Love mid-century modern? Learn how to incorporate the style without blowing your budget or turning your home into a time capsule.
Featuring designs created from the mid 1940s to late 1960s, mid-century modern’s timeless style blends well with everything from contemporary to transitional decor. While original pieces could cost thousands, it’s easy to recreate the look with everything from retro-inspired furniture to lucky finds from local thrift stores.
From low-slung, tufted couches with tapered legs to gently curved coffee tables, mid-century modern furniture features clean lines that create a relaxed, laid-back vibe. Paring away excess ornamentation allows the natural beauty of each piece to shine through.
The juxtaposition of natural and man-made materials is a hallmark of mid-century modern style. Designers of the times experimented with new-to-the-era products such as plastics, resin, fiberglass, vinyl, and metal composites, along with techniques for molding wood into unique shapes. This opened the door to innovative creations, such as the Eames shell chair which has retained iconic status for more than half a century.
Mid-century modern offers a palette to please anyone—from 60’s inspired earth tones like avocado green, mustard, and pumpkin to cheerful colors like pink, turquoise, and chartreuse. The simple contrast of black and white makes a bold statement or opt for dark neutrals accented with vivid, saturated hues.
Asymmetrical and abstract patterns were a key part of the mid-century modern aesthetic, but they’re best used sparingly to avoid an overdose of kitsch. Choose just one or two patterned elements per room—a colorful rug, drapes, throw pillows, or perhaps a fun accent chair.
Mid-century design features a wide variety of shapes—from geometric squares and circles to curved kidney beans and boomerangs. Easily add retro flair to any room with one of our favorite sleek and simple pieces.
Elevate any space with a curated collection of mid-century accents—from sculptural vases and starburst clocks to abstract paintings. Flea markets and thrift stores make great resources for one-of-a-kind finds that are sure to spark conversations. And don’t forget the quintessential cocktail-culture accessory—a gleaming bar cart to showcase vintage glassware, shakers, and decanters.
Clean, simple lines and open spaces define the “less is more” approach of mid-century design. Spare surfaces with one or two decorative elements you love will make a greater statement than a room scattered with tchotchkes.
Mid-century modern décor celebrates the post-war optimism of the 50s and earthiness of the 60s, blended with fantasies of a “space age” future—all in timeless designs that look right at home in any 21st century space. Whether you’re creating a mid-century modern room or simply incorporating a few retro elements, consider these basics as a guideline for attaining a look you’ll love.