“Defined by simple forms, organic influences, high functionality and minimal ornamentation – mid-century modern boasts an undeniably timeless and versatile appeal”

Mid-century modern décor influences have been on trend for quite some time already, and it seems that it is only gaining momentum. Claire Gibson from leading furniture manufacturer, La-Z-Boy, explains that it is easy to understand why it remains such a popular style: “Defined by simple forms, organic influences, high functionality and minimal ornamentation – mid-century modern boasts an undeniably timeless and versatile appeal.”

She says that today, many people are incorporating mid-century modern design elements into their homes, particularly in the living room.

“The living room is the ideal space to infuse with mid-century modern influences – you can do this by including various pieces with straight lines, gentle curves and an overall minimalist appeal.”

What is mid-century modern design?

The mid-century modern movement spanned 1933 to 1965 and influenced architecture, as well as interior, industrial and graphic design. It grew from the early 20th century modernism, including the likes of Bauhaus and international movements.

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However, it really started to take hold after World War II, thanks to the introduction of new materials, technology and a newfound prosperity. The style was also influenced by the mass migration to urban areas, and the resultant smaller living spaces.

Claire says that the obvious characteristics of mid-century modern design include organic influences, simple forms, an emphasis on function and quality, and commercially popular design:

“Obvious elements of mid-century modern furniture include peg legs, clean lines, curves and smooth surfaces; the use of natural materials such as wood and leather, in conjunction with other ‘new’ materials, such as plastic, plywood, glass, and lucite; as well as the use of bold colours, patterns and texture.”

Adding mid-century style to your living room

Claire says that it is easy to add elements of the mid-century modern into your living room without having to overhaul the entire room.

“The best place to start is with whatever pieces your living room might be lacking – if you are in need of an occasional chair, a sofa or a coffee table for example, then choose one with mid-century-inspired elements that works with your space.

“Don’t be intimidated to mix this style with pieces from other periods – the clean lines and minimalism inherent in mid-century furniture blends exceptionally well with other styles for an interesting eclectic, yet elegantly modern mix.”

Advice on specific pieces

Claire notes that if you want to create a mid-century modern living room, it is imperative to understand more about the popular pieces of the day, and how to incorporate them into your living room space. She offers the following advice:

The sofa

No living room is complete without a sofa, and it took pride of place in any mid-century modern living room. Claire says that sofas in this style are very distinctive:

“There is nothing cushy or over-decorative about the design lines of the mid-century sofa, which reflects the stark minimalism of modern art.”

These sofas are typically low, rectangular in shape and designed with contrasting textures.

The accent chair

Nothing epitomises mid-century modern quite like the lounge chair does.

Other elements of mid-century modern accent or occasional chairs include simple lines, peg legs, a compact size, and an interesting modern shape.

The coffee table

One of the most prominent mid-century modern living room pieces is arguably the coffee table, notes Claire.

“This central living room element appeared in every mid-century modern space, and represents bringing together of the functional, the visual and the social elements portrayed by this style.

“Coffee tables with hairpin legs, organic shapes and gentle curves are a great choice for adding some mid-century glamour.”

The enduring charm of the mid-century modern style speaks for itself and offers homeowners an easy and accessible way of sprucing up the living room.

“By understanding this style a little better, it will be easy for you to use it to create a chic Mad Men inspired living room space that feels as good as it looks,” concludes Claire.