Mid-Century Modern Decor & Design Elements

Mid-century modern bedroom via Graham Yelton and Margaret Pate

Mid-century modern home decor is quickly becoming a popular decorating style. On the heels of successful mid-century television shows like Mad Men, people across the country are opting for a 1960s style interior, or at least a few elements that represent the style! Mid-century modern decor is great for anyone who loves minimalistic design and warm brown hues.

If you’d like to learn more about decorating in the mid-century modern style, then keep reading as this post will give you a basic overview of the mid-century decor core elements!

Mid-Century Modern Design

The most popular and well-known elements of mid-century style come from the 1950s and 1960s when straight lines and smooth curves formed the basis of much mid-century furniture. Mid-century modern design was partially influenced by the Bauhaus style – a minimalist rejection of the intricate and ornate decorative elements that were popular during the very early 20th century.

Finding original mid-century modern furniture in good condition can be a challenge, like most period-piece shopping. Luckily, this style is still very much in fashion and you can find affordable furniture and decorative elements in the mid-century modern style, even if they are not authentically vintage.

West Elm is probably the mass retailer most closely associated with contemporary mid-century furniture and decor. With West Elm, you’ll get a great combination of style, quality, and price. If you’re looking to shop for mid-century modern furniture and decor, then I recommend these retailers:

  • Knoll: Designer-approved authentic productions, very expensive
  • Design Within Reach: Original, licensed productions, high-quality investment pieces
  • Interior Icons: Affordable, quality replicas priced in the mid-range
  • Eternity Modern: Affordable replicas that won’t break the bank
  • Industry West: Mid-century-inspired everyday furniture designs
  • AllModern: Cheap mid-century design, but you have to dig to find what you want

Today I’d like to share some core mid-century modern design elements that you can keep an eye out for when designing your home.

Mid-Century Modern Structural Elements

Let’s start off by sharing some common structural elements of mid-century modern home design.

Geometric Forms

The mid century mod look was characterized by geometric forms, often repeating themselves into patterns. From rugs to light fixtures, there’s always interesting minimalist shapes present in a mid-mod home.

Mid-century modern geometric rug: Mid-Century Modern Decor & Design Elements
Article

Wood Paneling

On the walls of a mid-mod home, you’ll often find vertical knotty wood paneling in a dark brown finish. Sometimes the paneling is vertical and other times, it’s horizontal!

Wool Paneling in Mid-century Modern Bedroom via JamieBushCo
Jamie Bush Co

Mamie Pink Tile in the Bathroom

Perhaps the most whimsical mid-century modern design element is the Mamie pink tile bathroom. “Mamie” is a reference to the former first lady of the United States, Mamie Eisenhower, of course. During the 1950s, Mamie’s love for pink was well publicized. Everything from her pink inauguration dress to her pink Gettysburg home bathroom caught the attention of women across the country. A love for pink bathrooms was thus ignited.

Mid-century modern pink tile bathroom via 2lgstudio
2LG Studio

Pops of Color: Orange, aqua, mustard yellow and red

Desaturated fall colors seemed to be everywhere in mid-century modern decor. Keep an eye out for pumpkin oranges, mustard yellows, deep reds and even some popping aquas!

Pops of color in mid-century modern decor via @melodrama
@melodrama

Open Shelf Room Dividers

Open shelf dividers in various geometric forms are often found in mid-century style homes. These room dividers are practical and help break up large spaces. You can store books, objects, and photo frames in the various small shelves.

Glass Walls and Large Glass Windows

Glass walls are a quintessential element of mid-century home structures. These large walls let in a ton of light, and are most often found in rural, remote homes. Obviously, you wouldn’t want your home open for the neighbors to see!

Glass walls and Large Glass Windows in the Miller House, by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs, California
Wikipedia

Mid-Mod Color Palette

Here is a visual representation of the colors most associated with mid-century design.

Mid-Century Modern Color Palette

Mid-Century Modern Furniture

There are so many beautiful mid-century modern furniture pieces, some of which held lasting power and are found in modern-day homes, too.

These are the most popular mid-century furniture pieces:

Be sure to read about the most iconic mid-century modern chair designs for an overview of the most quintessential chair styles of the time period.

 

Mid-Century Modern Decorations

Here are a few common mid-century modern home decorations:

  • Starburst Clock / Sunburst Clock
  • Pop Art or Abstract Expressionist Art
  • Arc Floor Lamp
  • Artichoke Pendant Lamp
  • Sputnik chandelier
  • Circular shag rug
  • Geometric Pillows & Rugs

 

Famous Mid-Century Modern Designers

These are the most famous mid-century modern designers to know. With a few exceptions, the majority of these designers came from the Scandinavian and northern European regions.

  • Herman Miller
  • George Nelson
  • Eero Saarinen
  • Harry Bertoia
  • Arne Jacobsen
  • Charles Eames and Ray Eames
  • Isamu Noguchi
  • Verner Panton
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
  • Marcel Breuer

Mid-Century Modern Room Decor Inspiration

Here are a few examples of amazing mid-century modern interior design.

Living Room

This gorgeous mid-mod living room was designed by @melodrama, a woman who is truly living the mid-century modern dream! She purchased a mid-century house in Palm Springs, California (the epicenter of American mid-century design) and is slowly restoring it and decorating it with furniture and decorations from the mid-century period. Check out the best retro Mid-Century Modern Living Room ideas.

Mid-century modern teal sofa via @melodrama
@melodrama

Bedroom

We have shared the best Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Decor Ideas.

Mid-century modern bedroom via Graham Yelton and Margaret Pate
Graham Yelton and Margaret Pate

Bathroom

Look at the most inspiring mid-century modern bathroom ideas.

Pink tile mid-century modern bathroom via Home Adore, design by Godrich Interiors
Godrich Interiors

Kitchen

There are lots of different mid-century modern kitchens to get inspired by.

Dining Room

Read about the best Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Decor Ideas.

Office

Be sure to check out our 12 Brilliant Mid-Century Modern Office Decor Ideas.

Breakfast Nook

These are the best Mid-Century Modern Breakfast Nooks for a retro-chic breakfast meal.


Follow the Mid-Century Modern Pinterest board here. Pin this for later:

Mid-century modern decor elements

I hope this post inspired you to decorate in the mid-century modern style! Share know your thoughts in the comments below.

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