How to use mid-century Remploy furniture in a modern interior

If you want to get a mid-century feel in your home but don’t want to compromise on the flexibility that contemporary design provides, choosing vintage furniture made by Remploy could be the answer…

I love a bit of teak – but I admit that it’s not for everyone. Nonetheless, mid-century design is certainly a must-have for hipsters today, and Pinterest is full of photos of retro teak furniture and battered industrial pieces in sleek, modern, minimalist homes. So today’s blog post is all about mid-century manufacturer Remploy and the design they created that have stood the test of time.

I have a Remploy coffee table myself. It’s a piece of furniture that I was given by my in-laws when they moved house recently. I wasn’t particularly sure that I wanted it but I remembered that the coffee table came in very handy at family parties, so I decided to try it out in my home.

You see, the coffee table has a sliding top that expands to become 50% bigger when you’ve got extra guests in your home. And that kind of multi-purpose flexibility is a feature of many pieces of furniture constructed by Remploy in the 20th century. Space-saving drop leaf tables, bedside tables with storage and movable furniture on wheels were all designs manufactured by Remploy.

The furniture that Remploy manufactured in the 50s was utilitarian to say the least – certainly a case of function over form. In fact, they were commissioned to create military supplies by the 60s and 70s, including lockers and bedside tables for the barracks. Practical and basic. But those simple designs and classic wood finishes mean that they still fit into contemporary homes today, and have a rather minimalist look.

This bedside table is one of the MOD pieces and is owned by Vintage Mischief

If, on the other hand, you’re after a more industrial, loft-apartment vibe, Remploy is also the mid-century brand to search for. This photo from Scaramanga below shows just how cool old Remploy furniture can look in the right setting. Metal chairs were made in their 100s by Remploy, for schools and village halls, and they were super-sturdy so it’s no wonder that many of them have survived and you can still buy them today.

I wrote about Remploy as last month’s Design Icon in Reclaim magazine so check out Issue 37 for even more information on this mid-century manufacturer, including how to spot an original Remploy piece.

So, if you’re looking for a functional piece of furniture that does much more that it appears at first glance, take a chance on Remploy. A quick search online or a rummage through a retro shop will turn up plenty of original examples and you might just find the ideal mid-century piece for your home.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve got any retro Remploy furniture in your home and what you love about it 🙂


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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