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5 Inspiring Mid-Century Modern Interior Design Ideas

Feeling inspired by your favourite influencers, you contemplate ways to incorporate elements of mid-century modern interior design into your home. It’s a timeless style that you’ve admired for a long time, but until now you’ve never been sure how to achieve it.

Glancing around your living room, you imagine what the space could look like. The décor is a beautiful fusion of organic and manmade materials, with statement retro pieces taking centre stage. Natural elements blur the lines between indoors and outdoors, whilst eye-catching lamps and lights show off your playful side.

Transform your space with our timeless mid-century modern interior design ideas.

What is mid-century modern interior design?

Known for combining sleek lines with organic shapes and fusing natural and manmade materials, mid-century modern is a design style that emerged in the mid-20th century and remains a popular interior design choice today.

Mid-century modern décor is synonymous with statement lamps, elegant chairs, and sideboards, which typically feature tapered legs, bright pops of colour, and geometric shapes.

Defining characteristics of mid-century modern design

  • Contrasting materials and fabrics: The juxtaposition of natural materials like wood and concrete with manmade materials like plastic and vinyl is a defining characteristic of mid-century modern design. Modern pieces and vintage statement pieces are also commonly used together.
  • Minimal ornamentation: Mid-century interiors favour a few bold, statement pieces over having lots of small trinkets on display. This creates uncluttered spaces with a focus on functionality.
  • Neutral hues with pops of colour: Bold accent colours are used to add visual interest to minimal, uncomplicated interiors with primary colour palettes of black, white, or wood tones. The mid-century colour palette is rooted in nature, so earthy greens, bright autumnal oranges and yellows, and muddy browns are all typically used.
  • Geometric shapes: Geometric patterns are often used in mid-century modern interiors to add visual interest to the space. It’s not uncommon to see artwork, mirrors, rugs, and ceiling lighting fixtures that feature geometric shapes in their design.
  • Fusion of indoor and outdoor: Emphasising natural elements in a room is a key characteristic of mid-century modern design. This is typically done by leaving beams and brick walls exposed or by using indoor plants.

5 tips for creating a beautiful mid-century modern interior

There are many simple ways to incorporate elements of mid-century modern interior design into your home without the need for a complete overall of your current décor.

Follow these tips to add a mid-century modern twist to your interiors.

1. Build your room around statement pieces

Sort through random items that clutter up your space, refining to one or two statement pieces that catch your eye and add visual interest. A great way to create a captivating focal point is through lighting.

‘Mid-century modern lighting is identifiable by its minimal design, opaque globe bulbs, and occasional pops of colour from a palette of red, orange, green, and mustard tones’, says Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, interiors expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds. ‘The shapes are often organic, with curved edges, smooth surfaces, and little fuss or detail.’

Consider making a statement by adding an oversized chandelier to your living space. Bubble chandeliers are a beautiful fusion of modern and traditional elements and perfectly encapsulate the mid-century modern interior design style.

2. Mix materials and textures

Combining natural and manmade materials is one of the easiest ways to add a mid-century feel to your home. ‘Plastic and wood are common to furniture from this design period – think chairs with slender wooden legs and Perspex lamp shades’, says Ally.

Consider choosing lighting that adds rich natural textures to your space, such as the Umage jazz lampshade in the colour dark oak. Alternatively, wooden sideboards are also quintessential of mid-century modern design. Invest in one and place a statement table lamp on it for the full effect.

Image courtesy of @Thepropertypooch

Product pick: The large black porcelain wall lamp features black metal work contrasted with porcelain, making it a quintessentially mid-century modern piece.

3. Incorporate bold accent colours

Keep your colour palette neutral, but add a few bold pops of colour to create visual interest. You could do this by creating a feature wall, choosing a bright patterned rug, or even through something as subtle as choosing colourful light switches.

There are countless possibilities when it comes to ways that accent colours can be incorporated into your home, so don’t be afraid to get creative and play around with different combinations.

Making the most of available wall space will help to make your small living room feel more spacious. ‘Casting light upwards can make a small living room look larger and brighter. A carefully placed floor lamp can do this, but wall lights can be a better option where space is limited’, says Ally. ‘They can also make the room appear wider by drawing your eyes to the edges.’

pink tinkisso tap installed in a white and black kitchen

Image courtesy of @moveovermagnolia

Product pick: With its joyful hue and smooth curves, the colourful pink Tinkisso tap would make a fantastic addition to any mid-century modern living space.

4. Add character with geometric patterns

‘Geometric patterns feature heavily in mid-century textiles—Orla Kierly is a great modern example’, says Ally. ‘Try placing a cushion in one of her fabrics on your sofa or a lampshade on a bedside table to bring a bit of mid-century charm to your bedroom.’

Trikonasana black multi-arm light suspended over a wooden dining table in a black and white kitchen

You can also incorporate geometric patterns and shapes into your interiors through lighting. Consider elegant wall lights or go for something bold yet sophisticated like the Trikonasana black multi-arm light.

Image courtesy of @priscillawilcox81

5. Blur the lines between indoor and outdoor

Incorporating natural elements into your interiors is a key element of mid-century modern design, which is why bringing the outdoors in is a must.

‘Modernise the mid-century look with carefully placed plants – faux foliage is an excellent option if you’re not green-fingered’, says Ally. ‘Opt for larger leaves in simple shapes and block greens rather than anything ‘frilly’ or variegated, which will be too fussy for your look.’

Product pick: Nothing makes a bigger statement than the silver fern bubble chandelier. Use this attention-grabbing light fixture to introduce a beautiful touch of greenery into your mid-century modern interior.

Show us your mid-century modern interiors

We’d love to see how you’ve used these mid-century modern interior design ideas to transform your living spaces. Tag us on Instagram @dowsingandreynolds – we can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

Feature image courtesy of @de_beauvoir_design

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