Mid-century modern living room ideas – 10 expert ways to introduce this timeless trend

With its classic looks and pared-back style, Mid-century modern living room ideas are enduringly popular – and it is easy to see why this look is revered so highly, even now. 
Spanning the decade between the Thirties and the Seventies, these simple shapes were inspired by earlier design movements, including the Bauhaus school in Germany. Materials such as molded plastics allowed designers to explore new textures, colors, and forms.  

Mid-century modern style is characterized by clean straight lines and flowing organic curves. Simplicity in design and styling is key, along with a lack of ornamentation, plus a limited color palette. Although Mid-century modern style was driven by advances in technology, it was also inspired by the natural world, and wood is the most widely used material for furniture. 

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MID-CENTURY MODERN LIVING ROOM IDEAS

Here’s how to get the Mid-century modern look in your living room – in 10 simple ways.

1. INVEST IN WOODEN FURNITURE

Mid-century modern living room ideas with wooden furniture
(Image credit: Future / James Merrell)

Despite the development of innovative new materials such as plastic, fiberglass, and laminates, timber sustained popularity throughout the mid-20th century, with furniture designers favoring durable hardwoods such as teak, cherry, maple, and beech. 

Oozing warmth, character, and famed for its timeless beauty and durability, wood is still one of the most popular materials used in an authentic Mid-century modern living room. For true Mid-century appeal, opt for streamlined timber pieces with tapered legs.

Find somewhere soft to land. Our floor cushions are the super comfy and style-forward option for the boho side of us all. They’re UV coated to protect against fading and water-resistant so you can avoid scrambling to bring them inside whenever there’s a touch of weather. Grab a few to have on hand whenever seating is hard to come by or for a fun option for kids to use out in the yard.

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2. CREATE THE ILLUSION OF SPACE – WITH SLIMLINE FURNITURE

Mid-century modern living room with Scandi influence
(Image credit: Future / Alexander James)

If there’s one thing that’s going to create the illusion of more space in a small living room, it’s investing in the right furniture – it can actually make a room feel wider in seconds. 

Mid-century modern was the unfussy, utilitarian style the defined interior design for the post-war generation. Now its functional, fluid furniture with slimline legs has been adopted by the masses – especially those wanting to give the illusion of space in a tiny room.

Add throw pillows to whatever room needs an extra dose of comfy. Filled with a fluffy faux-down insert, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. Available in four sizes and all measurements are made without pillow insert.

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3. BASE YOUR SCHEME AROUND SYMMETRY 

Mid-century modern living room with symmetry
(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

Symmetry in interior design is introduced to create balance and a feeling of calm – ideal for enhancing space in a Mid-century modern living room. 

If the 1950s architecture of your home is strong and distinctive, an asymmetrical layout will ensure that your scheme remains stylish yet cozy. Get the symmetry right and you can create harmony in every room in your house – and make small spaces feel bigger and tidier.

As experts in the field of sitting down, we thoughtfully crafted our Floor Pillows to be overstuffed, plush and firm. These cushions never lose their shape, and the high-quality print makes sure the design stays crisp and colorful.

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4. ADOPT AUTHENTIC SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN 

Mid-century scandi living room
(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside )

Scandinavian shares many design elements with Mid-century modern for several reasons: pared-back, unfussy, uncluttered spaces and a winning combination of form and function create aesthetically pleasing, yet practical interiors. 

Like the Scandinavian design, the main purpose of the Mid-century modern style is to improve daily life. Furniture is therefore not only about stylish elegance, but also about functionality – it should serve a purpose and stand the test of time. With its streamlined furniture, subtle prints, and Scandi influences, the 1950s style is the perfect choice for 21st-century living. 

Invite the sun inside on your terms. Our blackout window curtains are a denser alternative to your standard window curtain, blocking out most light and proudly featuring your favorite designs. Whether you live in a busy apartment or a peaceful neighborhood, it’s always nice to have the option to shut out the sun and relax inside by candlelight. Available in either single or double panel options.

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5. DECORATE IN A PRIMARY COLOR PALETTE

neutral living room with pops of colour
(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee / Sally Denning)

Using primary colors in a Mid-century modern living room can be done subtly and elegantly to create bright – but understated – space. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. These colors are called primary colors because they cannot be created by combining any other colors. 

A simple and effective way of introducing color into a Mid-century home is through accessories. It is a joyful way of adding to and altering the feel of a room without committing to redecorating whole spaces. 

Here, the warm neutrals used as the main structure for the scheme are very much back in vogue. Earthy naturals, pale plaster pinks, and natural weaves all set the scene elegantly and provide an ideal backdrop for the addition of a few joyful primary colors.

Add throw pillows to whatever room needs an extra dose of comfy. Filled with a fluffy faux-down insert, you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. Available in four sizes and all measurements are made without pillow insert.

