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Mid-Century Modern trend

Then & Now: How the Mid-Century Modern Design Trend Has Changed Over Time

Mid-century modern design has been one of the most popular interior design styles for decades. It first came onto the design scene in the late 1950s, and it has been a pillar of modern interiors since. (If you’re curious about the full scope of Mid-Century Modern’s influence on design today, listen to our deep dive into the history of the style in our new podcast, The Render.)

Like many other design movements, mid-century modern style has changed over the years, reinterpreted in myriad ways to suit the interiors of the times. Most recently during the early 2000s, the millennial design aesthetic gave rise to a new mid-century modern trend that favored pared-down spaces, pastel hues, and traditional mid-century modern design staples. The look veered away from the traditional Mad Men vibe and gave rise to a more youthful version of mid-century modern that felt fresh, light, and anything but buttoned-up.

From that, we’re now seeing mid-century modern interiors move in the direction of embracing more boho touches, organic elements, and rustic notes.

Come along with us as we take a look and break down how the mid-century modern trend is taking shape now.

Classic Mid-Century Modern

Before we delve into the various new interpretations of the style, let’s take a look at its origins and some of the pieces that made this an iconic interior design aesthetic.

From the very beginning, mid-century modern design championed the use of new materials ranging from plastics to fiberglass. There was also a focus on geometric and streamlined forms in furniture, and the sculptural chairs designed by Le Corbusier, Eero Saarinen, and Harry Bertoia are among the iconic pieces that came to define the mid-century modern aesthetic. Today, these are still some of the most coveted designs in homes, whether it’s in a cool and airy minimalist living room or a warm and inviting modern dining space.

Mid-Century Modern trendAnother style that contributed to the mid-century modern movement was Scandinavian design, which adhered to the same modernist principles. Although it focused on furnishings with an organic approach inspired by shapes found in nature. These designs boasted materials, such as natural woods, like birch and ash, which are elements seen in many of the furniture pieces by Mid-Century designers, including Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Isamu Noguchi. Many of these iconic wood pieces, most notably the Eames lounge chair, are considered staples in modernist homes today.

But what does Mid-Century Modern look like today? Here are a few ways we’ve seen this trend evolve and take new stylistic forms!

Mid-Century Modern trendMid-Century Meets Boho

Mixing color, texture, and pattern into the mid-century modern look is what sets apart this look. It’s also a style that’s commonly blended in with the millennial interior design aesthetic.

Mid-Century Modern trendIt’s About Patterns

Part of what makes the mid-century boho look is its lively layering of patterns paired with modern design. From boho dots to kilim textiles and graphic stripes, it’s an approach to bold textiles and eye-catching prints that work beautifully in mid-century modern bedrooms.

Key Elements: Boho-patterned pillows, rug, and art, nightstands with tapered legs, woven bench, textural decor (colorful baskets, painted wood objects, two-tone ceramics)

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Mid-Century Modern trendIt’s About Bright Colors

Mid-century boho style also emphasizes a mix of colorful textiles. In addition to patterns, you’ll find a warm palette of rusty red, deep blue, earthy brown, and bright orange. If you love mid-century organic forms with a pop, the eclectic hues give this style a casual and hip vibe.

Key Elements: Kilim-style upholstered bench, layers of colorful pillows for comfort, rattan ottoman, walnut wood side table and chairs, mid-century modern sofa

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Mid-Century Modern trendIt’s About An Eclectic Mix

Alongside the vibrant colors and patterns, the boho mid-century look also highlights clean-lined furniture and sculptural forms. You’ll find tapered legs, organic silhouettes as well as key vintage styles, such as sputnik lights and Wishbone chairs, resulting in an eclectic design mix.

Key Elements: Vintage-style rug, Wishbone-style chairs, atomic light fixture, clean-lined walnut dining table, brass accents, smooth ceramics, tall greenery.

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Mid-Century Modern trendOrganic Modernism

In recent years, organic modern interior design has been a big focus in homes. Known as Organic Modernism, it combines mid-century modern design with earthy organic elements.

Mid-Century Modern trendThere Are Natural Materials

True to its moniker, Organic Modernism highlights the use of mid-century designs featuring natural materials. From light-wood and leather furnishings to natural fibers, such as jute, sisal, and rattan, it’s all about bringing out the warm textures and beauty of organic materials.

