Mid-Century Modern Living Room Ideas
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Natural Wood Elements
Mid-Century Modern chairs, cabinets, and tables are often made using real wood because it is a durable and handsome material. The woodgrain pattern brings textural interest to this iconic furniture, while the wood itself makes for a resilient construction. When furnishing your living room, choose furniture crafted, at least in part, from unpainted wood that prominently displays the natural beauty of woodgrain.
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A sophisticated complement to wooden legs and chair frames, leather upholstery is a luxurious element that is used liberally throughout Mid-Century furnishings. Leather is available in many different colors, which makes it easy to find one that is right for you and your living room. Sofas, lounge chairs, and throw pillows upholstered in leather can all help you achieve an authentic modern look in your living room.
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Bold wallpaper is just as essential to a Mid-Century living room as natural woodgrain. Use wallpaper with striking geometric patterns, complex motifs, and vivid colors reminiscent of abstract art to complement your Mid-Century wall clocks, light fixtures, furniture, and decorations. For a living room with an earthy color scheme, find geometric wallpaper in shades of green, brown, and grey. If you want a look that really pops, use wallpaper with irregular patterns in primary colors. For subtle refinement, find wallpaper with gold-tone or chrome accents.
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The lofty artistry of Mid-Century Modern design is chic and stylish, but it also relies on homey elements that add a grounded and cozy effect. Tweed, twill, broadcloth, and other textured fabrics can give a living room a touch of homespun warmth that will make your space feel inviting and comfortable as well as fashionable. Use armchairs, ottomans, and cushions upholstered in textured fabrics to soften the clean lines and prominent angles of your Mid-Century decor.
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The Mid-Century Modern living room incorporates a diverse variety of materials and elements to make it look effortlessly eclectic. To accomplish this worldly look, find furniture that is built with several different materials. Wooden armchairs with tweed upholstery, a hardwood table with hairpin metal legs, and glass shelves on polished metal frames can all diversify your living room look while contributing to a unified and inclusive theme.
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As a rule, Mid-Century Modern design features a lot of wide open space with natural light that illuminates clean and orderly decor. An airy, well-lit living room feels more inviting and fresh than one that is cluttered and dim. To accomplish this look, furnish your living room with neat, compact furniture and tidy wall art arrangements that leave plenty of space to move and breathe.
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Mid-Century Modern design is all about harmony and balance, which explains why neutral, earthy tones are the principal colors found in this design scheme. Shades of brown, cream, olive, and grey can provide a mellow backdrop for the expressive shapes and forms of your furniture and decorations. Because wood is so dominant in Mid-Century furnishings, a living room filled with earthy tones is often a happy coincidence when using Mid-Century furniture.
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Bold, Saturated Colors
Of course, Mid-Century decor is bold as well as balanced, so tastefully interrupting your earth-tone backdrop with splashes of saturated color is encouraged. Saturated colors are pure and unfiltered versions of themselves, making them more vivid than other hues. Placing a lively orange sofa, a set of striking blue throw pillows, or a lime green table lamp against a brown-and-cream color scheme can give your living room the dramatic flair that Mid-Century style is known for.
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Modern deco, atomic, and other retro patterns are a staple of Mid-Century interior design. These abstract patterns have many variations, but they are typically geometric and orderly, like paintings you would find in a museum of modern art. Use wall art, pillows, and comforters with geometric patterns in vibrant colors to achieve this retro look.
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Furniture legs that are angled slightly outward and taper toward the bottom are iconic of Mid-Century Modern style. These legs are often used to support large furniture pieces like cabinets, sofas, and entertainment centers, but they also look great on chairs and tables. Pairing slender legs with larger pieces of furniture gives your furnishings a stylish and weightless appearance.
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Noguchi-style Coffee Table
Originally designed by the American-Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi, the Noguchi-style coffee table is the perfect fusion of function and beauty. The table features a triangular glass tabletop with rounded edges resting on two wooden legs. These legs are curved in opposite directions and stacked horizontally on top of each other. The piece is widely regarded as a marvelous example of Mid-Century art that just happens to double as a sturdy coffee table.
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Retro Television Console
The 1950s were the beginning of television's golden age. Back then, TVs were heavy pieces of furniture that required sturdy legs of their own, so there were virtually no entertainment centers or cabinets designed for them. Now that televisions are sleek and slim, you can accomplish the Mid-Century look with television consoles reminiscent of those early designs. Pair your flat screen TV with a sizeable wooden media center that features sharp angles and slender legs.
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An arc lamp is a distinctive floor lamp that rests on a sturdy base and drapes a single downlight pendant at the end of a long, curved arch. This design lends graceful curvature to your living room while also providing plenty of light. The shape of arc lamps makes them perfect for positioning light directly over a sofa or armchair. Many variations on this design are available, ranging from minimalist fixtures with chrome finishes to inventive options that are almost sculptures as much as they are lamps.
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Low-Profile Sofas and Armchairs
Low-profile sofas and armchairs with plush cushions and luxurious upholsteries are the seating of choice for Mid-Century Modern living rooms. They free up visual space by taking up less room than traditional chairs while also providing luxurious comfort that encourages relaxed lounging. For your living room, find a low-profile sofa or some armchairs with angular silhouettes, clean lines, and tapered wooden legs.
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Abstract art strips visual art down to its basics by using colors, shapes, and lines to be expressive but not representative. This makes abstract paintings and sculptures perfect for decorating a Mid-Century modern space. Artists like Andy Warhol, Ad Reinhardt, Helen Frankenthaler, and Jackson Pollock were all famous in the '50s and early '60s, so hanging prints of their work is a great way to capture the artistic style of the era.
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Bringing nature into the home was important to Mid-Century designers, so potted plants were one of the key elements of interior design at the time. Real plants help a space feel livelier by adding pops of vibrant green color while also keeping the inside air fresh. When you are decorating your living room, place a potted plant in an empty corner of the room or fill a window ledge with greenery for a natural aesthetic that will perfectly complement your Mid-Century decor.
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Sculptural Table Lamps
Mid-Century Modern lamps are never just sources of light. They are also stylish sculptures with intriguing shapes, and their designs range from subtly curious to flamboyant and subversive. This diversity allows you to find one that suits your taste. For bolder living rooms, use an unusual lamp with an eye-catching structure. In a calmer living room, choose a more minimalistic lamp design with a simple artistic flair.
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Mid-Century Lounge Chair
This chair is often paired with a matching footstool, and both pieces are typically crafted from curved wood with metal bases and black leather upholstery. Ray and Charles Eames, a married couple who also collaborated on artistic projects in the '50s, designed the iconic Eames lounge chair which other Mid-Century chairs are often made to resemble. While variations do exist, most Mid-Century lounge chairs stick to the classic Eames style for a truly Modern look.
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Named after the first satellite ever sent into orbit, these chandeliers are one of the most beautiful pieces of decor inspired by the space race. Made to loosely resemble the original Sputnik, these chandeliers feature polished metal surfaces and spindly arms with lights fixed at the ends. Whether hung in the living room or suspended over a dining table, a Sputnik chandelier can give your home an unmistakable Mid-Century aesthetic.
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Large Geometric Area Rugs
To tie your Mid-Century living room together, use a large area rug printed with a bold geometric pattern that amplifies the room's color scheme. The rug can be high-pile, low-pile, shaggy, or plush depending on your preference. What's important is a geometric pattern that can ground the airy space while also providing stylish flair.