Here it is, folks … the queen mother of all popular retro design! Mid-century modern is hotter than Don Draper in a tux right now, and it’s one of my favorite design schemes. I’m a huge fan of Pam at Retro Renovation, who is dedicated to the preservation and acceptance of mid-century modern houses in their original states. Why not return to a house’s roots, rather than updating to the same tired granite-and-stainless-steel theme that seems to be exploding all over the place?
We’ve covered going retro with Victorian frilliness and Art Deco sleekness, and now it’s time to hold onto your pillbox hats as we dive into the atomic-starburst, tiki-bar wonderland of mid-century modern decorating!
Mid-century modern design keeps the streamlined look of Art Deco and adds a little whimsy. Whether you lean more toward Don and Betty or Lucy and Ricky, it can look as classy or kitschy as you want it to! Craigslist, Etsy and eBay are treasure troves of authentic mid-century furniture and accessories, as are estate and yard sales.
The kitchen is a fun room to mid-century modify! If you’ve got the budget, Elmira Stove Works’ Northstar line is to die for, with its retro-designed appliances in all sorts of fun colors! Add authentic details to your kitchen with unique flooring options.
Kitschy ‘50s dinette sets are colorful and fun for the diner look, or choose a sleeker look with this wooden set. These melamine starburst dishes are fun and inexpensive, or go for authenticity with these gorgeous dishes from Etsy. My intense love for ModCloth continues in full force with a sleek, mod pitcher and this beautiful set of vintage-looking, bird-covered drinking glasses designed by Charley Harper and Todd Oldham.
Napkins are an inexpensive way to add some charm – if you’ve got the time or inclination, get your hands on some vintage fabric or vintage-looking fabric and sew some. These monochromatic patterned cloth napkins add sophisticated charm, these ones add a bit more color, and these ones are delightfully atomic starburst-looking!
Living Room Ideas
A mustard, avocado and orange color scheme is something to consider for your mid-century living room. If you’re brave, consider wallpaper, either the full room or an accent wall – Bradbury & Bradbury makes whimsical atomic patterns or more showy mod ones.
Furniture is a great way to showcase your style, and mid-century-style furniture has great lines that bridge the gap between retro and modern. West Elm offers many styles of retro sofas in both neutral and flashier colors. This accent chair is a bold choice, and you could add a pop of red with this twill armchair. The wooden details on this green chair are gorgeous!
This coffee table would be right at home in the Draper household, and it’s got bonus storage space for remotes, magazines and other living room clutter. This Etsy shop offers quirkier boomerang coffee tables! This dark wood entertainment center is a great focal piece with plenty of cubbyholes for hiding your not-so-mid-century cable boxes and video game systems.
No mid-century living room would be complete without a starburst wall clock or mirror adorning the wall. I’m completely enamored with this chunky table lamp and with any of the throw pillows from this Etsy shop, and this one from ModCloth! Round out the mod feel with a cocktail-scented candle from Green Daffodil!
Retro bathroom renovations can be as in-depth or simple as you want them to be. If you’re lucky enough to have an original mid-century bathroom, then you have an easier job. If your bathroom has been updated over the years, it’s easy to add some mid-century flair through accessories.
Fun shower curtains are fantastic for adding pattern and color without the commitment of wallpaper. These atomic-looking shower curtains are fun and funky, and give you some bright pops of color. These ones are more subtle, yet still fun.
These towel hooks are an inexpensive way to add some interest to your bathroom. Hang these striped towels or some patterned towels for more color. Round out your bathroom décor with an authentic vintage soap dish.
Here’s a great opportunity to use a mid-century color palette for your walls. A simple, sleek bed frame adds a lot of visual interest – go new or vintage! A wooden dresser adds some charm, as does a vintage nightstand.
Linens are an inexpensive way to update (or backdate!) your style. Yard sales and Etsy are excellent resources for fun vintage sheets. Retro Renovation has great ideas for vintage and vintage-looking bedspreads, including these fun chenille ones. This retro-looking comforter has a mod geometric pattern that’s a little bolder and a little more modern-looking.
To accessorize, find a bedside lamp with an interestingly-shaped body or shade, or go authentic with a cool lamp or two from Etsy. This fun Cubist-inspired rug adds some more visual interest with a neutral base.
Have I missed anything? What are your favorite mid-century design schemes? Share in the comments below!
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