While mid-century modern living rooms are inspired by trends from the 50s and 60s, let's be honest: there's something truly iconic and timeless about them!
Whether you prefer the immediately recognizable outward-pointing legs of mid-century modern furniture or its warm palettes, the most important thing is to create a living room that represents what this style truly means to you.
Not only that, but one that does it in a way that matches your modern-day comforts and perks without straying away from that cozy or casual feel that's perfect for friendly catchups.
Where to start, though?
Right here! We've already activated our time machine to bring you the best 50s and 60s inspiration with a contemporary twist.
From mirrors to lighting fixtures, starburst designs are immediate tell-tale signs of mid-century modern living rooms. Consider turning one of them into an eye-catching focal point (for example, by placing it above a long cabinet).
Mid-Century Modern Artwork
Abstract shapes and colors that pop are a must in mid-century modern artwork and prints! Adding one in this style is guaranteed to make your living room stand out (and don't be afraid to go big).
Playing with Light
You can create a different ambiance in your mid-century modern living room with simple tricks of light: window shades, in particular, are impeccable at casting intriguing shadows onto your floor and furniture. Still, don't forget to add a floor lamp too for some task lighting when it gets dark!
Space, space, space
When we think of original mid-century modern living rooms, we often picture small spaces brimming full of decorative items. However, you can most definitely create an airier setting, too! Just stick to a smaller, selected number of furniture pieces and place them in a way that enhances the room's visual flow.
Large mirrors can help you create an illusion of space. If you're worried that your mid-century modern living room feels a little small, you can always experiment with this handy solution.
Neutral colors like gray or white are safe and timeless choices, but you can still make your mid-century modern living room pop by introducing brighter accents too, especially as pillows or throws.
A Strong Retro Feel
Forget small nods! You can definitely go overboard with your mid-century modern living room by reinforcing its signature warm palette, introducing vintage accessories, and choosing geometric patterns for your curtains and rugs.
From leather couches to wooden coffee tables, brown is a key color in mid-century modern living rooms. It will help you reinforce this style's warm palette while also inspiring a warm, cozy feel and keeping the entire room pleasantly cohesive.
While we immediately associate them with yellows and browns, mid-century modern living rooms can work just as well with colder palettes. For example, look at these light-blue walls and furniture pieces! And, if you're worried about losing this style's most famous characteristics, you can easily add a few signature elements like the outward-pointing legs of these chairs and table.
Artwork + Palette Combo
If you want to take your interior design skills to the next level, consider this trick: your main artwork could actively complement your mid-century living room's palette. The result? A cohesive feel and an art gallery vibe.
Accents & Details
From the interesting lighting fixture to those outward-pointing legs sticking out of the sofa, this example proves that you can always add layers to your mid-century modern living room by focusing on smaller but key signature details.
For a more subtle feel, you can also consider adding mid-century modern vibes to your Scandinavian interiors by focusing on features like long sofas, starburst shapes, and retro or geometric patterns.
All About Colors
If you're all up for a romanticized version of mid-century modern decor, turn your living room into a burst of colors. Is it just us, or does that geometrical wall look just like a Piet Mondrian painting?
Sure, sofas and chairs are important, but so is what you place in the middle of your seating area: for the strongest mid-century modern vibes, pick a rug with bold geometric patterns!
Starburst Lighting Fixtures
It's easy to focus on items at your eye level, and yet lighting fixtures are just as pivotal when it comes to creating a mid-century modern living room. Guess what? Starburst shapes never disappoint!
The 50s and 60s are synonymous with great music! If that's what's drawn you to mid-century modern living rooms and interiors in the first place, celebrate it by using instruments as wall décor. You can even choose artwork that homages your favorite singers from past decades.
When planning the perfect mid-century modern living room, think beyond your furniture (or… better: above and behind it): walls! Wallpaper is a popular retro choice, but you could also choose a color from this style's signature warm palette.
Not only is orange an extremely mid-century modern color, but it's also one of the most social hues and known to inspire feelings of enthusiasm. Basically, an impeccable choice for your smaller accents!
Warm & Cold Vibes
When done consciously, it's not a bad idea to combine warm and cold hues to achieve a balanced palette. As you can see, it can also help your colors pop. This mid-century modern living room gets extra points for doing so across several items and decorative pieces, such as the rug, wall art, and cushions.
All About Textures
Your mid-century modern living room can be an excuse to experiment with textures, particularly around your seating area: why not chuck a few fluffy pillows or fake fur throws on your retro couch and chairs?
If space isn't really a luxury for you, get creative with the placement of your mid-century modern living room pieces. Using a long sofa to separate this area from the kitchen or dining side of things? A shelf-style bench for additional storage space can easily go right against its back.
Tall ceilings? The most characteristically long mid-century modern living room furniture will already make them visually appealing. Still, you can enhance their verticality even further with taller but slimmer items. For example, look at this dramatic lighting fixture and fireplace!
A Time Machine Effect
Do you secretly want your mid-century modern living room to look as if you've actually time traveled? Then be sure to include some immediately recognizable pieces. You can easily draw inspiration from the style of the globe, coffee table, and lamps in this room.
If you prefer cleaner lines, don't worry: as long as you include some typical furniture (like this long sofa with a low back) and a warm palette, you can still achieve some mid-century modern vibes without them taking over your entire living room.
White & Natural Light
Once again, you can break the rules consciously and still achieve a beautiful mid-century modern living room: instead of darker or warmer palettes, you can opt for airy white. Just be sure to introduce a few signature pieces like starburst shapes or glass tables with wooden legs.
A Hollywood Regency Touch
Since we're already time traveling to the 50s and 60s, why not steal something from the 30s too? Items in different bold colors, unpredictable shapes, and geometric black-and-white patterns can add a Hollywood regency twist to your mid-century modern living room.
Be Bright with Lamps
Shine a light onto your mid-century modern living room with the most creative lamps. As well as versatile table options, consider some attention-grabbing floor models to really make a statement, from arch designs to drum shades.
All About the View
If you're lucky enough to live right next to a breathtaking landscape, why limit yourself to only gaze at it through a small window? Your mid-century modern living room can become an excuse to showcase it (and wow your guests!) thanks to a few see-through wall sections.
While vintage styles are often associated with an abundance of decorative items, you can always decide to maintain a minimalist approach in your mid-century modern living room: fewer furniture pieces, simple lines, and only the items that matter the most.
Step-Down Living Room
A step-down design can make your mid-century modern living room look even more special and cozier by creating the illusion that you're accessing a separate area. This layout will also favor intimate entertaining and friendly catchups as well as increasing your headroom.