Mid-Century Design Ideas

Mid-century modern style is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around for over 50 years! It came onto the scene after WWII, a practical and utilitarian style that matched the mindset of the time period. And, after the opulence of the 80s, it came back into vogue in the mid-90s. In the last decade, it has regained popularity once again. Now a mainstream design look, modern brands like West Elm and Article have become synonymous with mid-century design, producing furniture in the mid-century style, but made for the modern home.  Mid-century design is an uncluttered style that combines clean lines, gentle and organic curves, and a poppy and fun color palette. It has a “form follows function” approach—aka, functionality is key when it comes to furniture and layout.  With many iconic pieces as the cornerstones of this style’s catalog, mid-century modern is a very distinctive look that blends beautifully with other interior design styles. You could blend it with minimalism for a pared back and spare space. It mixes well with rustic for an even more comfortable and livable approach. Mixing it with industrial style gives you an “atomic industrial” vibe. And a dash of the eclectic takes all the best parts of mid-century design but gives your space the look of a collector who has designed a home over time. Honestly, there’s not many styles that mid-century modern can’t be mixed with. It’s very versatile. This is a perfect design style for those with a more minimalist aesthetic who tend to be a bit nostalgic, as mid-century design skews retro and is all about simplicity. A highly recognizable style, mid-century modern effortlessly blends comfort with modern lines. So, it’s approachable and livable, while still having a very stylized aesthetic. Mid-century modern furniture features sleek lines with geometric and organic forms, as well as minimal ornamentation. And you’ll also notice an interesting mix of traditional and non-traditional materials. While wood finishes are an absolute must in a mid-century space, you’ll also find glass-top tables, clear acrylic desks, and shiny white lacquer credenzas. These all help add that modern edge to mid-century design. When you think of mid-century furniture, you may think of some of those iconic designers from the 1950s—like Charles and Ray Eames, creator of the Eames Lounge Chair, the molded plywood chair, or the now-famous white molded plastic chairs. Or perhaps you think of Eero Saarinen’s tulip table, George Nelson’s pretzel chair, the Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, Herman Miller’s Noguchi coffee table, or Arne Jacobsen’s egg and ant chairs. All of these designers—and their furniture designs—have become synonymous with the mid-century modern design movement, and both originals and replicas of their designs remain popular today. However, authentic pieces by these designers are considered collectibles and are quite the investment. That’s why it’s so great that there are so many contemporary brands making similar designs at more affordable price points. You’ll notice that homes featuring mid-century modern design feature a whole range of color palettes—from neutral to bold. If you prefer a neutral color palette, go for whites and greys or browns, and make sure to work in plenty of natural materials, like teak, walnut, or birch woods, as well as leather and even some woven baskets or rugs. If you’re more of a bold-but-neutral person, consider a graphic black and white color palette. But if you love color, don’t hold back! Opt for furniture, decor, and paint in jewel tones, pastels, or even earth tones. You can really choose whatever color palette strikes your fancy, as long as you integrate it with the clean and modern lines of mid-century design. Ready to see this look come to life? Start scrolling. We’ve assembled all of our best mid-century modern rooms on this page, and all you have to do is scroll through to get inspired about all our favorite layouts, designs, color schemes, furniture, and decor. Enjoy!

Mid-century style by room

Trending mid-century styles

What's Black and White and Chic All Over?

What's Black and White and Chic All Over?

Looking for an easy way to add a little chic and modern style to your dining room? Consider working with high contrast colors and abstract art to give your space a modern and slightly edgy, (but still refined) vibe.

Space-Age Space Savers

Space-Age Space Savers

Mid-century-modern style is all about cleans lines and functional form, often possessing a futuristic vibe. The streamlined mid-century-modern furniture in this dining room opens up the tight space while giving it a slick space-race era cool.

Put Your Best Face (or Dishware), Forward

Put Your Best Face (or Dishware), Forward

If you have fine china, glassware, or other dining accouterments you'd like displayed, consider investing in a glass bar cabinet. The added storage will keep you organized, and the glass doors will add an air of chic polish to your space.

Spacious and Gracious

Spacious and Gracious

If you like entertaining, you probably want surface space for setting up a bar, buffet, or snack station for your guests. Adding a large console table to your dining area can help ensure you have the surface space for any event accouterments and enough storage to hide it all away when you're done.

Chic Fireside Conversation Area

Chic Fireside Conversation Area

A mix of warm neutrals and cool grays make this living room—conversation area, both chic and inviting. The contrast of the gray wall against the warm furniture pieces in the foreground help define the seating area and show off the interesting detail on the wall behind it.

Bold Color Moments

Bold Color Moments

Are you ready for a significant change in your space? Try incorporating jewel tones color palettes into your room. This will make a big impact, and the jewel tone trend appears to have staying power, so you'll get good mileage out of the change.

Small Wonders

Small Wonders

If you have a small dining room, keeping the decor on the minimal side can make your space feel bigger. Here, three minimally styled pieces with strong silhouettes add enough impact to the small dining corner space to keep it interesting without overwhelming the space.

Timelessness In Neutrals

Timelessness In Neutrals

Neutral tones in this living room provide a calming space that can easily be livened up for holiday gatherings by just switching out the pillows! The large Florence Table Lamps by Jamie Young provide ample light for reading and entertaining with a mid-century flair. The leather and exposed wood accent chairs add a sculptural element to the living room.

Mid-Century-Modern & Magnificent

Mid-Century-Modern & Magnificent

If you're a fan of Mid-Century-Modern design, this dining space is for you, filled with the design style's hallmarks such as a tulip dining table, wishbone chairs, and a sputnik chandelier, this room is swimming in groovy Mad Men era style.

Feminine-Chic Mid-Century Living Room

Feminine-Chic Mid-Century Living Room

This Mid-Century Modern Living Room has a chic feminine vibe that is sure to impress guests! The blue velvet sofa makes a big statement in the space along with the bold jewel tone artwork and area rug. To add to the chic vibe, a touch of sparkle with metals is included in the coffee table, floor lamp and chandelier. 

Moody, Modern, and Manageable

Moody, Modern, and Manageable

One of the great things about mid-century-modern design, like the furniture in this dining room, is that it's both stylish and easy to care for. Mid-century-modern pieces typically have smooth finishes, are made with sturdy materials, and have high, slender legs, making them great for wiping down, sweeping under, and looking good.

Off the Wall

Off the Wall

A great way to keep your space feeling cohesive is matching your wall art and decor. In this dining room, bold abstract art in black and white is echoed in furniture with minimal silhouettes and colors reflecting the art's strong lines. A traditional rug and some natural wood-tones add a relaxed vibe and break up the black and white enough to keep the space from being too matchy-matchy.

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