Ultimate Guide to Mid-Century Modern Home Design

Posh Pennies
by Posh Pennies

The mid-century modern home design style emerged in the middle of the 20th century and is one of the most popular design styles in the world.

It was a movement that brought modernity to the masses and even after 70 years, continues to inspire designers to this day. So let’s learn more about this design style and explore mid-century design ideas that you can incorporate into your own home.

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Mid-century modern in interior design

What is mid-century modern in interior design?

Mid-century interior design introduced a completely new and radical way of creating living spaces, promoting functional, open, and uncluttered interiors.

Mid-century design

But mid-century design is also much more than just a decorating style. It represents breaking free from the oppression of world wars, rejecting stuffy traditions, and embracing new and modern ways of life.

Scandinavian design and American mid-century modern

Scandinavian design and American mid-century modern are very similar because they developed at the same time, so the designers heavily influenced each other.

Timeless mid-century modern design

True mid-century modern designs are timeless, which explains why so many pieces that were designed over 70 years ago today are still wildly popular and continue to be manufactured and sold.

Clean lines, simple shapes, and organic elements

The mid-century modern design style is characterized by clean lines, simple shapes, the use of new materials, and organic elements. Because mid-century is very much about functionality, there are little to no embellishments to be found.

Designs were not only meant to be practical and long-lasting, they were also sculptural and beautiful to look at. It was truly the perfect marriage between form and function.

Mid-century modern sofa with tapered legs

Mid-century modern sofas

Sofas have clean, sleek, straight lines and are often elevated off the ground with tapered legs.

Tufted back mid-century modern sofa

The overall shape is usually pretty rectangular.

Tight back mid-century modern sofa

Common back styles include tight backs and tufted backs.

Softer throw pillows

You can make this type of sofa a little bit more cozy by using throw pillows to soften.

Mid-century modern chair style

Mid-century modern chairs

Chairs have many of the same characteristics that we mentioned for the sofas.

Mid-century modern chair with organic curves

But you'll see more of those organic curves introduced.

Mid-century modern with angled, tapered legs

Mid-century modern tables

Mid-century furniture often has angled legs or tapered peg legs.

Mid-century modern table with brass-cap legs

Sometimes they have brass caps.

Mid-century modern table with hairpin legs

Other times, they have hairpin legs.

Mid-century modern chair

Mid-century modern materials

Solid wood is popular, but combinations like wooden marble, wooden glass, glossy plastic, and metal are all common mid-century looks.

Smaller furniture items with a mid-century modern design

If you don't want to invest in larger pieces of furniture, there are some smaller decor items that you can incorporate into your space to get the mid-century modern vibe.

Mid-century modern color palette

Mid-century modern color palette

Popular mid-century colors include tones like yellow gold, pumpkin orange, mustard, a variety of greens, like apple, olive, and avocado, warm reds, earthy browns, teal, and even some pastels, like light pink and baby blue.

Mid-century modern design with a mix of materials and colors

If you're not into the citrusy color pops, then try combining wood mid-century-shaped furniture with colors and materials like leather, brass accents, soft greens, tans, and whites for an earthy mid-century-inspired room.

Mid-century modern dining area with a pop of blue

If you're feeling daring, create a neutral base and integrate the mid-century look into your home through a bright pop of color.

Mid-century modern design with jewel tones

If you want to use a mix of traditional mid-century colors in your room, but still keep things contemporary, another option is to keep to the jewel tones.

Wood in mid-century modern design

Mid-century modern wood

Wood is a common element in mid-century modern design and it often functioned as a backdrop for the bold pops of color.

Mix of Scandinavian and mid-century modern design

The use of wood accents in mid-century home decor comes from the Scandinavian influence and their love for natural materials.

Sleek wood furniture pieces

While the Scandis kept things a little more rustic and natural, mid-century designs like to combine materials like plastic and wood or metal and wood.

Wishbone chair

Iconic mid-century design

Now I want to show you a few iconic mid-century design pieces.

Eames lounge and ottoman

I'm sure you're familiar with a ton of these, but I think it's just interesting to see how these pieces were designed 60-70 years ago and they're still so incredibly popular to this day.

Noguchi table

Where to buy mid-century furniture

Like always, Amazon has a really good selection of mid-century style pieces.

Diamond chair

For the higher-end budget people, I would look at West Elm, Rejuvenation, and Design Within Reach.

Tulip table

For mid-range budgets, I would look at Article, CB2, Wayfair, and AllModern.

Nelson bubble lamp

For lower budgets, I would recommend IKEA and also Target.

Eames molded plastic chairs

If you want to get actual vintage pieces on a budget then, of course, look at your local thrift stores and go to estate sales and flea markets.

Womb chair

There is still a pretty good selection of mid-century stuff in the secondhand scene, so I would definitely recommend scouring secondhand shops for original pieces.

Mid-century design ideas

If you're looking for some specific ways to bring the mid-century style into your home, here are a few ideas to get you going.

1. Use a bold accent piece

Instead of decking out your whole room, get one piece and make it a focal point in the room.

2. Update your lighting fixtures

Lighting can be a massive statement in a room, so for a big impact, you could try to acquire a mid-century style pendant light or floor lamp and incorporate that into your space.

3. Create a wood accent wall

Wood was very big in mid-century homes, so you could make a mid-tone to dark-tone wood panel wall in one of your rooms.

4. Add a bold graphic piece of art

Whether you make it yourself or buy it is up to you. There are a lot of options out there.

5. Incorporate geometric elements

Mid-century designs are known for their geometric forms, which often repeat themselves into patterns. So you could try incorporating that into some of your decor.

6. Remove your window treatments

Mid-century homes were huge on using big picture windows and glass, allowing a lot of light to spill into the home. So if you have big picture windows, you could try removing your drapes or blinds to let all the light in.

Mid-century modern home design

I really hope you found all of this information on mid-century modern home design useful and interesting. It just goes to show how traditional elements from the past often become classic features over time, being brought back in new and exciting ways by designers.

What do you think about mid-century design? Share your likes and dislikes in the comments section that follows.

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