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How to Add Mid-century Modern Style to Your Aesthetic

Design Trends

Many of us remember the Mid-century modern decorating style of the 1940s to 1960s fondly. Whether you grew up with the traditional green, gold, and orange family room or you first spied the design style on a favorite television rerun, it is certainly iconic and has stood the test of time. Understanding the elements of the Mid-century modern decorating style can help you create innovative and bold designs for your clients who are seeking to incorporate it into their modern homes.


The homes of the era featured designs that were clean, sleek, and open. There was a move toward a more youthful design style that rejected the trends of the past. This traditional Mid-century modern decorating style focused on minimalism and the quickly advancing home technology of the day. Televisions were becoming
more advanced and satellite technology allowed Americans to view programs from across the globe. This cultural revolution showed up in people's homes through their personal decorating styles. Mod design elements, including geometric shapes and pop-art, became popular and had a significant influence on interior
design. The color palettes of the 1960's featured shades that were found in nature and that worked well together to create cohesive design. Many homes featured shades of green, brown, orange, gold, and yellow in wall colors,
wallpaper, linens, accessories, and furniture upholstery.

You don't have to incorporate every element of the Mid-century modern decorating style in a client's home
to bring it to life. Picking and choosing which elements are most relevant and which you should eliminate is the joy of being a designer. In order to create a modern take on Mid-century style we suggest:

Choosing sleek lines and natural shades A Mid-century modern decorating style isn't fussy or overworked. Instead, it focuses on incorporating sleek lines and natural shades in the wall colors. Look for pieces that feel simple and sleek and feature finishes designed to bring out the furniture's natural beauty. Choose shades for the wall that don't compete with the wood furniture and create a natural backdrop for the room's design.


Featuring wood pieces A simple way to infuse Mid-century modern decorating techniques into your clients' homes is to feature its traditional furniture styles. These pieces, often made of deep teak wood, demand attention and stand out in any room. A great way to ensure the wood furniture remains a focal point of the room is to pair it
with a neutral wall color such as white or subtle butter yellow.

Using traditional color palettes The iconic color palettes of the era included shades of lemon, avocado, and tangerine. You can bring a Mid-century modern look to any home by using these traditional colors
without feeling like the space is a time capsule. Consider choosing one traditional shade and using it on a focal wall, in a stripe that runs throughout the room, or on the walls behind a built-in bookshelf. Then bring the other shades into the room via its linens, accessories, and artwork.


Mixing and match The beauty of Mid-century modern decorating is that it can be combined with other decorating styles for a truly unique look. Using certain elements is enough to bring the design style to any room. For example, consider adding a Mid-century couch to a room with a more modern color palette. Grey walls paired with teal and yellow accessories and linens can bring a modern touch to Mid-century modern pieces.

Incorporating geometric shapes The 1960's saw the rise of the pop-art genre and the use of geometric shapes throughout home decorating. This "mod" look was influenced by popular culture and can be easily achieved in a modern home. Choose artwork that features geometric patterns in bold and interesting colors. This artwork
should be hung on a wall that is painted to enhance the beauty of the piece. Make sure to choose a wall color that coordinates with the artwork without being distracting.

At Dunn-Edwards we are committed to providing our clients with the paint colors they need for any room's design. You can visit our website to learn more about our products and find a retailer near you.