Key Elements: Jute rounded pouf, leather-and-wood daybed, shibori-upholstered swivel chair, light-wood coffee tables, handwoven rug, cotton sofa, glass and ceramic objects

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Mid-Century Modern trendThere Are Earthy Elements

Besides natural materials, you’ll also find colors and shapes that recall nature, from rustic brown and ocean blue to sundials and curvy modern design. These details give a sense of warmth as well as softness that help to set an inviting and livable tone in Organic Modernist rooms.

Key Elements: Minimalist maple-wood console, ornate mid-century round mirror, earthy color palette, two-toned modern chair, organic-shaped decor (sculptural vase, rounded bowl)

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Mid-Century Modern trend

There Are Organic Designs

From combining rich leather, textural woods, woven accents, and metal pieces, the emphasis is on mid-century furnishings with an organic edge. The result are spaces that play up the Organic Modernism look while still feeling livable, distinctive, and perfectly balanced.

Key Elements: Leather platform bed, mid-century-style rounded accent chair, grainy light-wood dresser, organic shape accents (vases, ceramic bust), simple patterned rug and pillows.

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Mid-Century Modern trendModern Rustic

Equal parts mid-century and rustic, Modern Rustic style plays up clean-lined designs that don’t sacrifice comfort for looks. It’s one of our most popular interior design styles among customers.

Mid-Century Modern trendThink Farmhouse Furnishings

What defines the Modern Rustic room is its mix of mid-century modern design with rustic materials and accents. It’s a streamlined slipcovered sofa paired with leather armchairs and graphic art alongside a raw wood bookcase. The result is a balance of style and big comfort.

Key Elements: Rustic vintage-inspired rug, natural-wood bookcase cabinet, leather-and-wood accent chair, hide ottomans, dark-wood tray-top cocktail tables.

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Mid-Century Modern trendThink Rustic Materials

Part of the mix includes rustic furnishings and elements with sleek materials and shapes. You can expect to find an industrial cabinet and an edgy mirror alongside classic mid-century seating and light fixtures. The idea is to play up a hard and soft contrast to create a bold yet livable vibe.

Key Elements: Log side table, natural-wood mid-century console cabinet, leather sofa with tufting and tapered legs, concrete-and-wood tables, glass pendants, rustic artwork.

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Mid-Century Modern trendThink Comforting Textures

Finally, with Modern Rustic style it truly comes down to the rich and nubby textures that give it that deep sense of homey comfort. These are the woven chair seats that add soft padding to the grainy wood table that looks and feels inviting, and the natural-fiber rug that opens up a room.

Key Elements: Rustic dining table, Wishbone-style chairs, organic shape tabletop accents (bowls, vessels), natural color palette, jute or sisal rug, mid-century-modern light fixture.

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18 Mid Century Living Rooms That Will Make Your Retro Heart Swoon

Mid-century modern was the iconic style of the 1950s and 60s and its timeless appeal has made it a mainstay in the world of interior design. Mid-century living room ideas combine a number of modern elements, artistry, and simple practicality to create an immediately recognizable look. You might imagine Don Draper’s office or the lobby of the Grand Budapest Hotel, which are excellent examples of the mid-century look. But if you want to play around a little with the interior design of your living room, there are actually tons of mid-century design ideas out there! If you like a more minimal aesthetic, blend mid-century and minimal designs for a clean, pared-down vibe. Love the boho look? Blend mid-century design ideas with lots of plants, patterns, and colors for a modern rustic vibe. Or maybe rustic interior design is your thing? Go modern farmhouse for a look that’s trendy and cozy all at once.

This is all that to say there are many ways to design a mid century modern living room. Get inspired by the following designs to see the full range of ways you can get this look!

mid century living roomA Touch of Glam

It’s no surprise that mid-century modern furniture can easily be glammed up for extra style! The walnut and marble coffee table and the tapered legs and open frame of the armchairs chairs are mid-century all the way. The gold velvet sofa adds a dazzling touch to this design and helps create a cozy conversation area. It is also in line with the jewel tones around the rest of the room—they add a bright and funky vibe while brass touches give the room more sass! This living room is great for the mid-century modernist who loves a bright pop of color and a statement piece you can’t miss.

