10 Mid-Century Modern Interior Design Trends in 2024 (With Pictures)
Mid-century modern design is a wide subject that spans multiple decades and various distinct looks. If you are looking to add some mid-century modern design elements to the interior spaces of your home but don’t know where to start, we have you covered. Mid-century design spans from the late 1930s through the early 1960s and encompasses bright colors, clean lines, utilitarian design, and visible storage.
Here are 10 mid-century modern interior design ideas to inspire your next project.
The 10 Mid-Century Modern Interior Design Ideas For Your Home
1. Use Pops of Bright Colors…
The 1940s and 1950s were known for splashes of bright colors intermixed in basic interior design. If you’ve ever seen the loud pink and yellow kitchens of the 1950s, you get the idea. There was vibrant artwork, painted cabinets, and colorful wallpaper that added to the trend. Adding pops of bright primary colors is a great way to acknowledge the past while adding some flavor to your design. Colors are a great way to personalize a space by tying in different accessories, artwork, and meaningful objects.
2. …Or Earthy Tones
At the tail end of the 1950s, the design philosophy began to change. The 1960s saw a much greater emphasis on darker earth tones than the brightly colored primary pallets of the 1950s. This pivot marked a change and a desire to move away from the previous decade. Today, earth tones and natural influences harken back to this time in the 1960s, when smoky grays, warm browns, and soft greens were all the rage. Those colors are also extremely popular in the present design philosophy.
3. Add Mid-Century Storage
Closets were not as prevalent as they are today in houses built in the 1950s and 1960s. The lack of closets meant that storage had to be found via furniture and shelving. Mid-century rooms have more furniture and more shelving than typical modern rooms. If you want to add some mid-century flair to your current design, consider repurposing some old furniture into some in-room storage. The results can take a basic living space and spruce it up with some character, some color, and a nod to the original mid-century houses and homeowners that did not have as many closets.
4. Add Retro Seating
One of the biggest pillars of mid-century design is the style of seating that was used. Mid-century seating was curvy, simple, and elegant. Many chairs had no armrests. Many chairs were oval-shaped. These unique chairs were used simultaneously as seating for guests, as an accent piece, and as a way to bring color into a space. One of the easiest ways to bring a mid-century modern feature into your room is to add a mid-century modern style chair. One or two of these eye-catching seats will take a room from modern to mid-century modern in a snap.
5. Utilize Funky Lighting Fixtures
Mid-century modern designs thrive on central lighting fixtures that go above and beyond the ordinary. Using large, branching overhead lighting instantly adds a dash of character and mid-century modern flavor to any space. There are horizontal light fixtures that feature eight bulbs and are perfect for hanging over an island or artistic lighting rings that are perfect for any kitchen. You can even add retro globe-style lights as floor lamps in your living spaces to add extra charm.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Blend Old and New
Seeking out mid-century modern inspiration doesn’t mean that your house has to look like it stepped out of 1962 into 2022. The modern in mid-century modern has changed. What was modern in 1962 is no longer modern today. The current mid-century modern design trends blend modern and ultra-modern concepts with choice inspiration from the mid-century period. The result is an updated mid-century modern that looks like a tasteful blend of yesterday and today rather than simply feeling like yesterday. Use ultra-modern design features in your house, add personal touches and choose the colors you like rather than falling back on what was popular back in the day. The results will be stunning.
7. Use Wood Paneling As An Accent
Wood paneling was notably (and infamously) prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s. That means you can’t truly explore mid-century modern design without acknowledging the role that wood paneling played in that era. That doesn’t mean you have to slap outdated wood paneling on your walls for the sake of retro-chic sensibilities, but you can use mid-century wood paneling as an accent. In the right space with the right accents, a wood paneling feature can add warmth and charm. Pair with earth tones from the 1960s for the best results.
8. Mirrors Were All The Rage
No one is going to seriously use mirrored paneling on three walls of a room in today’s world. However, those garish designs featuring floor-to-ceiling mirrors are a good reminder that mirrors were all the rage back in the day. A good way to add a splash of mid-century modern taste to your current design is to use mirrors to add accents. Mirrors were used to make cramped spaces feel larger in the 1960s, and today they can be tasteful additions to an otherwise clean and classic room. Mirrors are not super prevalent in ultra-modern design, so using them will soften your current look and harken back to the days when mirrors were seriously groovy.
Scandinavian minimalism and slender design choices in the 1960s heavily influenced many aspects of mid-century modern aesthetics. The clean lines, utilitarian construction, and basic configurations scream mid-century modern. Scandinavian furniture, artwork, rugs, and room layouts made a lasting impact on the European design scene and, more recently, the American design scene. If you find yourself thinking that a space or an idea feels too Scandinavian, that’s a good thing. That means you are on the right track for nailing that blended mid-century modern look that modern designers crave.
10. Don’t Be Afraid of Bold Wallpaper
Busy wallpaper with bold patterns is back in style, and the inspiration for the newest wallpaper designs is coming straight out of 1958. mid-century modern design uses a lot of loud wallpapers to create contrast and add volume to a room. Do not be afraid to use bold wallpaper as an accent or even as the main feature in a room. mid-century modern design can utilize wallpaper almost anywhere. Wallpaper can be put in the kitchen, the bathrooms, the bedrooms, and the living room. With the right colors and flow, the wallpaper will add a unique and arousing element of style to your space.
Where To Get Mid-Century Inspiration
If you are searching for authentic examples of mid-century design, there are a few places that you can look. One of the best places to seek out inspiration is from old television programs and movies. Films that were produced and take place in the 1950s and 1960s will show off some great and authentic examples of how spaces looked during this time period. Sitcoms from this era are a great way to peer into the living rooms of the early 1960s and pick out some choice inspiration.
Ikea is one of the best places for the average homeowner looking for a place to get some mid-century modern art, furniture, and storage. Ikea thrives on some classic mid-century modern tropes and has transported the Scandinavian minimalism made popular in the 1960s to a new modern audience.
Whether you are looking to add a painting or a rug to a space or give it a full remodel, there are ideas here that will transport you back to the 1950s while still maintaining the best of today’s aesthetic design. Mid-century modern is very popular and for a good reason. Mid-century modern design is simple, elegant, and versatile. All you have to do is choose what direction you want to go and dive in.
Featured Image Credit: daniil silantev, Unsplash