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How to: create a mid-century modern living room

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Olivia Lowry
How to: create a mid-century modern living room

Clean, classic and effortlessly elegant, mid-century modern interiors are here to stay. This stunning style was made popular by furniture designers and architects in the 1950s and has been going strong ever since. 

Simplicity and quality, traditionally focused pieces are at the heart of this trend. To help you get a feel for the style, and start planning your new interior, we’re taking a closer look at mid-century modern interior design and everything it has to offer.

Mid century modern sofa Model 02 sofa

What is Mid-Century Modern?

Mid-Century Modern is a design style that became popular in the postwar era of the 1950s. It formed a distinct move away from classical design and pushed architects, furniture makers and other artisans to look firmly to the future.


The movement grew out of the Bauhaus design ideas of the 1920s that placed an emphasis on usability. This idea of form-follows-function was incredibly influential in creating the clean, understated aesthetic of the era.

Bauhaus design house

What counts as Mid-Century Modern furniture?

At the base of mid-century modern furnishings, including sofas, armchairs, dining chairs and dining tables, you'll often find wooden feet and frames. By raising furniture off the ground and creating clear space underneath, you'll add a roomier feel to any space. 

Mid-century modern furniture also makes full use of the textures, colours and shapes offered by fabric and upholstery. Rich colours and tactile textiles contrast beautifully with polished wooden frames to create pieces like the Model 02 or the Model 01 that really stand the test of time. 

Model 02 sofa mid century modern design

 Creating a Mid-Century Modern living room

What's really key to creating this interior style is the furniture. Bigger pieces like sofas, coffee tables and armchairs have the largest share of influencing how the room feels. A great place to start is undoubtedly your sofa- choose a rich Teal blue, contemporary warm-toned Brick, or classic Shadow black when it comes to upholstery to achieve a Mid-Century look. 

Model 02 sofa teal

These colour choices are perfect for that all-important contrast between beautiful polished wooden textures, and upholstery fabrics that feel luxurious to the touch.

Most synonymous with Mid-Century design is Teak wood, which is instantly recognisable for its dark, rich complexity. If you're looking for something a little lighter, solid Oak furniture fits the bill too. To tie your space together and make it look effortless, paying attention to matching wood tones across the room will help tie the whole look together.

Side table mid ash wood

Decor for Mid-Century Modern living rooms

Arguably the most fun part about refreshing a space is adding those finishing touches- so satisfying! Start by considering the type of lighting your space needs and how it needs to function, and then invest in pieces that fit with the space you've created. 

Pendants, lamps and sconce lights are key to creating that classic feel when you're creating a mid-century modern living room. Ditch the spotlights and go for stand-out ceiling pendants in gold, silver, white or black block colours that leave the shape of the light to do all the talking. On the ground, large floor lamps that curve over focus points in the room create zones perfect for grabbing a book from a nearby shelf. 

Mid century modern lamp ceiling pendant

Textiles that work with your sofa are important too. Go for geometric motif rugs in classic vintage-inspired colours. The same applies to cushion covers and throws for your sofa, too. Use these colours and shapes as accents to the overall vibe of the room, rather than as statement pieces. Mid-Century modern is all about that understated but cool feel, and by following our guide, you'll be set to impress.

Mid century modern artwork style living room

As the mid-century modern aesthetic never really goes out of style, sourcing both original and reproduction furnishings and accessories is relatively easy. This can allow you to find the pieces that really work for your home and your interior design style.

Mid century modern hallway with chairs, table and classic globe pendant ceiling light feature. Teak wood staircase

Although it’s easy to go overboard with the mid-century modern look, this clean, uncluttered style lends itself perfectly to more minimal spaces. Holding back on the ornaments and accessories will allow your beautiful pieces of mid-century modern furniture to really shine.

Feeling inspired? Explore Swyft's mid-century modern sofas here, and beautiful mid-century modern coffee tables here.  

If you liked this article, why not browse: 7 Side Table Decor Ideas, Contemporary Armchair Buying Guide, or Comfy Reading Nook Ideas.

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