Your Guide to Mid-Century Modern Decor

Published on April 26, 2024
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Mid-century modern is back in a big way. Your Pinterest feed is probably filled with gorgeous sunlit living rooms inspired by this movement. While the era touched all types of design, it is mainly remembered for its home decor. Characterized by clean lines, functionality and pops of color, this style offers a timeless aesthetic for any home. If you are looking for a clean and classic look that will withstand fickle trends, then mid-century modern is a great choice. Here is your guide to bringing mid-century flair to your space. 



The mid-century modern art movement flourished in the 1940s after WWII until the late 1960s. The style is a reaction to the ornateness of the 1800s by utilizing clean, simple forms and functionality. Architects began to incorporate a variety of materials into their designs, like glass, metal and plastics. Function is king, where spaces are bright, geometric, and follow a no-nonsense flow. Even though the style is almost eight decades old, this movement has stood the test of time. 




In any inspo picture of a mid-century modern home, geometric shapes reign supreme. Think sleek sofas, rounded chairs and tall lamps. Mid-century modern loves to contrast, so try pairing a tall lamp next to a short coffee table. Sleek, symmetrical designs can make a space look larger than it really is. 

Along with clean geometric lines, this art movement took lots of inspiration from the natural world by incorporating outside spaces and organic shapes into its designs. An abstract tabletop sculpture or a rug with a wavy pattern can add just the right amount of contrast. 


After WWII, architects and designers experimented with mixing new and old materials. Materials like wood, leather, plastic, fabric and metal are incorporated to create a truly unique look. Think of a shag rug over hardwood floors or a dining room table set made with chrome metal and a glass countertop. Don’t be afraid to mix materials together to create a space with depth.

Bright lights

The outdoor inspiration continues with the lighting. If you have ever toured a home constructed during the 1940s to 1960s, they probably had large, floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, allowing natural light to flow into the space. Consider adding warm lighting in your lamps, with large lamps serving as the focal point of the space. The tripod floor lamp offers a functional and timeless look. If you live in a space with windows, let them shine. Consider light-colored drapes to allow the most sunlight to flow through and brighten your space. 

Pops of color

Don’t forget about the fun! While this style movement may been like all function over fun, the movement began with seminal artists experimenting with color and shapes. Ground a space with a large frame of your favorite piece of art. Or, consider brightly colored couchs or chairs. Fun sculptures or vases add that perfect pop of color and interest. This is where you can let your imagination shine.


Nature was a huge inspiration for mid-century designers and artists. So while you hit up the furniture and consignment store, don’t forget to visit a plant store. Add a touch of life with a large hanging plant in the kitchen or small succulents on a shelf. 

Less is more

When trying to incorporate mid-century modern inspo in your life, remember that less is more. Mid-century modern designs emphasize clean lines, functionality and uncluttered spaces. Edit your belongings and invest in storage to give your home a clean look. 


Don’t be afraid to experiment! This is your space, so make it your own. Play with texture, colors and furniture arrangements.

Flea markets, antique stores and estate sales are treasure troves for mid-century modern finds.

Do not feel like your space has to be absolutely perfect and fit this style perfectly. Don’t believe you need to add all mid-century modern furniture. Some pieces can be incredibly expensive and hard to find. So blend the modern with the mid-century modern to create a unique look. By following the basic tenets of the style, you can craft a comfortable and beautiful space with what you have at your fingertips.