Mid-Century Modern Living Room
Mid-Century modern living room (aka MCM) design movement originated in the middle of the 20th century. Known to be a timeless design trend, it works well with vintage and contemporary decor elements. The staying power of this style can be attributed to its minimalistic approach with a focus on clean lines, organic forms, and natural materials. Although mid-century modern design never entirely went out of style, certain aspects of the style did fade away. With the MCM making a comeback in interior design – the same old 20th-century style with its original elements is celebrated in a new and improved present-day getup.
We have shortlisted a few mid century living room elements that you could easily incorporate into your decor.
1. The Mid-Century Modern Wood Cladding
The wood wall paneling was famous around the 1950s through the 1970s. However, the easy-to-install panels fell out of style as it was a common sight in every household. But they are back in fashion and exude an old-world charm.
Wood cladding delivers a rustic warmth to any room and can bring life to a bland room. They pair well with any style of furniture and upholstery. And create a luxurious and neat environment.
Here we have a sophisticated corner clad with wood panels. The Sergio Rodrigues’ “Oscar” armchair reminds us of the 50s with its refined sinuous lines and use of natural materials like wood and cane. You can mimic this look in a corner of your large living room or your study.
2. The Mid-Century Modern Upholstery
Leather was commonly seen in mid-century furnishings. The fact that leather only gets better with age made it the cover of choice for seating. Leather upholstery looks extravagant and pairs well with wooden seating frames and legs. Their availability in different shades makes it easier to work with modern furniture.
For example, this splendid leather sofa with its bolster cushions and tapered legs – complements both the mid-century and the contemporary furnishings in this room. It looks luxurious and inviting and yet perfectly fits in this humble space.
3. The Mid-Century Modern Shapes
Contemporary design usually focuses on straight lines and sharp edges. But mid-century modern works with organic forms. The designs are minimalistic in nature with no ornamentation, which works well in a modern setting. But the organic shapes can introduce character to the contemporary design without any embellishment.
The white couch does more than be the center of attraction in this room. The sofa’s slight curve and the rounded edges of the backrest transform the overall layout and add a hint of softness to the room.
4. The Mid-Century Modern Walls
A popular household item in the mid-20th century, wallpapers add personality and style to your space. Optically illusive geometric patterns, funky motifs, groovy curves, and bright colors were liberally used during this era.
Perfect for a statement space or an accent wall. The abstract pattern in vivid colors like orange, mustard, and gold mimics a hand-painted mural. The color combination and complex design make the wall pop.
5. The Mid-Century Modern Colors
Bold colors are encouraged in MCM design. The style uses a lot of natural materials and tends to stick to a neutral earthy palette. Accent colors can add some drama to the neutral-toned room.
Bursts of saturated hues liven up this room. A good mix of different colors is observed here.
There are tons of mid-century modern furniture options to get you started with your home decor. A word of caution though it can be a bit tricky to achieve the look without making your house look outdated. It’s crucial to strike a good balance between modern and vintage finds.
To help you out, we have made a list of mid-century modern living rooms that we completely adore. You can draw inspiration from this list and create a beautiful mid-century modern inspired living room.
Ahm House in Hertfordshire, England
Ahm House was renovated by Coppin Dockray and transformed into a mix of modern and traditional designs. The house is designed in a simplistic fashion where functionality is given the utmost importance. The house is not crammed with unnecessary furniture and permits ample open space for the users.
The focus lies on the quality of the material used. There is a natural play of light observed in the interiors which further warms up the woodsy surface of the ceiling and mullions. Neat straight lines are marked by the ceramic tile flooring and the fireplace wall cladding.
Only functional and sturdy furniture pieces are carefully arranged around the house. Classic mid-century interiors like the Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chairs, the Faye Toogood-designed Spade chair, and Poul Henningsen’s PH5 pendant light are the highlights. The pop of vibrant color that the furniture adds to the subtle color palette of the house – is a nod to the mid-century style.
Brandi and Dave Adoff’s Mid-Century Abode
This 1963 home fills us with nostalgia yet amazes us with its modern appeal. The homeowners have strived to connect the house with nature. They have managed to open up the interiors to the surrounding nature by keeping the seating low and relaxed, which further permits – maximum views of the outside.
Vibrant colors typically found in a mid-century home are utilized. The burnt orange velvet sofa complements the rich teal sectional beautifully. The curve of the sectional, vintage pieces, and clean lines on the red cedar ceilings and the beams – are in agreement with the MCM style.
Alcoves were typically featured in mid-century architecture. This 7-foot high cavity in the middle of a 10-foot tall living room creates a snug reading/relaxing space. The white wood paneling with the grey silver beams lends a chic look to the alcove. The addition of the colorful rug, throw, and plants make it extra cozy.
Pirramimma in New South Wales, Australia
In addition to the interiors, the layout, and architecture of this modernist Australian house highlight mid-century modern features. The stark difference in color and texture of the supporting beams and columns gives the space its neutral color palette. The beams are clad in high-quality wood panels in a reddish-brown polish. The white stone pillars have a brutalist touch to them.
The openness of the living area surrounded by natural materials takes us back in time. The tan leather sofas and the pair of Papa Bear Chairs by Hans Wegner have Danish modern influences.
Elisa and Clayton Belknap’s Home in Little Rock, Arkansas
A blend of natural and manmade materials is reminiscent of mid-century modern design. Wood is celebrated on the wall, floor, and roof. The exposed beams give out a subtle rustic vibe. And the addition of green foliage brings the outdoors inside.
Louveira Building Apartment in São Paulo, Brazil
The interiors of this São Paulo apartment were designed to match the 1940s architecture of the building. The broken plan layout of this apartment is an interesting and modern twist to the open plan layout seen in a mid-century modern style. The parquet flooring conforms to the 40s theme and fetches attractive patterns to the interiors.
Vintage finds like the leather and wood Boomerang armchairs designed by Vilanova Artigas are featured. The bottle green velvet sofa by Paulo Alves and the yellow window frames painted to match the facade of the building – add splashes of color to the apartment.
Novelist Jay McInerney’s Home in Manhattan, New York
A wide range of decor styles is featured in this living room. The homeowners’ contemporary pieces are combined with Art Deco and mid-century furniture. For example, the shagreen cocktail table sits effortlessly next to an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair. A German vase from the 40s is kept next to a Paolo Buffa cabinet carrying a bronze-painted dog sculpture.
This novelist’s living room is ideal for any bookworm. The slipper chairs are put together with a 70s chrome bench and a linen sofa to form a warm entertaining space. The Danish floor lamps are arranged neatly behind the sofa.
Most of the mixed media hanging above a 19th-century mantel are from the 80s – including a photograph of the owner. The area rug by Orley Shabahang also resembles a beautiful painting and blends in with the interiors.
Dave Brubeck’s Connecticut Home
The internal staircase is made of natural stone and looks magnificent with its organic curvature. Original furniture and light fixtures showcasing mid-century modern aesthetics are set up in the living room. The shoji screens invite in natural light in moderation, adding a subtle warmth to the texture of the natural materials in the house.
The São Paulo Penthouse
A modular bookshelf runs across the walls all the way from floor to ceiling, making room for only the grand entrance and windows. This shelf is made of dark wood and houses plants, trinkets, and books.
Notable mid-century modern furniture – designed by Hugo França, Hans Wegner, Franco Albini, Gio Ponti – adorn this space. The suspended fireplace offers warmth and a modern presentation to the house.