<< More Throw Pillow Styles >>

6. DEVISE A CONTEMPORARY TAKE ON MID-CENTURY MODERN

Mid-century modern living room with grey walls and wood furniture
(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

Bring a classic Mid-century look into the 21st-century with modern materials and a soothing color scheme. Grey living rooms are hugely popular, and they can turn a retro scheme into the modern era with aplomb. Grey is the most wanted color after white, and the hue has secured its position as the modern neutral

Use grey to create a harmonious look that will make a great impression in a 1950s living room. Whether it’s pale or slightly darker, grey is a great all-rounder. You can dress it up with unfussy, functional furniture, concrete elements, and houseplants to pay homage to a bygone era.

Our customers tell us ALL the time how soft and warm our Throw Blankets are (the secret: Sherpa fleece). Even better, they get softer the more you wash them. They’re a perfect addition to any living room couch. Featuring a crisp, vivid design on the front with a reverse white side.

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7. BRING WARMTH WITH WOOD PANELLING

Mid-century modern room with wall panelling
(Image credit: Future / Davide Lovatti)

Wood is a key material choice for a Mid-century living room – and if you want to replicate a true Mad Men aesthetic, look no further than wall paneling

Fitting wall paneling horizontally will make a room feel wider or longer, making it a great trick for small rooms, such as a compact living room. Plus, paneling for walls can be a work of art in itself – and it needn’t be solely architectural.

Express your style all over your home with a feature-worthy rug. They’re made from a woven, polyester chenille for a soft and textured look. Plus, choosing from our wide array of designs, you’re sure to find just the rug to match your decor. Rugs are one of the best, attention-grabbing pieces to design a room around. Use the colors within the rug to help choose art prints, furniture fabric, and accent pillows. ( Available in four sizes )

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8. GO FOR A RETRO COLOR SCHEME

Mid-century modern living room with abstract art
(Image credit: Future / Damien Russell)

Bring out your fun side with this free-spirited interiors trend that takes its inspiration from abstract expressionist art of the Fifties and Sixties with bold geometrics, cut-outs, and playful blocks of color.

Unsure whether this look is right for you? Choose this scheme if you’re young at heart and into bold patterns and punchy colors, and take a more playful, irreverent approach when it comes to decor. 

While not for everyone, abstracts have a timeless appeal and versatility that can add impact in a contemporary setting or edge in a more traditional scheme. 

A true statement maker. Our versatile mid-century modern inspired credenzas are great for use as TV stands, armoires, bar carts, office cabinets, or the perfect complement to your bedroom set. The vibrant art printed on the doors will make your piece pop in any setting. Available in a warm, natural birch or a premium walnut finish.

<< More Credenza Styles >>

9. GO BOLD WITH OVERSIZED FLORALS

Mid-century modern living room with florals
(Image credit: Future / Polly Wreford)

Mid-century living room ideas do not have to be devoid of color or pattern. Beautiful blooms are an exquisite and easy way to add life and color to your 1950s interiors. 

The radical, stylised Starflower print, dating to 1967, has a kaleidoscopic quality undoubtedly influenced by the Op Art movement popular of the time. However, if you are after a modern interpretation, look no further than a palette of clashing florals. The bigger – and blowsier – the better.

Express your style all over your home with a feature-worthy rug. They’re made from a woven, polyester chenille for a soft and textured look. Plus, choosing from our wide array of designs, you’re sure to find just the rug to match your decor. Rugs are one of the best, attention-grabbing pieces to design a room around. Use the colors within the rug to help choose art prints, furniture fabric, and accent pillows. ( Available in four sizes )

<< More Rug Styles >>

10. MIX AND MATCH STYLES AND ERAS

Mid-century modern living room with rattan chair

With an emphasis on simple lines and purity of design, combined with the enduring beauty of wood, Mid-century furniture has a timeless appeal, which sits well with other styles both old and new.

Here, we have married 50s utilitarianism with 70s retro extravagance for a truly inspiring clash of styles. Furniture with a striking geometric form will be bold enough to hold its own against fabrics in uplifting vivid shades. This trend gives the traditional Mid-century modern look a contemporary overhaul with a peppier color palette, lighter woods, and practical, functional pieces designed for modern living. 

IMPORTANT: make sure to order enough panels to cover your wall or surface (size options below). Our peel and stick Wallpaper is easy to apply and take off, leaving no adhesive residue. Featuring sharp, vibrant images, Wallpaper patterns are ideal for accent walls, flat surfaces, and temporary installations (like parties!). Available in three floor-to-ceiling sizes.

<< More Wallpaper Artwork Styles >>

HOW DO YOU STYLE A MID-CENTURY MODERN LIVING ROOM?

To style, a Mid-century modern living room invests in unfussy, utilitarian style furniture. Opt for functional, fluid furniture and abstract prints based on natural shapes – rediscovered and reinterpreted for today’s modern interiors and lifestyles. 

For ideas, look to icons like Florence Knoll and Arne Jacobson for inspiration – both of whom were prominent designers during the mid-century modern period. Their work still serves as design inspiration for some of the world’s top creatives.

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