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9 Characteristics of a Mid Century Modern Front Door

Wednesday March 27th, 2024
The entry door is a key feature of mid century modern architecture. It reflects the unique style of the house right at the entrance. Mid century modern front doors stand out because they have unqiue traits that other doors don't, including: 

9 Characteristics of a Mid-Century Modern Front Door

  1. Clean Lines
  2. Geometric Patterns
  3. Natural Wood
  4. Pops of Color
  5. Asymmetry
  6. Window Cutouts
  7. Texture 
  8. Sidelights
  9. Pivot Doors
By understanding the key elements of a mid century modern door, you’ll be sure to choose the perfect door for your ranch or retro-style home. But in order to truly understand a mid century door, you need to know what mid century modern architecture is, including its history and notable characteristics. 

What is Mid Century Modern Style?

Mid century modern style arose with the optimism of post-war America in the 1940s. After World War II ended, the United States saw a new architectural style blossom that brought a focus to home life, family time, and connecting with the outdoors. There is also an undeniable level of creativity and artistic exploration in the mid century modern style. 

With the United States entering a new season of peace, there was more room to explore architecture. Many of these architects had learned from Frank Lloyd Wright, and started creating homes in new ways. They used futuristic ideas, bold shapes, and bright colors. This was a major change from the old colonial style homes, and brought a fresh look to houses and their decoration.

9 Characteristics of a Mid Century Modern Front Door 

Mid-century modern front doors are a key part of the style's charm, reflecting the unique features of the homes they belong to. Let's dive into nine traits that make these doors iconic in the world of design.

1. Clean Lines 

Clean lines are a major component of a mid century modern door. These lines oftentimes appear as symmetrical vertical or horizontal panels on a solid wood door or glass panel inserts. 

Sometimes, there is a thin vertical window running the length of the door that produces crisp lines, and other times it’s a series of horizontal rectangle windows adorning the door. 

The clean lines on the mid century modern exterior door are usually complemented by sidelights or a nearby structure with similar lines, such as a slat fence for privacy. 

A perfect example of clean lines while also capturing mid century modern design eloquently is the Guild Exterior Pivot Door

2. Geometric Patterns 

While traditional geometric shapes, such as rectangles and squares, are common in mid century modern doors, this flexible style allows you to think outside the box. Triangles, diamonds, and even circles fit perfectly within the parameters of mid century modern design. 

Think of a circular window on your front entry door. This simple door accessory adds a unique flare to your entryway and is wonderfully retro. Triangular window panels also add geometric depth to the door. 

Remember, mid century modern design is all about capturing the optimism of the era. Peculiar shapes, such as circles and triangles, automatically add an exciting and playful feel to the door style. 

If you like unique geometric shapes, think about creating a custom mid century modern door. Designing your own pattern lets you experience the role of a mid century designer and embrace the style's artistic side.

3. Natural Wood 

While mid century modern style can have a futuristic feel, much of the style is also about embracing natural elements and creating a seamless connection between the indoors and out. One of the ways this aspect is achieved is by adding wooden elements, such as a solid wood door.

In this case, the wood door is not painted, but stained to capture the wood’s natural color and grain patterns. Natural wood doors are especially common in mid century modern interior doors, while the font door may have a pop of color. 

Mid century modern homes that favor simplicity and minimalist design often use natural wood doors on both the interior and exterior. While you’ll often see mid century homes with front doors painted bright colors, it’s just as common to see a mid century modern exterior door that embraces the natural look. 

It all comes down to what elements of this style resonate with you and what you want to add to your home. 

4. Pops of Color 

There are two types of mid century modern front doors—the ones that embrace natural wood as described above, and the ones that bring a pop of color to the entryway. 

One of the easiest ways to capture the mid century modern style is to paint your front door a bright color. Traditionally, mid century modern design favored yellow, orange, and blue for front door colors, but you can choose any bright color that matches your design goals. 

Oftentimes, another item in the front yard or on the porch, such as a mailbox, planter pots, or a wooden fence with slats, will have the same color as the door.

Don’t be afraid to go bold, but keep the pop of color limited—you don’t want too many colorful elements. The key to capturing the mid century modern style is to mix a splash of bright color with muted or neutral earth tones.

5. Asymmetry 

Asymmetry is a notable mid century modern design element, especially because symmetry was highly favored before this style arrived. You’ll commonly see this element in roof lines, the home’s architectural design, and interior decorations. 

