Have you watched the American period drama series Mad Men? If yes, then you surely remember Don Draper’s Park Avenue pad. That’s the perfect example of mid-century modern interior design! From Loki (yes, even the show about the mischievous Norse god) to The Umbrella Academy, several popular television shows demonstrate the mid-century interior design aesthetic. But, what is this design style and how do you go about getting it in your space? This detailed guide will help you!

What Is Mid-Century Modern Interior Design?

Look out for clean lines, a mix of natural and manmade textures and pops of colour

Despite having its origins in the middle of the 20th century, the mid-century interior design style is still quite popular. Symbolic of clean lines, retro-modern style and uncluttered spaces, this design aesthetic is the perfect fit for modern, urban flats.

What Is the History of Mid-Century Interior Design?

Post World War 2, several German designers migrated to the United States of America and brought with them the remnants of an early-20th-century style, the German Bauhaus design. The style promoted clean lines, and futuristic (for the time) designs and emphasised functionality. In addition to this, mass production during this time allowed for the manufacture of large quantities of furniture in different colours and designs. It was through this that the mid-century interior design style came into being.

One of the notable aspects of this design is the fact that it is suited for city homes. In the 20th century, more and more people moved out of their large homes in the countryside to smaller flats in cities. As such, the mid-century modern interior design style is suited for compact homes.

What Are the Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern Design?

Wondering how to spot this style? Look out for the following characteristics:

#1: Minimalist

This design style promotes clean, uncluttered spaces

As mentioned earlier, at the time this design style was born, people were moving into small flats. As such, a minimal interior design aesthetic is one of the main principles of the mid-century style. Look out for:

  • Clean lines
  • Uncluttered spaces
  • Focus on functionality

Also Read: What Design Style Matches Your Persona?

#2: Mixing Materials and Aesthetics

This design style allows you to play around with materials and textures to achieve the look you desire

For the mid-century modern interior design style, go for a mix of natural and man-made materials. For instance, you can mix wood with something man-made, like fibreglass. Similarly, this design style allows you to also mix genres, like modern and traditional.

#3: Bring the Outdoors Inside Your Home

For a complete mid-century interior, fill your home with plants

Given that  the mid-century modern interior design aesthetic propagates using natural elements, bringing in the outdoors inside your home, with indoor plants, is a great way to get this style right. In addition, you can also opt for window treatments that let in an ample amount of sunlight.

#4: A Neutral Palette With Pops of Colours

While a neutral colour palette should be your base, don’t be afraid to play around with brighter colours

The mid-century interior design style is rooted in nature. Therefore, the colour palette you choose should also be reminiscent of the outdoors. Think earthy tones mixed in with pops of yellow, orange or green.

#5: Flat Planes

Look out for flat, straight planes in a mid-century modern home

Another important characteristic of this design style is flat planes. Be it a mid-century modern house interior or exterior, everything will be symmetrical and geometric. This is usually accompanied by angular furniture.

#6: Changes in Elevation

Changes in elevation helps in creating depth

If you look at homes that feature the mid-century interior aesthetic, you’ll notice how furniture, like cabinets, might have different heights. Or, there might be a small set of stairs in the living room. This type of change in elevation helps in creating depth. However, at the same time, there will also be a sense of symmetry.

#7: Clean Lines

The clean, symmetrical lines in this bathroom makes it a great example of the mid-century modern interior design style

If you look at the furniture in a mid-century modern house interior, you’ll notice how they all look sleek. This is because clean-lined furniture is one of the characteristics of this style. Simplicity is a striking feature with fuss-free units.

#8: Abstract Design

When it comes to abstract features for your mid-century modern home, think artwork, wall art and decor

Along with clean lines, the mid-century modern style also promotes abstract designs. Unlike minimalism or the Scandinavian design style, you can play around with abstract wallpapers, artwork, rugs, decor and more.

Also Read: Design Tour | A Swoon Worthy Midcentury Modern Home

5 Tips for Decorating Your Home in the Mid-Century Modern Interior Design Style

Now that you know the main characteristics of the mid-century interior style, here are some tips on how to get the look right.

#1: Choose Statement Pieces

Design your room around a single statement piece
  • Choose a single (or two at the most) statement pieces, like a wallpaper, rug or chair
  • The rest of the design and furniture should complement this piece

#2: Have Fun With Colours

Play around with colours until you find something that you love
  • While your base palette should be neutral, don’t be afraid to add pops of vibrant colours in your furnishings and decor
  • Experiment with colours close to nature like green, blue, yellow and orange

#3: There’s Always Place for Artwork

Bold pieces of artwork can serve as a focal point in your room
  • To get the mid-century interior design style right, opt for a bold piece of artwork
  • In addition to being a statement piece, the colours in the piece of art can help you choose accent colours for that room

#4: The Right Type of Lighting

Hanging and bold light fixtures are the norm in this interior design style
  • In the mid-century modern interior design style, hanging lights, like pendant lights, are common fixtures
  • In case you want a floor-standing light, opt for a statement floor lamp

#5: The Beauty of Simplicity

Always keep your design simple and try to focus on a natural look
  • The interior design of your home should be simple, open and clutter-free
  • Since this style focuses a lot on nature, try to incorporate windows and plants into your decor

Are Scandinavian and Mid-Century Modern Design Styles the Same?

Here are the differences between Scandinavian interior design and the mid-century modern style:

ScandinavianMid-Century Modern
Lighter colour palettes with a focus on brightnessDark neutrals with pops of colours
Focus on natural materialsMix of natural and man-made materials
Simplicity is keyMakes room for some statement pieces

How to Design a Mid-Century Modern Living Room

This living room shows you how to achieve a more eclectic version of the mid-century interior design style

The following tips will help you design the perfect mid-century modern living room:

ColoursEarthy neutrals with bright pops
FurnitureClean lines
ArtBold statement pieces
LightingHanging lights or statement floor lamps
AccessoriesWood sculptures, metal bowls

More Mid-Century Modern Design Inspiration…

Kids’ Room

Floating furniture units are easy to maintain

Due to its clean and clutter-free characteristics, the mid-century modern design aesthetic is perfect for your kids’ room. In addition to this design style, also opt for floating furniture units since they are easy to maintain.


This bathroom is a great example of how you can bring the outdoors inside

While the wood wall behind the bathtub and the flooring is neutral, the bright blue walls outside the bath cubicle adds a pop of colour (and reminds one of the beach). Moreover, the plethora of plants gives the bathroom an outdoorsy vibe.


This stunning kitchen provides ample storage and countertop space

The neutral colour palette makes this kitchen look open and spacious while the backsplash adds some texture. Additionally, the lighting above the island acts as the statement piece.

How Can Livspace Help You? 

We hope you found our ideas useful! If you want beautiful interiors for your home, then look no further. Book an online consultation with Livspace today. To know how our customers feel about working with us, check out these Livspace reviews for more details!

Have any thoughts or suggestions you’d like to share with us? We’re all ears! Drop us a line at editor@livspace.com.

Please note that the designs showcased within the story are subject to availability and will vary based on the year the homes were designed in. Consult our designers for more details on the latest designs.