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Mid-Century Modernize Your Home on a Dime

So, you’ve got your heart set on a beautiful mid-century modern interior design theme. And who could blame you?! The movement that became popular between the 1940s to the 1970s is now one of the most established and celebrated styles worldwide.

With its streamlined shapes and statement furniture, it’s a simple but stylish way to decorate your home.

The movement was given its name by author Cara Greenberg, who wrote the 1983 book: “Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.”

The German art school of Bauhaus (1919-1933) was a key influence for Mid-Century Modern design. Classic architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were inspired by Bauhaus, creating furniture such as the Barcelona chair. Key pieces by the likes of van der Rohe are still being crafted and sold today, keeping the Mid-Century Modern vibe alive.

Of course, classic pieces like the Barcelona chair come with a hefty price tag. We know, it’s heartbreaking.

However, if you aspire to decorate your home mid-century modern, don’t lose all hope. We’ll point you toward some great, affordable pieces that can help you bring the vintage look back to life.

Starting small…

If you can’t quite afford to stretch yourself towards larger pieces of furniture, there are plenty of smaller things you can do to give your home a mid-century modern feel.

  • Photo frames. If you’ve got some snaps you’d like to give pride of place in your home, you can print large versions in gray scale or black/white before buying some relatively cheap photo frames for them. You can monitor a store like Michaels for great deals on classic, black photo frames.
  • Floor lamps. Simple but striking elongated lamps are a feature of mid-century modern fare, and you can even grab those from Target. Often on sale, you can get a stylish lamp for less than $50.
  • Plenty of plants! Greenery is a staple of a mid-century modern space. Decorating your home with snake plants and philodendrons and fiddle leaf figs is a staple of the style. Bonus points for placing a plant where it can receive sunlight and give your home a bright feel with its radiant leaves!

Fortunately, house plants are relatively cheap ($15-25), and they give a real positive energy to any home.

Rather than a solid colored plant pot, you can achieve a true mid-century feel by going for a retro pot or vase with interesting design.

  • Cork, cork, cork. Still a rather unusual find, cork made its presence known in mid-century’s late 1970s phase. Maybe a coaster or light-bulb holder, cork is a comforting step away from modern-day plastic or metal.
  • Rugs and other textiles. Bold, geometric patterning was ever-popular during the mid-century modern period. Perhaps slightly overwhelming for a wallpaper, it’s easy to find good-quality rugs that showcase geometric patterns on sites like Wayfair.

  • Sun-burst mirrors and clocks. On the wall of any mid-century themed home would be a mirror or clock with an eccentric surrounding. Take a look at the mirrors below for inspiration. You can either pair a mirror with a clock, or just go for one powerful option that stands out on its own.

The main event – bigger mid-century investments

Chairs, including dining chairs and armchairs, were perhaps one of the defining furniture pieces of mid-century modern design. Every home needs a chair with character.

Most chairs of this period are designed with clean edges and sometimes unconventional shapes. Take the Gerrit Rietveld Zig-Zag Chair for example – it’s a typically outlandish mid-century chair featuring sharp edges and a clean look. When on sale, you can pick this chair up for as little as $678.00.

It might seem like a steep price to pay for a single chair, but remember that a great chair is the centerpiece of many a mid-century room! If you’re looking to save, you can still pick up great mid-century living room chairs for under $200.

As well as functional dining chairs, softer armchairs or rocking chairs are focal to a mid-century living room. Tempting as it may be, you want to avoid a contemporary-looking couch and go for something a little more true to the period.

If you go for a couch, it shouldn’t be larger than a two-seater. A common mid-century couch features an elongated seating area without cushioned separation, and noticeable back support.

In the bedroom, you want your bed frame to consist of a prominent structure with slim wooden legs. When on a budget, you can sometimes get excellent bed frames for less than $300.

Lastly, statement chandeliers are a crucial piece of any mid-century living space. Often featuring transparent spherical bulbs, you can find affordable chandelier deals at Houzz.

If you do enough digging online, you can discover items that you won’t find in every single home. Take a look at less popular websites, and you will stumble across rarer post-war furniture and ornaments.

We hope you’ve learned some key tips that will help you secure affordable mid-century furniture and accessories. You don’t need a huge budget to make your home looking amazingly mid-mod!