mid century living roomNeutral Territory

Mid-century modern living room design doesn’t have to be loud and flamboyant! Tapered leg furniture makes this living room unmistakably mid-century modern while the neutral color palette and leather pouf on floor feel minimal in style. It benefits from a soothing color palette with warm neutrals like camel leather and shades of brown. Then, just throw in some pops of black and white for balance! This living room feels casual and cozy, and the low furniture and soft edges make it a kid-friendly space. The tripod lighting adds a fun retro touch, too.

mid century living roomDown-to-Earth Style

This mid-century modern living room blends retro furniture forms with a color palette that’s on the earthier side for a warm, cozy look. The musky green barrel chair is super retro and adds a funky pop of color into the mix. The leather pouf and landscape art also offer an earthy touch. We love the mid century modern thin leg coffee table and floor lamp. Meanwhile, the simple styling and geometric rug bring space together for a cohesive design.

Mod Enthusiast Living

This mid-century modern living room features a number of signature modern elements, like walnut wood finishes, the tapered leg chair and sofa, and a geometric rug. But the neutral color palette with pops of black and grey definitely adds a more contemporary vibe to the decor choices. The living room is minimal in decor, with an open and bright layout. Similar wood tones and signature mid-century modern touches of brass bring this look together. This is a great look for those who love mid century modern living room design but want a more subdued version of the style.

Mod Visionary Living Space

This living room is mid-century modern to the max in all of its forms and materials—walnut wood furniture in geometric forms, tapered legs, and thin metal are the elements that make this look iconic. To update the look with contemporary styling, you can add decor like minimal sculptures, oversized neutral art, sleek bookcase items, etc. The color palette of the living room is neutral with warm whites and greys, warmed up with lots of wood. It’s a great look for those who want mid-century modern style with a clean streamlined aesthetic.

Iconic Mid Century Living

This is a beautiful example of pure mid-century modern living room design. The sofa is lifted on a wood base with very retro legs. It has a very mid-century modern style with a neutral color scheme and pops of avocado green, and geometric patterns. Warm wood tones add warmth and a homey feeling to modern living rooms like this. And the iconic Noguchi coffee table is simple but stands out! All of the furniture pieces are architectural—like works of art—so they don’t need extra frills.

Mod Collector Space

Mid-century modern living room design typically sticks to a subdued color scheme with pops of bright primary colors. But living rooms can definitely be spiced up a little with more vibrant hues! The furniture is pure mid-century, like the camel leather sofa on tapered legs and blue upholstered armchair. A sculptural atomic light fixture in brass is mid-century, along with other lights in the room. The colors are in the iconic retro palette—muted jewel tones, primary colors, etc—but more vibrant hues than you usually see! Modern living rooms like this are great if you love mid-century modern style but want a slightly more eclectic flair.

Pastel Chic Mid Century

We love mid-century modern living rooms with an added hint of glam! This modern interior design features marble, brass, and velvet accents. The Kilim style rug and a sculptural atomic style pendant adds a polished touch. This look is great for mid-century modern style lover who wants a living room filled with bright and fun colors, shapes, and forms.

Relaxed and Retro

This style has plenty of mid-century modern elements, like the tapered and angled furniture legs, wood tones, and shag geometric rug. The oatmeal sofa pops against a muted mustard-colored wall, keeping the palette mostly earth toned with pops of blue. It’s a cohesive style with a balance of patterns, solids, and wood tones. If you’re a lover of mid-century modern design but prefer more earthy, warm vibes, this look might be just right for you!

Atomic Industrial

This mid-century modern living room design features a signature tapered leg sectional and sculptural light fixture to showcase the style. But it also boasts a hint of industrial flair with darker tones, natural wood and metal coffee table, and more rugged style artwork. The overall look is unexpected and creates a unique and cozy vibe! A light colored rug adds light balance to the darker color palette so it has warmth without feeling too grey. This look is perfect for those who want a hint of mid-century modern with a moodier feel.

Boomerangs And Sputniks

This mid-century modern living room focuses on primary colors for a bright, vibrant look! The tapered legs and Noguchi coffee table ground the room in mid-century modern design and the orb style pendant lights and starburst mirror are iconic retro pieces. A cool, geometric rug pulls all of the colors and patterns together and anchors the seating area to create a cozy, conversational space. It’s a great look for those who love mid-century-modern style but want bright colors and pure style.

