Choosing Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Posted In Design - 10/21/2019

Mid-Century Modern Design

When you picture mid-century modern design, words like "retro," "mod," and "vintage" may come to mind. That's probably because this style originated in the mid-twentieth century, and remains popular to this day. Mid-century furniture combines elements of minimalism with futuristic flourishes, showcasing geometric curves, daring hues, and wood finishes.

The Basics

Overall Ambiance

A mid-century modern house should be airy and open, cutting out any unnecessary clutter. To achieve this, you can use shapes and colors to counterbalance one another, forming symmetry throughout the space. When done right, every piece serves a purpose and contributes to the overall mid-century modern aesthetic.

Look for a mid-century modern sofa with tapered legs and track arms or a dresser with curved edges and a dark stain that shows off the grain. Carry this silhouette throughout the room with a glass-top coffee table or a metal-framed chair to maintain an organic flow.

Use of Color

Warm neutrals are key when developing your palette. Start with a white base, then bring in layers of brown, rust, tan, and yellow. Wood is another must-have element in mid-century modern furniture. You can take some liberties by using different finishes as long as they have similar undertones.

Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to integrate more vivid hues. Bold accents are a defining factor in mid-century modern design, so feel free to throw in a tranquil teal or lush green to create visual interest. For maximum impact, limit yourself to just one or two bright colors so that they stand out.

A Mid-Century Modern House from Top to Bottom

Living Rooms

Outfit your mid-century modern living room with pieces that are both functional and sleek. Begin with a burnt orange couch with button tufting and flared legs. Add a complementary wingback chair in charcoal gray for a cool contrast. Tie it all together with a mid-century modern coffee table featuring built-in shelves and cabinets.

image of orange tufted mid century modern sofa

Dining Rooms

Mix and match materials in your dining room to make a stunning impact. A walnut table that showcases the natural wood grain has a chic contrast with vibrant red tulip chairs on chrome bases. Round out the look with a silvery sputnik chandelier with Edison bulbs that doubles as mid-century modern art.

picture of a mid century modern dining table set


When it comes to your mid-century modern kitchen, keep the palette neutral. Ivory walls and countertops give stainless steel appliances the centerstage. Encourage guests to sit and talk while you cook with a set of counter-height mid-century modern chairs with wire frames and curved silhouettes.

image of a mid century modern counter height stool


Earth tones and wood are everything in a mid-century modern bedroom. Combine a variety of finishes for a cozy, welcoming sleep space. An oak platform bed has a clean and simple profile, and a button-tufted upholstered headboard offers an extra layer of comfort. Complete the look with a chest of drawers that has angled legs and beveled edges.

picture of a mid century mondern bedroom set

Additional Tips

Ultimately, designing a mid-century modern home comes down to a few important components. As you develop your plan, keep these concepts in mind:

  • More than a pretty face: Form follows function in mid-century modern furniture, so every piece should be able to withstand daily use.
  • Sweet simplicity: Uncluttered spaces are vital to executing this style. Straight lines and smooth curves are essential features in a mid-century modern house.
  • Transcends trends: There's a reason this approach has been around for decades. A mid-century modern home always looks timeless and sophisticated.

Hopefully, these ideas have given you the inspiration you need to create your own mid-century modern designs. Whether you want a look that's retro-chic, a more contemporary spin on a classic aesthetic, or just a little flash from the past, mid-century furniture will make a lasting impression.

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