Well, it’s official: mid-century modern design is here to stay—and for good reason! This style has been around since, well, the middle of the 20th century. It came into popularity in the 1950s and continues to be one of the best-loved interior design styles. Let’s take a closer look at the elements of mid-century modern design.
What is Mid-Century Modern Interior Design?
Inspired by mid-twentieth-century design, Mid-Century Modern design is characterized by the use of natural wood with strong, bold colors. Slightly whimsical furniture designs feature organic shapes that seem to cradle the body and have minimal ornament beyond the shape of the piece itself. Edges are often rounded, eliminating hard angles, and lines are tapered. This furniture style looks great in a variety of fabrics and finishes and the clean lines are impactful but also versatile enough to work for any modern living room. Mid-century modern Interiors tend to look uber-comfy and encourage lounging and conversation ala Mad Men cocktail parties!
The style skews towards primary and secondary colors as the focal points along with graphic patterns and geometric/organic designs peppered in for a little visual texture. Shapes like diamonds, starbursts, boomerangs, half-circles, and line drawings are all hallmark patterns of Mid-century modern style.
How do you style a Mid-Century Modern Living Room?
Want to bring this style to your living room? Check out some of our favorite mid-century modern living room ideas to help you get inspired and see how many ways the style can be brought to life to suit your individual tastes and needs!
1. The Pure Mid-Century Modern Living Room
This style is all about mid-century modern living and then goes the extra mile with a daring, contemporary twist! The result is a work of modern art—it’s cool, classic style with an abstract edge. And we’re super into it.
Natural wood finishes are a core element of mid-century living room design, but here they get a contemporary update and are paired with rich jewel tones. These forces work together to create a cozy and clean look and simple styling lets the large plant act as a bold background accent. We opted for minimal, but impactful, decorative pieces to make this modern living room super dynamic. The bright, colorful wall art and vivid pops of color in the pillows and rugs add visual interest and complexity.
The furniture is mid-century modern all the way, with clean, smooth lines and playful shapes throughout. Pieces are inviting and interesting and the natural wood brings the spacy mid-century modern contours back down to earth. Plus, there is plenty of room to lounge! We wanted the space to have a little extra glam, so notice the gold touches and luxe materials like the leather pouf and fur rug—this mix of items makes it extra unique and cozy in here.Shop This Look
2. The Transitional Modern Living Room
This funky modern living room idea is a work of art in and of itself! It features very cool design elements in a variety of styles. Pulling core concepts from different looks results in a cool, eclectic design that still has an easy, natural feel.
The symmetrical sofas set the tone for the space and strike the perfect mix of contemporary and mid-century modern styles. We used a contemporary Danish coffee table as the centerpiece to balance the space and lend a modern feel.
We incorporated elements like the geometric patterns and used color-blocking give a hint of mid-century modern in this space without pushing it over the top. The symmetrical sofas definitely add to the harmony of the modern living room and give the layout a more formal vibe—it’s a room for hosting and conversation vs. watching TV. Don’t forget the pops of green and blue, which are very mid-century modern and add more warmth and livability to the space! Paired with the natural wood finishes, the look feels all-around super contemporary and approachable.Shop This Look
3. The Industrial Modern Living Room
This living room achieves a striking blend of modern and industrial styles with the right mix of color, pattern, lines, and light. It incorporates different concepts but remains cohesive, approachable, and clutter-free. The industrial light fixture in the center of the living room sets the stage with dramatic effect. Other industrial elements like the magazine rack and ink-blot wall art give a cool, raw edge to the modern living room and still blend in seamlessly with the mid-century modern furniture.
Using a mix of light and dark grays plays up the industrial feel and it makes the room feel grounded and airy at the same time. We used natural wood finishes to warm the space up since industrial styles tend to skew to the colder side. And the upholstery and pillows help to soften things up a bit and make the style more livable. And, of course, plants always add a little warmth and life to any modern living room!
Patterns on rugs pillows add to the cozy vibe while blending in industrial geometric patterns. The space stays clutter-free with tidy storage options like the coffee table and magazine rack.Shop This Look
4. The Organic Modern Living Room
We absolutely love this modern boho look with an earthy, organic vibe—it’s one of our favorite modern living room ideas. It’s trendy in all the right ways without going overboard about it. The result of blending these two styles is a look that’s cool, calm and collected.
