10 Elements of Mid-Century Style  

10 Elements Of Mid-Century Style

After almost eight years on the air, the period drama, Mad Men, has grown to become a must-see show for décor fans and design professionals. We’d even go so far as to say it became a boon to the home furnishings market. The interiors in the show, which were conceived by designer, Dan Bishop, explored an array of popular styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Looking like the rooms had been plucked right from the pages of vintage magazines, viewers got to see the French Provincial bedroom of Betty and Don Draper and their American Colonial Revival Kitchen. It was Don Draper’s workplace and penthouse, though, that seemed to resonate the most powerfully, bringing mid-century modernism back to the masses and becoming almost a kind of design shorthand.

The décor, furniture, and even the rugs introduced in the 1950s and 1960s were sophisticated, clean, and inclusive. Mid-century designs have seemed to remain a staple in interior design. So let’s take a look at the fundamentals of mid-century modern décor.


1. Interior Design Inspirations

From Modern Tiki Lounge

To start with, we need to remember that great interior design always draws bits and pieces of influences from a variety of different areas. The mid-century style was influenced deeply by the hard economic times after World War II. Many people were living without excess, so even the furniture was kept simple and minimalistic.

Nowadays, we live fast-paced lives full of technology and access to information of all kinds at any time of day. As a result, many people long for more simplicity in their lives. This could explain the current rise in popularity of mid-century design.


2. Picking the Right Colors

From Home Designing

Choosing colors is the first step to planning an interior. It’s going to lead your furniture and décor selection. Mid-century colors usually combine saturated accent colors with darker neutral tones.

Always remember to follow the interior design color picking rule of thumb, the 60-30-10 rule. The room colors should be 60% dominant base color, mixed with 30% secondary color and 10% accent color. Try to avoid choosing more than 3 or 4 colors.

Despite the minimalistic designs in the mid-century era, bright, cold colors and patterns in textiles and fabrics would bring out the essence of a mid-century home. This was truly liberating to the interior décor of this time and worked to create new freedoms of expression and creativity to bring homes to life.


3. Furniture Design Options

From Brit+Co

Mid-century furniture can be easily identified by the clean, straight lines accented with curved, smooth angles. It’s seldom that they feature any fancy upholstery or ornamentation. The minimalist design of this era commonly relies on wooden construction, but there are times when it can include metal or fiberglass. Typically, the furniture will have one or two colors and little to no patterns.


4. Rugs and Décor


Identifying the right mid-century patterns is important when picking the right décor and rugs. As the harbinger of modern design, mid-century modern décor loves abstract, asymmetrical patterns. Pure mid-century designs typically do not use rustic elements like aged metal or unfinished wood, but if you’re feeling creative, there’s nothing wrong with bending the rules just a little.

If you want to, go ahead and choose decor and rugs with just a solid color, or even patterns that aren’t quite from the 1950s or 1960s. Go on, be creative! Use your judgment to identify exactly what fits with your unique mid-century pieces.


5. Lighting Ideas and Tips

XP07 by Nourison

Mid-century table and floor lamps can either sport geometric, straight lines, or a curved, round contour. The contrasts offer a bold position for lighting in any room. Most lamps are made of finished metal but occasionally they may have wood legs. One of the more popular mid-century ceiling lamp designs comprises exposed bulbs on straight rods that radiate out of the center. But there is a range of options available.


6. Walls

From vall.bayedsolid.com

While sterile walls can help you maintain that minimalist appearance, there are other design options to employ on the walls of a mid-century home.

Exposed wooden framework and walls were trademarks of mid-century design. Another popular look during this time period is bold, geometric wallpaper that covers the wall. If the idea of a complete wallpaper makeover sounds a little scary, you could stick to white or neutral walls and let the furniture or a few pieces of art take center stage.



7. Flat Planes


From Decoist.com

Mid-century houses boasted geometric lines and retro patterns. This era delighted in bare elements, such as exposed light bulbs, stripped lamps, and exposed industrial materials such as concrete, wood and metal. Furniture would boast glass elements and textiles were fluffy and unprocessed. Flat roofs were common, although ranch-style homes did have gable roofs.


8. Large Windows

Expansive panes of glass and glass sliding doors are ideal for letting plenty of light to flow into rooms from a range of angles. Mid-century is all about light, bright environments along with bright wood details. It’s also about accentuated comfort and casualness, not luxurious details. To keep to the theme of light and bright, sofas, kitchens, walls and floors would usually be white with the odd metallic feature.


9. Changes in Elevation

From 2Modern

Small steps between rooms would create split-level spaces. A mid-century modern space may have partial walls or even cabinets of varying heights to create varying depths in the space. Speaking of space, one key piece of furniture unique to mid-century modern style is the bar cart –no room is complete without one!


10. Integration With Nature

From Freshome

Mid-century modern rooms tend to have multiple outdoor views or even multiple access points to encourage an appreciation of healthy living.


If you’re going mid-century modern, which rugs will you choose to compliment your décor? Take a look at the selection at Plush Rugs today.

Shibui by Surya

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