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How To Decorate: Mid-Century Modern Style

The term ‘Mid-Century’ refers to the design style that was dominant throughout the 1940’s to 1960’s. It is an iconic decorating style that furniture and homewares take inspiration from still to this day. In 2023 we are seeing this design style having a resurgence and gaining popularity once more, so what better time to dive into the details of what Mid-Century Modern style incorporates!



The Furniture

Mid-Century modern style has a focus on functionality first and foremost when it comes to furniture pieces. It makes sense given the period of time in history as it represented the focus on maintaining a strong family unit and spending time in the home. The mid-century style of furniture is often referred to as a ‘rebellion’ against the much frillier and ornate pieces seen throughout previous generations. Most furniture pieces such as buffets, console tables, dining tables and more were made from timber in variations such as teak, rosewood and walnut. The richness of these timbers paired well with the colour palette of the time, which we will get into further below. When designing a space in mid-century modern style it is important that all timber furniture pieces complement each other and there are no clashing shades or tones. Throughout this era, we also saw the rise of some classic furniture styles that are still popular today such as the Eames chair, egg chair and wishbone dining chair.


The Colours

The colour palette for Mid-century modern style is one of the most iconic throughout design history. There was an emphasis on bold tones with depth and muddiness to create an overall brave, yet practical look. The main colours used in paint, wallpaper, soft furnishings and home décor pieces were deep brown, burnt orange, pale yellow, muddy green and striking crimson. This palette reflected the highlight on functionality and practicality as it steered away from any whites or cool greys and leant into colours seen more in nature. Colour is one of the main design elements of Mid-century modern style and it was used in unexpected and bold ways. Bright colours were seen in items such as sofas, wall paint, rugs, wallpaper and kitchen cabinetry to name a few.

The Shapes & Textures

The true testament of a great interior design style is when glancing at a space or a piece of furniture, you automatically know it is Mid-Century modern style. This style has distinct features in the shapes, textures, patterns and colours used to create a bold and unforgettable look. Bright and fun choices were made in finishes such as vinyl flooring, shag pile carpet, cabinetry and benchtops. Bold and geometric patterns also reigned supreme and were used in wallpaper, rugs and home décor pieces. Another key element of mid-century modern style is the use of clean lines, curved edges and large rounded shapes in the furniture. We have seen furniture items such as sofas and armchairs leaning into this style in recent years and believe it is gaining in popularity.


Incorporating The Style Today

As Mid-century modern style is becoming more popular through home design, furniture and décor pieces in 2023 it is important to learn how to incorporate this style into your home in a modern way if you wish to embrace this classic look. We recommend picking and choosing key pieces in a space that lean into the style such as a buffet, a dining suite or bedside tables. Freedom and Nick Scali have some great pieces that have a nod to mid-century modern style that would work perfectly.
Try adding bold colours and geometric shapes in soft furnishings such as bed linen, cushions and throw rugs to lean into this look in a fun and easy way. The key to nailing this style in a modern and contemporary way is to select key pieces and aspects of your space and not go overboard. Remember to stick to rich timbers, functional furniture, curved shapes and bold colours and you will be on your way to mid-century style in no time!

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