To achieve this look, we balanced out the striking, contemporary shapes of Scandi design with natural finishes and loads of natural texture in the decor. The organic finishes help make the angular shapes and hard edges softer and more relatable—it’s clean AND cozy!
It might not seem intuitive to mix these styles at first, but they actually work really well together—opposites attract in this scenario. We complemented the bold, modern shapes with organic finishes like natural wood grains and textured upholstery. Keeping with a neutral, almost pastel, color palette with high-contrast pops is the perfect balance for a dynamic space. The room accessories, like pampas grass in a vase and the beach wall art, add a boho-rustic vibe to make the space feel like a peaceful oasis.
Piles of pillows and a mix of patterns throughout offer more visual texture. And the mix of wood finishes feels super boho while bold shapes play up the modern vibe.Shop This Look
5. The Glamorous Mid-Century Living Room
This living room is the ultimate example of mid-century glamour! The blue sectional and abstract wall art have definite mid-century modern shapes that set the mood for the modern living room. Besides that, we kept the accessories to a minimum to let the dramatic textures and glam accents steal the show.
There are plenty of whimsical, modern shapes here, like the chandelier, accent tables, and chair base. The glam comes through in the colors and sumptuous materials like the soft, velvet upholstery, high pile rug, and marble table-top.
Mixing gold and velvet accents with all the fun, geometric patterns creates a space that is playful with an elevated sophistication. Fresh whites and soft pastels keep this living room soft and approachable while metallic gold brings the glam in spades!Shop This Look
6. The Rustic Mid-Century Modern Living Room
If you love Mid-Century Modern living style but want to bring it more down-to-earth, this rustic take on a modern living room idea might be just right for you!
The sofa, chair, and both tables are mid-century modern to the max, featuring clean lines, tapered legs, and natural wood finishes. On the rustic scale, you’ll notice lots of natural wood, the leather pouf, ceramic lamp, and the inviting and unpretentious warmth of all the patterns and earth tones.
Mid-century modern is a great style because it can be subtly influenced to work with a variety of designs. The accents all feel eclectic in comparison to the modern forms and pops of blue help balance out the design.Shop This Look
7. The Rustic Minimalist Modern Living Room
This is one of the comfiest modern living room ideas we’ve seen. It features a very pulled-together, refined look featuring rustic and mid-century modern pieces with a high-contrast flair. The all-black finishes make the living room feel cohesive even though there are so many different elements in the design.
The coffee and console tables, as well as the end tables, are all strict mid-century modern living room ideas. The tapered legs keep the design from feeling too heavy and the simple, modern silhouette allows for bold black-and-white patterns. The sofa is also mid-century modern in its shape and allows for ample seating. It’s perfect for watching TV or playing board games with the fam.
Just like some of the previous modern living rooms, this space showcases how well rustic and mid-century modern fit together. The leather sofa and cow-hide pouf are bold, yet whimsical, and play off the soft edges of mid-century modern living room pieces. Mixing in classic black and white patterns on the pillows, rug, pouf, and wall art creates a super striking look and the brown sofa and natural wood frames add balance.Shop This Look
8. The Retro Mid-Century Modern Living Room
This living room steps up the modern minimalist look with a contemporary twist. The funky patterns, iconic mid-century modern furniture, and clean lines are bold design choices and come together in a hip, futuristic look.
The coffee table is pure mid-century modern—it’s a Noguchi table offered by Herman Miller with a glass top, natural wood, and three-legged bold shape. The chairs and console are also classic mid-century modern forms. You can also see strong geometric patterns in the rug, and the star-burst clock is a mid-century modern classic. All together the pieces add a retro flair to the space!
The contemporary sofa and chairs feature simply curved shapes with pared-back design to allow the bold accents to really stand out. The two styles have a lot of overlap and blend together seamlessly. Jewel tones and pastels blend with pops of pink and yellow and the pattern matching of the wall art and rug is a perfect fit.Shop This Look
9. The Mid-Century Chic Living Room
This chic living room features a “less is more” look with a definitive mid-century modern influence. The result is a calming, sophisticated design that makes use of the funky space in an original way.
