Mid-Century Modern Living Rooms: A Step-by-Step Design Guide

Mid-Century Modern Living Rooms: A Step-by-Step Design Guide

Is your living room in need of a refresh? Are you drawn to the simple, clean lines and cool aesthetics of mid-century modern design? If so, this step-by-step guide is for you! We will show you how to create a stylish and comfortable living space that will wow your guests and make everyone feel right at home. Let's get started.

What is mid-century modern design?

Mid-century modern design is a style of architecture, interior design and product design that began in the middle of the 20th century. The term "mid-century modern" has been used to describe design from the 1930s to the 1960s, but it is most commonly associated with design from the 1950s and 1960s. Mid-century modern design is characterized by clean lines, minimalism and a focus on function. It is often considered a reaction to the ornate and often cluttered design of the Victorian era.

Mid-century modern designers sought to create a more user-friendly and efficient style of design, one that would be suited to the needs of the modern world. Some of the most iconic mid-century modern designs include the Eames Lounge Chair, the Nelson Platform Bench and the Stilnovo Chandelier. Today, mid-century modern design is enjoying a revival, as more people are drawn to its simplicity and functionality.

Key features of mid-century modern

Mid-century modern is a popular design style that typically includes simple, clean lines and minimalist details. One of the key features of this style is herringbone flooring. This type of flooring consists of rectangular tiles that are arranged in a distinctive zigzag pattern. It is often made from materials like wood or stone, however, you can save bags of time and money by using herringbone tiles. In addition to herringbone flooring, mid-century modern designs often include other simple geometric shapes, like circles and squares. These shapes are often used in furniture, lighting, and accessories. By incorporating these key features into your home, you can easily create a stylish and timeless mid-century modern look.

How are mid-century modern living rooms laid out?

The mid-century modern living room is a special type of room that is designed to be both comfortable and stylish. This type of room is typically laid out in a way that is open and airy, with plenty of natural light coming in. The furniture in a mid-century modern living room is typically very simple and streamlined, with clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic. The focus is on function over form, and the goal is to create a space that is both stylish and comfortable.

In terms of layout, mid-century modern living rooms often have a central seating area with a coffee table or ottoman. The furniture is arranged in a way that promotes conversation and easy movement around the room. There are often standout pieces, like an art piece or a rug, that add interest and visual appeal. The overall goal is to create a space that is inviting and comfortable, perfect for entertaining or relaxing.

Blending organic shapes and materials

The mid-century modern style is characterized by clean lines, natural materials, and a focus on functionality. Mid-century living rooms often feature organic shapes and a mix of wood, glass, leather and steel. One key element of this style is the use of large windows. These windows help to create a space flooded with natural light, while also growing a connection to the outdoors.
Another common feature of mid-century living rooms is the use of comfortable, low-slung furniture. This furniture is often made from natural materials such as leather or wool. The goal is to create a relaxed and inviting space that is perfect for entertaining or simply spending time with family.

Opt for functional furniture

Mid-century furniture is making a comeback in a big way. And it is no wonder why. This style of furniture is not only stylish but is also very functional. Unlike many other styles of furniture, mid-century furniture is designed with both form and function in mind. Every piece has a purpose, and each component serves a specific function. As a result, mid-century furniture is perfect for small spaces. It is also very versatile and can be used in a variety of different rooms.

Create atmosphere with mid-century lighting

The best way to set the atmosphere in any room is with the right lighting. If you want to create a mid-century modern vibe, then you need to find some appropriate lighting fixtures. A great place to start is with pendant lights. These days, there are plenty of options available that would have been right at home in a mid-century setting. Look for ones made from glass, brass or copper, with simple organic shapes.

Another option is wall sconces. These can provide a softer, more ambient light, perfect for setting the mood in a living room or bedroom. Once you have found the right lighting fixtures, do not be afraid to experiment with different bulb types. Incandescent bulbs will give off a warm, inviting glow, while LED bulbs can provide a more modern look. Whichever route you choose, remember that the key to creating atmosphere in a mid-century interior is all about carefully chosen lighting.

Don’t forget mid-century textiles

Despite the focus often landing on statement furniture and artwork, it's important not to forget about the use of textiles. From rugs and blankets to cushions, fabrics can add depth to a space and prevent it from looking too clinical. They're also practical, adding another layer of comfort and functionality to your living spaces. Try using a faux fur rug, a vintage woven blanket or copper-coloured cushions to create a level of comfort in your space.

Incorporating colours into your mid-century interior

Mid-century interior design is all about creating a simple, elegant space. However, that does not mean that your home has to be bland. One way to add a touch of personality to your mid-century home is to incorporate colours into your design scheme. When used judiciously, colours can help to highlight the best features of your space and create visual interest.

When selecting colours, consider both the tones and the shades. For example, pale pink can add a touch of femininity to a space, while a vibrant lime green can add a pop of energy. You can also use colour to create a sense of cohesion throughout your home. For instance, if you have an open-plan living area, you could paint the walls and ceilings in the same colour to create a feeling of continuity. However, remember that mid-century interiors are based around minimalism; try and use bright colours strategically and sparsely to retain the overall look.

Who were key designers of mid-century modern?

Mid-century modern is a term used to describe a style of design that became popular in the middle of the 20th century. The look is characterized by clean lines, simplicity, and a focus on function. Mid-century modern designers were inspired by the geometric forms of Brutalist architecture and the streamlined aesthetic of Bauhaus design.
Key designers of mid-century modern include Eero Saarinen, George Nelson, and Charles and Ray Eames. These designers created some of the most iconic pieces of furniture of the era, including the Tulip chair, the Ball clock, and the Lounge chair. Their work helped to define the mid-century modern aesthetic and continues to influence design today.


Mid-century modern is a timeless style of design that can add a touch of elegance to any home. If you are looking to incorporate this look into your own space, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, mid-century design is all about simplicity and functionality. Second, key features of the style include clean lines, organic shapes, and a focus on colour. And finally, mid-century design is characterized by a mix of different influences, from Bauhaus to Brutalism. By keeping these things in mind, you can create a space that is both stylish and unique.

Feeling inspired? Check out our other mid-century edits:

Mid-Century Modern: A Beginner's Guide

Mid-Century Bedrooms

Mid-Century Kitchens

Mid-Century Furniture

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