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6 Elements to Nail the Mid-Century Modern Design Aesthetic in Your Home

Blame it on the TV show, Mad Men, or the rising popularity in the HGTV network. Blame it on whatever you’d like, but mid-century modern design has made considerable waves in the home décor world. Even if you aren’t a fan of interior design, you’ve likely heard the term. What is mid-century modern design, anyway? How can you bring a little of this trending aesthetic into your home?

From hairpin table legs to bright splashes of color, we’re going to break this popular design style down for you.

What does Mid-Century Modern Design Mean?

The term itself wasn’t created until the mid-eighties, but it’s an aesthetic that represents the post-World War II practicality. Before WWII, home design was about exorbitant extravagance. Following the war, though, the world started to appreciate a more simplistic feeling in the home.

The fifties were all about optimism. The sixties celebrated earthiness. The seventies design centered around exciting textures and tones. If you mix all of that together with a splash of Scandinavian simplicity, you have mid-century modern.

If it’s still not clear, it’s a play on nostalgia without being overt. It’s an appreciation for timeless and practical design. This home décor trend makes your home charming while remaining cost-effective. For instance, if you compare it to other aesthetics, mid-century modern comes out a clear winner for most people. Minimalism is incredibly hard to nail, and traditional interior design is costly. Mid-century modern allows you to be chic without having to try too hard.

Elements to Include in Your Home

There are several pieces and elements you can include inside your own home to nail this trend. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired.

1. Interesting Lighting

A lot of mid-century modern design plays with lines and shapes. Several lighting pieces play with this element. You can also opt instead for a lamp that exemplifies the fifties or sixties as a statement piece.

2. Thoughtful Pops of Color

Unlike other design aesthetics, this one encourages color play. The colors are typically matte and muted. Think yellow, aqua, or deep oranges. The rule of thumb, though, is to pick a color per room and stick to it. Don’t try to do too many colors at once. Instead, opt for one color story and then amp it up. You can play with textiles, also, as long as they fall within the same color story. Go for it with color, but keep it tasteful.

3. Hairpin Table Legs

A huge element to this design motif is the simplified, streamlined look. There are a lot of metal pieces in mid-century modern design, and hairpin table legs like these Restaurant & Cafe Supplies hairpin legs are a solid way to incorporate this element. Pair the legs with a natural wood top to really nail the overall vibe of industrial meets nature. These legs paired with a wooden top is an example of pairing the practicality of the fifties with the earthiness of the sixties.

4. Interesting Chairs

Post-WWII, everyone was jazzed about new materials, like plastic and acrylic, and they started using those materials in home furnishings. You can play with this via interesting chair choices. Have plastic chairs, or try the more iconic shapes, like the womb chair or a lounge chair, to really make a statement.

5. Vintage Appliances (and statement pieces)

For the kitchen, you can incorporate all the above, but you can really hit the vibe home by having a vintage appliance or two. While they’re a little more expensive, a vintage toaster, or a 1960’s fridge can do wonders for tying the whole look together. The same applies to statement pieces throughout the home. There isn’t a lot of decorations in mid-century modern. Instead, it’s about carefully choosing statement pieces that bring the whole thing together. Think a starburst clock or a large, seventies-inspired rug.

6. Natural Integration

Integrating nature is essential, too. Some people do this by having large windows, or by getting a big fur rug. However, you can incorporate nature simply by including indoor plants or a sitting area outside.

Where Do I Start?

Tackling any home improvement or redecoration is a lot of work. Decide if you want to design your whole home in the mid-century modern aesthetic, or just a couple of areas. Typically, people will do the same aesthetic throughout their entire homes, but it’s not unheard of to just have a mid-century inspired kitchen or office.

Start one piece at a time. Also, it’s smart to start in an area that people frequently visit. So, start with that living area or kitchen, so that your guests can see your beautiful eye for design. Start by choosing a color story or buying a statement piece and building your color story off it. Check out Pinterest or watch Mad Men for some inspiration. Always keep your budget in mind. And remember, it’s your home. If you’re happy with it, that’s all that truly matters.