The side table and console are classic mid-century modern—both pieces showcase a natural wood finish that lets the chic element stand out more. The tall, tapered legs leave room for extra storage if needed, and the rounded edges are inviting and friendly.
The sofa and club chair are Contemporary design style—this comfort-forward aesthetic means there is plenty of seating without the living room feeling crowded. Simple, strong lines feel clean and airy and the use of a neutral palette opens up the space. Add in some pops of chic, like the gold in the planter, lamp, and coffee table, and a zebra rug for extra luxe, and you get instant glam! The simple silhouettes of mid-century modern don’t over-complicate the luxe texture in this small space.Shop This Look
10. The Contemporary Minimalist Living Room
This living room features a stately and subdued take on mid-century modern. The blend of contemporary and minimalist designs works seamlessly because of the neutral color palette, and the result is classic sophistication at its best.
The chairs, both glass-topped tables, and the lamp are all mid-century modern pieces. You can tell by their clean lines, smooth surfaces, and tapered legs. They help keep the space free of clutter and easy to clean and they are perfect for family living.
The sofa, rug, and table between chairs are all contemporary minimalist designs. The simple, approachable shapes and spare ornamentation are cozy and provide ample seating for guests and family.Shop This Look
11. The Scandinavian Modern Living Room
This living room makes a splash with its cool, cleansing blend of mid-century modern and Scandinavian styles. The mid-century modern pieces, like the side chairs, sofa, and side table, feature natural wood—which is an element of Scandinavian design as well. Along with the standing lamp and the wall art, the jewel-toned blues and smooth lines and surfaces create a calming, yet colorful aesthetic.
Scandinavian design elements include the coffee table, the rug, woven pouf, and sheer curtains. Natural materials make the living room feel earthy and organic and Scandi design loves the natural light that shines through sheer fabric! Both styles are all about clean lines and neutral wood finishes. The simple silhouettes allow ample space and the small plants bring the hygge!Shop This Look
12. The Eclectic Modern Living Room
We love this boho traveler meets mid-century modern look because it’s bold, eclectic, and fun. Simple foundational mid-century modern pieces like the sofa and lamp really let the boho vibe shine through! The tapered sofa legs and slender frame of the lamp feel light and airy. The organic and geometric forms are playful and feel light and airy in addition to the boho elements.
The woven jute rug makes the space approachable and organic-feeling. We love the eclectic and funky pouf, pillows and other living room accessories because they lend a hand-curated appeal to the space. The sculpture and woven planter are cool elements as well that create an inviting, casual vibe.Shop This Look
13. The Relaxed Mid-Century Modern Living Room
This space offers a buttoned-up take on mid-century modern design that looks amazing in a high-ceilinged living room with walls of windows.
The coffee table, end table, sofa, and chairs are straight out of the mid-century modern playbook. They offer ample seating, making the space inviting, while the classical layout style ups the formal vibes. Clean lines and geometric shapes and patterns add all the modern feels to this classic space.
The contrast between modern and traditional is also a great way to create an elegant look. Warm-leather upholstery feels very stately and together with the rich, natural wood finishes they nod to the classical architecture without overshadowing it. The eclectic room accessories feel antique and the natural woven rug, pouf, and pillows add a distinctly rustic feel. Mixing neutrals and earth tones is a great way to make mid-century modern work for any space.Shop This Look
14. The Mid-Century Farmhouse Living Room
This is one of our favorite mid-century modern looks because the farmhouse chic vibes play up the cool edge but don’t sacrifice on comfort!
The sofa, chair, and lamp are very mid-century modern and bring bright colors to this otherwise neutral design. The vivid blue and orange upholsteries add a little chic to the earth tone palette. Mixing in farmhouse elements like the rug, unfinished wood end table, and reclaimed wood console make modern living rooms feel organic and eclectic.
Mid-century modern can be pretty aloof on its own so mixing farmhouse/rustic pieces throughout the living room adds an unpretentious, organic warmth. Touches of industrial like the concrete coffee table, hanging lamps, and the standing lamp add to the eclectic vibe. The earth tones and leather tie it all together and make the living room feel stylish and inviting.Shop This Look