Mid-century modern design is a design aesthetic known for its simplistic look and faintly retro elements. The MCM look has risen more and more in popularity over the last several years, proving how much trends cycle over time. Originating in the post-World War II era, this aesthetic is all about clean lines and a minimalist look, representing a major cultural shift from the opulence of prior popular styles, such as art deco. In today’s post, we’re going to be talking about the most important elements to include when creating a mid-century modern look in your own home.
Mid-Century Modern Moodboard
Sofa: Marija Kori Modular Armless | Anthropologie
Chair: Petite Swivel | West Elm
Coffee table: Waldra Reclaimed | Anthropologie Wallpaper: Fern in Sea Foam | Schumacher Tile: Hunter Green | Fireclay Tile
Pendant light: Alina | Lumens Fabric: Benson Stripe in Lavender | Kravet Mirror: Axton Round Metal | AllModern Side Table: Cosmo | West Elm
After World War II, there was an unprecedented housing demand with soldiers returning home from the war. There was also a shortage of wood, so for the first time, metals such as steel were incorporated into buildings and interior design. This element has remained a part of the mid-century modern style to this day, often mixed with more natural materials like wood and stone. Think wood cabinets with bar stools made of steel, or a granite countertop in a kitchen. The combination of warm woods and cooler metals makes for a very grounding and calming effect.
Another great way to incorporate this element is with a statement wall. Statement walls are a staple of the MCM style, often in dark/warm woods. But this can be done in a variety of different ways, from white or black bricks to colorful subway tiles. The great part about this element is that it allows for so much creativity!
Neutral Palette with Pops of Color
Mid-century modern uses very neutral colors such as white, beige and brown when decorating. But another common element is pops of vintage, jewel toned colors, typically in statement pieces of furniture or art to add some variety. Colors like red, turquoise, green and even yellow often appear in MCM motifs, and can add so much to a space. Mid-century modern was originally somewhat futuristic, and modern or abstract art is another way to bring some of that into your home. Add a bright green couch or large painting in reds and blues against your backdrop of browns and beiges and you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect mid-century modern look.
Mid-Century Modern Moodboard Sources:
Terrazzo Floor: Bianco |The Tile Shop
Wood Slat Wall: Acoustic Slat | The Wood Veneer Hub
Cowhide: Bricen Brown Rug | All Modern
Sofa: Lugano Corner Sofa | Dome Deco
Coffee Table:Meza Nesting Table | Four Hands
Side Chair: Finley Lounge Chair | Dome Deco
Flooring: Herringbone Sienna Sand | Provenza Floors
Light Fixture: Orbit Chandelier | Union Home
Retro Statement Furniture
The MCM style first introduced cool retro furniture shapes such as the egg chair and curved, sleek couches and divans. Clean lines and smooth curves are a dead giveaway for the MCM look. If you are trying to create this style in your home, we recommend picking out a unique piece of furniture to use as the centerpiece for the space. It will really set the vibe for the whole area!
Cool Light Fixtures
Lighting is one of the most fun ways to introduce mid-century modern elements to your space. Cool chandeliers made of metal or glass are a great option, and the more statement they are, the better! A well-lit space is a crucial element of mid-century modern design, so make sure you choose something bright.
Open Floor Plan
Another important aspect of the MCM style is a general sense of openness. Rather than having a lot of dividing lines and closed off rooms, there is an open feel that makes the space feel bigger. A key part of this is windows! Big windows that make a room feel open and almost blur the line between indoor and outdoor is something that screams mid-century modern. Leave your space open and your walkways free and you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect retro inspired home.
We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the popular mid-century modern style! Which element are you the most inspired by?