The Essential Guide to Crafting a Midcentury Modern Living Room

Tell all ya friends and neighbors!

Midcentury modern design has surged in popularity with its fresh yet timeless aesthetic.

I’ve actually been vehemently opposed to this design style because it felt retro but not vintage, sterile and not classy, but as I’ve gotten older and my design tastes have matured, I’ve grown to love this style.

mid-century modern toddler boy's room feature beadboard wall with plaid wallpaper

We are even redoing Josiah’s new room in mid century modern style and so far, it’s been one of my favorite rooms to design!

If you’re looking to transform your living room into a space that celebrates the iconic style of the mid-20th century, this post is for you so let’s ride Clyde!

Key Features of Midcentury Modern Style

Clean Lines and Minimalist Aesthetics

mid-century modern living room with white walls and leather armchairs

I think as I get older and want less, the minimalist lifestyle and design is so appealing. With midcentury modern design, especially in a living room, furniture and decor often feature sleek, clean lines without lots of fancy extras.

Organic, Geometric Shapes

mid century modern living room with white walls, white sofa and geometric patterned art above sofa

This design style incorporates both organic shapes, drawing inspiration from nature, and geometric forms, creating a visually interesting space that feels balanced and cohesive.

Mixed Materials

mid century modern living room with white walls and light tan sofa. there are also cognac leather armchairs and a marble and metal coffee table

Mid-century modern living rooms typically showcase a variety of materials including wood (especially teak, walnut, oak, and rosewood), metal, glass, vinyl, and even lucite. The texture contrasts add depth and interest to the space.

Warm, Earthy Color Palette

birds eye view of a mid century modern living room with gray sofa and wood coffee table and arm chairs

This is another draw for me. It just feels so cozy. The colors often are warmer colors like mustard yellow, olive green, and brown, all complemented by shades of white, gray, and black to create that warm vibe that so many (including myself) love.

Statement Lighting

We talk a lot about lights over here. Flipping houses, you should see the amount of modern lights we get from Amazon that are show stoppers.

large living room painted white with vaulted ceilings and a green velvet sectional in the style of mid-century modern

Much like me, mid century modern lighting is often dramatic and makes a statement. In a space like a living room, light fixtures can serve as art pieces.

Look for iconic mid-century designs like a Sputnik chandelier, Arco floor lamp, or globe pendant lights that can act as focal points in the room.

Functional Furniture

birds eye view of cozy and warm mid century modern living room with vintage rug and blue sofa

Furniture pieces are practical and designed for comfortable living, often times featuring slim legs to create a sense of lightness to the space.

Natural Elements

mid century modern living room with tan furniture and a white fireplace call with wood beams on the ceiling

Y’all all know I’m a plant killer, but I love a good faux plant and plants are a staple in mid century modern design. But incorporating plants and natural materials like wood and stone helps to bring the outdoors in, aligning with the mid-century modern ethos of harmony between interior spaces and nature.


mid-century modern living room with black leather armchairs with wood frame and white walls

Bare wood, tile, or vinyl floors are the norm, usually jazzed up with some area rugs. Rugs that rock abstract patterns or a shaggy style can really bring in some warmth and texture to the room.

Abstract Patterns

mid century modern living room with tan furniture and a white fireplace call with geometric art above the fireplace

Even though mid-century modern design usually keeps it simple, throwing in some bold patterns with area rugs, throw pillows, or wall art is totally expected for adding a splash of vibrancy and interest. It makes every mid century space unique

Open Floor Plan

mid century modern open concept living room with wood arm chairs with black cushions and white walls with large fiddle leaf fig in the corner

It’s not always possible, but if it is, aim for the open and airy layout that encourages social interaction and also maximizes your natural light.

This might also mean opting for furniture that doesn’t obstruct views and allows for easy movement through the space.

Selecting the Right Furniture

Key Furniture Pieces to Look For

Start with foundational items like a characteristic midcentury sofa. Then, accentuate with armchairs, side tables, and storage solutions that feature the style’s signature features. Don’t forget the accessories—items like bookends, mirrors, and tabletop decor to finish off the look.

Shopping for Authentic Midcentury Pieces

If authenticity is important to you, consider shopping for vintage pieces. Estate sales, online marketplaces like Facebook, and specialized furniture stores often have a treasure trove of original midcentury furniture.

For those who prefer modern convenience, hit up a store like Crate and Barrel, West Elm, or CB2.

Playing with Textures

mid century modern living room with wood accent fireplace wall and tan leather furniture

To create a well-rounded aesthetic, play with a variety of textures. Upholstery in rich, tactile fabrics, textured walls, and area rugs with geometric or organic patterns are all great ways to add depth to your living room.

Creating a midcentury modern living room is super fun and lets you mix the old with the new in your design choices.

bird's eye view of mid century modern living room with tan sofa and cognac leather arm chairs

Just follow the tips in this guide, and you’ll be on your way to making a space that not only looks great but also celebrates the cool vibe and lasting charm of the midcentury style.

Give your living space a makeover with our ultimate guide to midcentury modern design. Check out cool features like minimalist vibes, a mix of materials, and bold lighting to make your living room timeless yet fresh.

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