Peachy Mid Century

Instead of going all out with bold, primary colors, some mid-century modern living rooms focus on a soft color palette. The furniture pieces here are pure mid-century style with tapered legs, a formal sofa and a marble/wood coffee table. But then the design incorporates rosy pinks, mauve, and a white and blush rug along with pops of blue. Overall, living rooms with this color palette will have a simple and soft appearance, but with defined mid-century style.

Organic Modernism

We love this “Organic modernist” look featuring sculptural furniture instead of lots of decor. The chairs are perfect examples, as they feature a formed leather seat and thin metal base. Lighting brings an industrial vibe through in the materials but uses organic shapes for a softer feel. The colors are very muted, neutral, and soft for that organic modern touch! Only a small amount of decor is used and it’s all made from natural material—stone, wood, ceramic, etc. This is a great mid-century modern living room design for those who appreciate a natural aesthetic.

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Modern Rustic Living

For this modern living room design, we went with a rustic style and touches of mid-century flair. The fabrics in the pillows, bench, and rug are rustic all the way and make the room feel homey and warm. The furniture form is classic mid-century modern, but the wood tones are lighter than typical and add a boho feel. The room has a formal layout with conversational seating but casual vibe to create a laid-back, inviting living room in trendy modern rustic style.

Edgy Modern Style

This mid-century modern living room design features a leather sofa on metal legs and a black mid-century form coffee table, both of which have a slightly industrial edge! The black and white color palette is warmed up by a jute rug, camel leather sofa, and wood frames, making the space both stylish and inviting. The tripod brass lamp is classic mid-century modern and the multi-patterns gallery wall has touches of both mid-century and industrial and adds tons of visual interest.

Pure Retro Vibes

For all of you hardcore mid-century lovers out there, here’s another purist living room to show you what this style can do all on its own! This room features a slingback armchair with a sculptural form that makes a dramatic impact! The art deco art piece in back features primary colors and the overall palette showcases blue and yellow with warm wood tones. And at the center of the room is a signature Noguchi coffee table. This room is perfect for those who love pure, undiluted mid-century modern style.

Mid Century Minimalism

This living room offers a deluxe example of mid-century modern meets minimalist design. We love how the two styles blend together to create a sleek, cool take on the “Mad Men” aesthetic. The look features clean lines and a neutral color palette with darker greys and blues for a muted backdrop. The sculptural quality of the furniture pieces adds a sense of drama to the serene space! Every piece makes a statement, from the ladder bookcases, the Arco floor lamp, to the gorgeous tulip table. Like the best minimalist designs, it manages to say a lot with a little!

Mod Enthusiast

For this look, we mingled contemporary stylings with a mid-century aesthetic to get a look every Mod enthusiast will love. It’s a more approachable take on mid-century and the contemporary pieces make it super relaxed and livable. It has a transitional foundation to the style that prioritizes comfort—and then retro accents are layered on top. Although the living room has a mostly neutral palette, pops of leather, wood, and brass liven it up and add extra warmth. The armchairs and gourd table lamps have a distinct mid-century modern form. This look is perfect if you like a cozy aesthetic with hints of retro, but don’t want to go full-throttle on mid-century modern.

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Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

Modern Living Room Design Ideas – 5 Ways to Bring a Mid-Century Style to Life

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

The Mid-Century style has been in high demand over the past few years, and although rustic styles are on the rise, it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

If you want to design a modern living room, but don’t want your home to look like everyone else’s, don’t fret. It’s not all tapered legs and Eames lounge chairs! There are so many ways to bring a mid-century style to life and still keep your space looking unique to you.

Need help designing your modern living room? Start a Modsy design project and see your exact room in one of our mid-century style collections, all through the magic of 3D!

To help get your creativity flowing, we’re taking a closer look at our favorite mid-century styles. In this post, we’re breaking down 5 ways to work a mid-century style and bring the modern living room of your dreams to life!

Mod Visionary

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

Always a crowd-pleaser, Mod Visionary is our most popular mid-century style – and it’s our most-popular look overall, too! And it’s easy to see why – Mod Visionary takes the trendy mid-century style we know so well, and makes it approachable, comfortable, and never out-of-date.

Shop This Look: The Mod Visionary Living Room

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

The Key Elements

To bring this modern living room look to life, let mid-century shapes mingle with modern finishes and fabrics. Imagine brassy and silver metals, velvets and linens, and natural woods in all hues together in one space.

