general statement does not set the guidlines, but highlights trends that were used in the style. Considered the first person to name the style, Cara Greenberg wrote in her book, Mid Century Modern Furniture of the 1950s, that the style also included new materials, a machined looked, and contradictorily – a handmade look [2].

Mid century modern living room, Jacob Snavely [3]

The reason I am choosing this aesthetic is because I like the small components of minimalism that are seen in the style. Combined with using various materials and a focus on functionality, in my eyes, mid century modern is more visually appealing.

For the project, I plan on making a picture frame with layers of wood and metal. The stack of materials will build up to create the depth of the frame as shown in the drawing below. I am hoping that this design will follow the mid century modern characteristics of using materials such as wood, metal, and glass; yet still remaining simple and functional. At the same time, I would like it to be aesthetically pleasing, but not too ornate, as that would contradict the style. This is the reason I decided to layer the materials depth-wise, so the layers would only be slightly visible from a front facing angle, rather than having it exposed to the front of the frame.

Picture frame drawing

For the materials, I plan on sourcing it from either my own extra material, campus scrap bins, Facebook marketplace, and/or Craigslist. The frame body will consist of wood and metal. The wood would ideally be a higher grade wood for appearance purposes. The type of wood is not a concern as I doubt I can tell the difference in a bin, but a high quality wood would be ideal. As for the metal, I would like to use brass or stainless steel, but the cost would be high. As an alternative, I could use metals such as steel or aluminum, as they can be more easily found second hand.

A concern for this project would be finding the glass sheet. The glass would need to sit perfectly behind the frame edge, so I would need a specific size sheet. However, the odds of finding the right glass and the right size are not that great, so I may need to cut it down to size. I have never attempted to cut glass, so that would be a new skill that I would have to learn. As an alternative, I can find a relatively appropriate sized glass sheet then build the frame around those dimensions.


[1] Lyon, Sarah. “What Is Midcentury Modern Style? Here’s What You Should Know”. The Spruce.
January 18 2024.


[2] Greenberg, Cara. “Mid Century Modern Furniture of the 1950s”. Harmony Books. 1984.


[3] getclever [@getclever]. Photo of Living Room. Instagram, photographed by Jacob Snavely, 21 May 2020,


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Grreshan Ramesh
    February 5, 2024 12:13 am

    Hi Kim , Your mid-century modern picture frame project, with its thoughtful blend of simplicity and functionality, is impressive. The use of layered wood and metal showcases a deep understanding of the style’s principles, while your resourcefulness in material sourcing is commendable. Considering the impact of different wood and metal combinations on the frame’s appearance and functionality could further enhance your design. Also, tackling the challenge of fitting the glass is ambitious. Exploring alternatives or methods to simplify this process might be beneficial. Your approach is creative and practical, reflecting both skill and dedication to the mid-century modern aesthetic. Keep up the great work!

  • Venkata Sanyasi Krishna Vidhan Rallapalli
    February 4, 2024 9:45 pm

    Hi, your exploration of the mid-century modern aesthetic is well-informed, with a clear understanding of the style’s characteristics and an ingenious project idea for a layered picture frame. How do you plan to address the potential challenges of sourcing the right-sized glass sheet for the picture frame, and what specific design elements will you incorporate to ensure the final product aligns seamlessly with the mid-century modern aesthetic?


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