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6 effortlessly cool mid-century modern living room ideas

Mid century modern living room

WordsMegan Lambert

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If you’ve ever watched an episode of Mad Men, you’ll know exactly what we mean. A natural follow on from the modern decor trend, popularised in the early 20th-century, mid-century modern decor rose to its height of popularity in the mid-1900s. Coined in 1984 by author Cara Greenberg in her book, Mid Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s, the term has become an everyday word, and the style has never been more in vogue. So if you’re looking for a living room that’s functional and fuss-free but, more importantly, a style that’s very attainable, you might just fall for these 6 effortlessly cool mid-century modern living room ideas.

Mid-century modern living room idea: a warm color palette

From warm woods to warm paints, there’s an almost retro element to a mid-century color palette. Whether that’s tonal neutrals or bolder colors, there has to be a warm and welcoming element to mid-century decor, especially in your living room. Be it rich Red 03 to almost ochre Yellow 02, bring a bit of that vibrant retro feel into your home.

Mid-century modern living room idea: warm wood panelling

When choosing your mid-century furnishings, opt for warm wood panelling. Look out for woods with rich, red tones like cherry wood, which was hugely popular at the time. An oversized vintage sideboard makes for a statement piece in a living room and is a clear sign of a mid-century inspired home. If you’re not sure how to work with warm woods, take a look at the best paint colors to pair with wood.

PHOTO: Roger Davies DESIGN: Michael Boyd

​​Mid-century modern living room idea: retro lighting

As mid-century decor is about minimal styling, statement light features are the perfect way to add striking design elements whilst also being functional. There’s no better example of this than Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke Pendant Light. A mid-century modern reimagining of a traditional chandelier is no less grand yet feels much more at home in a suburban living room than a crystal chandelier would. Whilst the same can’t be said about the price tag for an original, its style has informed designers for decades, and you’ll find lots of modern pendant lighting styles inspired by its sleek and natural look.

Mid century modern living room
Isabelle Feliu via Curated interior

Isabelle Feliu Via curated interior

Mid-century modern living room idea: streamlined sofas and armchairs

The iconic furnishings of mid-century modern decor is what most people think about when they envisage this style. It was all about reimaging traditional styles in a more streamlined and functional way. Take the classic leather English club chair—a favorite in gentleman’s club and drawing rooms across the country—was reimagined as the infinitely more comfortable and effortlessly sleek, Eames Lounge Chair. Whilst hefty, chintzy sofas were transformed into simpler, more modular designs.

A Remodeled Mid-Century Eichler Home in Northern California (Image credit: Esteban Cortez) via Apartment Therapy

Mid-century modern living room idea: large house plants

Speaking of the natural world, oversized plants are a big part of mid-century modern decor. Choose the best indoor plants according to your decor style by opting for a fully-grown fiddle leaf fig or create that luscious feel with a deliciosa monstera—otherwise known as a Swiss cheese plant. Not only will these soften what can be quite a linear and sleek design style, but they will also add a splash of natural color.

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