Mid-Century Modern Desks

New, Vintage and Antique Mid-Century Modern Desks


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Mid-Century Modern Desks


The secret to living your best life? Outfitting your WFH headquarters in a fabulous Mid-Century Modern desk, of course. As far as vintage desks go, few are as coveted or as frequently emulated as the Mid-Century Modern desk. These mod-era treasures come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from sleek and sublimely sculptural executive desks to neat, foldable Danish-designed feats.

If you’re in the market for a Mid-Century Modern desk, chances are you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of inventory. Curious where to start and what search terms to plug-in? Wondering if “Mid-Century Modern desk by Milo Baughman” is the best way to discover a MCM executive desk? Or if “Mid-Century Modern desk by Arne Vodder” or “MCM Peter Lovig” is the best track to hunting down a Mid-Century fold-out desk? To help, we’re highlighting some of the most common styles of Mid-Century Modern desks, and giving you all of the hard-hitting keywords and maker names to equip yourself with!

Mid-Century Modern Executive Desks

Looking for a dynamo design element? You can’t do much better than a Mid-Century Modern executive desk. A category generally consisting of oversized wood desks, Mid-Century Modern desks are ideal for anyone looking to lend serious clout to an at-home office. If you’re looking for a tanker-style desk with two banks of drawers on either side, try plugging in maker names like Harvey Probber, Paul McCobb, or Edward Wormley. Whether you’re looking for a standard executive-style desk or an L-shaped Mid-Century executive desk, all of these designers worked extensively in the style. T. H. Robsjohn Gibbins was known for making some of the most avant-garde executive desks in the day, including ones with biomorphic or surfboard-shaped tops. All of that said, the poster child for MCM executive desks may be Herman Miller Mid-Century Modern desks. Designers like Peter Protzman and George Nelson designed epic styles for the brand featuring luxury materials like zebrawood and leather.

Mid-Century Modern Campaign Desks

Campaign style originated many centuries before the mid 20th century, but it experienced a redux in popularity during the 1950s and 60s. The simple nature of campaign design spoke to Mid-Century designers’ penchant for minimalism and made it a go-to for makers ranging from Tommi Parzinger to Drexel. Oftentimes, Mid-Century Modern campaign desks fuse more ornate elements of Hollywood Regency with the classic campaign style. If you’re hot on the trail of a Hollywood Regency campaign desk, try your luck with search terms like “lacquered mid-century modern campaign desk” or “regency mid-century modern desk." You can also do a search into campaign desks with Asian-inspired details. Looking for a Mid-Century Modern campaign desk of the simplest variety, without all the bells and whistles? Try searching “Bernhardt campaign desk.” The century-old, North Carolina-based company was an avid proponent of simple, classic campaign desks in the mid 20th century.

Danish Mid-Century Modern Desks

Danish Modern desks are often labeled “Mid-Century Modern desks,” though they can stand in a category all of their own. These simple, durable desks are typically crafted of teak wood, although other woods such as birch were used from time to time. Danish Modern desks are perhaps most notable for their compactness and efficiency. Many are prime examples of Mid-Century fold-out desks. Anyone on the hunt for a Mid-Century Modern secretary desk or roll top desk is likely thinking of a Danish Modern desk. If you’re among those who are enchanted by Danish Modern desks, but you’re looking to narrow down results, try searching Arne Vodder for simple tanker desk styles, Jens Risom for bulkier, more executive styles, Peter Lovig for flip-top or partner desks, and Borge Mogensen for Mid-Century fold-out desks, secretaries, or tambour style desks. Last but not least, if you’re looking for a more affordable not-so-vintage model, try searching for gently used West Elm Mid-Century mini desks. Many of these styles pull inspiration from the masters listed above.

Mid-Century Modern Parsons Desk

Easily definable by its quadrilateral construction and perfectly flush corners, the Parsons desk was another hallmark of the mid 20th century. Designers like Milo Baughman and Karl Springer enthusiastically adopted the silhouette in the 1970s, turning out simple desks covered in extraordinary materials like brass, burl wood, lacquer, laminate tortoiseshell, Lucite, goatskin, and more. The simple construction allowed specimen materials to shine. Those on the hunt for simple Mid-Century desks that could double as a dining table or console table would be remiss not to consider factoring Parsons desks into their search. Today, the Parsons desk has also been drafted for reinvention by retailers like West Elm, Room & Board, and Crate and Barrel, who have adopted the form for mini desks that are perfect for adding function to apartments and other small spaces.