InteriorsUpdated Style

Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern

by Lauren Chorpening Day

Mid-century modern style was introduced to the design world after two world wars shook the global economy. Designers went from ornate, luxurious Victorian and Art Deco designs pre-war to a practical, innovative and economical style post-war — known as mid-century modern. Sleek lines, white walls, colorful upholstery and warm wood tones started filling homes, hotels and design galleries.

Some of the most well-known and influential designers of the day such as Charles and Ray Eames, Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen and Edward Wormley still have their high-dollar, iconic pieces recreated and demanded by the public. Other furniture designers of today sample from the mid-century line and update them with a more contemporary aesthetic. Mid-century design can be incorporated subtly with one or two pieces, transitionally with an even mix of iconic design contrasted with contemporary accents and accessories, or authentically by keeping true to the designers’ original style in the space.

The way we see mid-century modern design trending in home tours on Design*Sponge is mostly through transitional style, incorporating past and present. Cohesively blending multiple styles makes mid-century elements stand out without the home feeling dated or retro. Incorporating current colors, patterns and textures with these period pieces allows the design to feel timeless, updated and fresh. There are so many ways to feature this design era in personal and polished combinations at home.

Click through to see some of our favorite homes that blend mid-century modern design elements, along with ideas to bring this beloved aesthetic into your own home in a current way. —Lauren

Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge

chair | artwork | green pillow | grey pillow | elephant figurine | lamp | pink pillow | planter | rug | accent bowlbrass side table

A combination of evergreen, blush pink and grey isn’t the color palette that usually comes to mind for iconic mid-century pieces. Creating a new color story instantly changes the feeling of the form of a vintage piece to a more updated aesthetic. Graphic patterns on the rug and pillows complement the mid-century accessories by drawing the focus throughout the design, rather than on one element.

Stayed tuned for future Updated Style posts where we explore classic design trends from the past and show how they can be used beautifully today. 

Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
Savannah and Sean's mid-century lounger, accent chair and credenza are contrasted with bold black accents, graphic artwork and modern design. Their home strongly nods to mid-century while maintaining a personal aesthetic that is truly their own.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
Gillian Steven's pretty Vancouver Apartment uses a nontraditional palette of soft whites, greys and pinks while decorating with mid-century items.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
The iconic Eero Saarinen tulip table and Marcel Breuer dining chairs add a signature, sophisticated style in Sarah Gibson's deep green dining room.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
The leather woven chairs in Karyn and Dominic Blosil's renovated kitchen bring a warmth and style that these mid-century designs are known to deliver.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
This nursery in the McQuade Family's Pennsylvania home mixes vintage with contemporary, dark with light, and hard with soft. The mid-century influence is prevalent while keeping the room minimal and simple for baby boy, Levi.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
Nicole's colorful mid-century chair collection adds playful charm to her living room. The feature of the space is absolutely the bookcase. The pillows, artwork and rug pattern blend these chairs into the modern loft cohesively.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
Katie Bennett's love of mixing modern and vintage styles is on display in almost every room of her home. Here she uses modern colors and patterns in the rugs to balance the vintage nature of the furniture and artwork.
Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern | Design*Sponge
Dana McClure brought in a wood, mid-century dresser to incorporate warmth into her colorful bedroom. "Our bedroom is the only room in our house without white walls. Meant to be a cozy retreat of sorts, the walls and textiles are deep, rich neutral hues with some bright pops of color," Dana says.

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  • This is a great look at how mid century modern works in different spaces. I think I love it because it feels timeless. I have a Jasper sofa that I bought from room and board over 10 years ago and it works with other mid century modern pieces and the french victorian chair I own.

  • I love these suggestions! I really want new throw pillows for my sofa and these might be great. I’m struggling though to figure out how many? We have an L Shaped karlstad sectional . How many pillows?!?!

    • Hi Meredith!

      I’m glad you like these options. I always love a varied number in my pillow groups. My sofa has 7 pillows (4 on one side, 3 on the other) and my love seat has 2 pillows grouped together. I like a mix of 20x20s, 16x16s and lumbar shapes. This is getting specific but I think size and shape is important to think about in addition to amounts. :) Maybe try 8 pillows (two groups of 3 and one group of 2)? Hope this helps!


  • Nicole’s (I think that loft from memory was in Vancouver) and also Sean and Savannah’s apartments are amongst my all time favourites.

    • And… I don’t consider myself a massive fan of mid century. These are just really well put together homes with nice stuff, personality and soul.

  • Beautiful room! Go me inspired … Love this green for a bedroom, what colour is it specifically??