Opt for a minimal approach to styling with the Mod Visionary look. This will keep your space trendy, but never on-trend (or out of style, in a few month’s time). Don’t be afraid to embrace a clean, pared-down vibe. This will help your core pieces shine and give your space the Marie Kondo stamp of approval.

It’s Perfect If You…

Dig a retro look almost as much as you crave a clean space. If you thrive in spaces that feel trendy, are easy to keep tidy, and are anything but uncomfortable, Mod Visionary might be the style for you!

Modern Rustic

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

A modern living room that’s also rustic? Sounds way too good to be true. But, spoiler alert, it’s not!

We love mixing styles, so why not play with two of the most popular ones in the same room? That’s right, a look that blends both mid-century and rustic design influences, Modern Rustic is a real thing!

Shop This Look: The Modern Rustic Living Room

Modern Living room Mid-Century StyleThe Key Elements

Expect rooms that unite all of your favorite things together in one beautiful design. Think retro shapes reimagined in rustic materials – like a mid-century style sofa upholstered in a vintage leather.

Look for pieces with Mid-Century influence that show off what they’re made of – literally. Pieces where the materials do the talking are your best bets for bringing this look to life! Look for unfinished woods, raw metals, natural fibers, and leathers and cowhides.

It’s Perfect If You…

Want a modern living room that feels a bit warmer and less “straight off the set of Mad Men.”

A slightly more masculine approach to the Mid-century style, this look is also a great way to find a decor compromise if you and your S.O. can’t agree on the same style.

Mod Enthusiast

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

But what if you actually do want a modern living room that looks like it could be “straight off the set of Mad Men (or Frasier)?” If that sentence got your attention, than you’ve come to the right place!

Meet Mod Enthusiast – a mid-century style that packs a classic punch. This look lets you bring the pure essence of Mid-Century Modern home in a livable way.

Shop This Look: The Mod Enthusiast Living Room

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

The Key Elements

In these rooms you’ll find iconic mid-century shapes styled alongside more contemporary pieces that embody the design elements of the era. Imagine your Eames lounge chair styled next to a contemporary side table and bookcase.

Look for organic shapes, natural materials, and a bright palette of earthy hues to bring this look to life!

It’s Perfect If You…

Never pass up a piece of furniture with tapered legs. That, and if your grandmother’s 50s era living room gives you a mega dose of nostalgia, the Mod Enthusiast look might be the mid-century style for you.

Mod Collector

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

The the thought of a predictably mid-century living room makes you snore, we’d love to introduce you to Mod Collector. An edgier take on a mid-century style, this look is a more masculine and eclectic approach to the modern trend.

Shop This Look: The Mod Collector Living Room

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

The Key Elements

Mid-century inspired pieces rendered in dark finishes mixed together with leather and hints of warm and metals make up this style. Steer clear of color, and opt for a refined, neutral palette instead.

But don’t confuse neutral with boring! What this mid-century style lacks in bright hues it makes up with a bold approach to texture. Look for accents in natural materials that add texture to your space – a chunky jute rug, leather with a patina, and unfinished woods will all do the trick!

It’s Perfect If You…

Are serious about design and the authentic curation of a home that highlights your unique identity and passions.

If your worst design fear is a room that’s boring and predictable (not that any of our designs would ever be such things), this mid-century style might be the look you’ve been searching for!

Atomic Industrial

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

For the final stop on our modern living room tour, let’s venture into a more austere side of the modern living room spectrum.

Meet Atomic Industrial, a look that combines mid-century roots with industrial design elements for an edgier take on the mid-century style.

Shop This Look: The Atomic Industrial Living Room

Modern Living room Mid-Century Style

The Key Elements

Mid-Century forms meet truly industrial furniture in this unique style. Look for darker finishes and textures and keep your styling extra minimal to really bring this look to life.

Comfortable and sturdy foundational pieces are your go-to’s. Look for sleek designs and avoid frills at all costs. Look for pieces that put their materiality on display and don’t hide what they are – iron, cement, and reclaimed wood are all great choices!

The color palette of choice for our Atomic Industrial style is heavily neutral. If you want to add a pop of color, try a bold paint color or some small accent pieces. Brass and gold metals are also a great way to warm up the look without changing the style.

It’s Perfect If You…

Feel at home in spaces with a darker palette, minimal styling, and industrial materials. If the “loft look” sounds like your style, this is the modern living room match for you.

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