While doors are naturally symmetrical, you can highlight asymmetry by adding a slim, vertical window off-center, close to the hinges or handle instead of the middle

An off-center vertical window adds a touch of the asymmetrical lines and shapes mid century modern style is so well known for. Rustica’s Charm Exterior Pivot Door is a perfect example of this. 

6. Window Cutouts

Considering that one of the foundational aspects of the mid century modern style is a connection to nature, it makes sense that there’s a focus on large windows. The same goes for a mid century modern exterior door. 
Large window cutouts on the front door allow for a seamless connection between the indoors and out, which is what this style focuses on. 

Front door glass inserts bring in natural light and uplifting golden sunbeams. These elements tie into the style’s optimism and playful essence. After all, what’s more uplifting than sunshine? 

7. Texture 

Part of the reason mid century modern style focuses on natural materials is because of the innate texture these materials have. Texture adds depth and character to a home—including the front door. 

You can add textural depth to your mid century modern entryway by choosing a solid wood front door. Stain it a clear glaze if you want the door’s texture to shine through. 

If you’re designing a custom door through Rustica, you can choose your own style elements, such as our “weathered” or “distressed” texture to add a more rustic feel. 

8. Sidelights 

Just like with window cutouts, sidelights are ideal for capturing natural light and illuminating your space with warm sunshine. Sidelights are fixed vertical windows on one or both sides of the front door. 

Sidelights aren't just for mid-century modern style—they let you see who's at the door before you open it. Window cutouts in the door serve the same helpful function.

Choosing stained glass inserts for your sidelights pays tribute to classic architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Piet Mondrian. This touch can also enhance your home’s appearance from the street and add elegance to your mid century modern design.

9. Pivot Doors

The appeal of mid century modern design has stood the test of time—it’s just as popular now as it was during its prime. However, the style has continued to evolve with the times. Now, modern features blend fluidly with the traditional style. 

A perfect example of modern flair mixing with mid century modern style is pivot doors. These contemporary doors are ideal for large openings that need to accommodate a heavy door. Rather than operating on hinges connected to the door frame, pivot doors rotate on a spindle affixed to the top and bottom of the door frame. 

Pivot doors offer smooth operation, structural strength, and modern aesthetics. They are a great addition to large entryways and stunning mid century modern homes. 

Rustica’s Mid Century Modern Doors 

If you're searching for the ideal mid century modern door, check out these handcrafted options that capture the style's essence. Rustica provides a diverse selection of interior, exterior, and pivot doors to consider: 
  1. Whittamore Front Door 
  2. Midland Front Door 
  3. Pioneer Front Door
  4. Regal Front Door 
  5. East Bench Front Door 
  6. Highland Front Door 
  7. Metal 5 Panel Exterior Door 
  8. 5 Panel Interior Door 
  9. Metal 5 Panel Interior Door
  10. Charm Exterior Pivot Door
  11. Spark Exterior Pivot Door
  12. Guild Exterior Pivot Door
  13. 7 Panel Exterior Pivot Door
  14. Modernistic Exterior Pivot Door 
  15. East Bench Exterior Pivot Door 
  16. Highland Exterior Pivot Door 
  17. Regal Exterior Pivot Door
  18. Pioneer Exterior Pivot Door
  19. Midland Exterior Pivot Door 
  20. Hillside Exterior Pivot Door

Can a Mid Century Modern Front Door Be Customized? 

Yes, it can! When designing a mid century modern door through Rustica, you’ll have access to a variety of customization options to make your door uniquely yours. Our customization options include functional aspects such as height, width, and door thickness, as well as aesthetic choices. For wood doors, you’ll choose your preferred wood species, including alder, cedar, birch, walnut, and more. From there, you’ll select a wood finish, such as a clear glaze or a bright paint color.

If you’re designing a metal door, you’ll choose your preferred metal—steel, stainless steel, or aluminum—along with your desired metal finish color. Our metal finishes range from flat black to barn red to clear coat raw steel. 

The glass panels on our doors are also fully customizable. You can opt for traditional clear glass or one of our textured glass options such as frosted or fluted glass. 

After you select your aesthetic touches, you’ll be able to add even more custom details, such as door knob boring placement, hinge prep, hardware, door handling, and more. You can even add a pet door if you desire. 

The Doors That Defined a Century and Beyond

Whether you live in a mid century modern style house or you just love the style, one of the best ways to incorporate the look into your home is through the front door. Front doors are a major focal point for this style, so they’re the best place to start if you feel the need to spruce up your mid century modern design. 

With Rustica’s line of mid century modern front doors, you’ll be sure to find one that perfectly matches your style. So, if you’re ready to make your design dreams a reality, start designing a custom mid century front door with Rustica today! 

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