Updated Style: Mid-Century Modern

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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. 

  1. Kandy says:

    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.

  2. Meredith says:

    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?!?!

    1. Lauren Chorpening says:

      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!


  3. Margot says:

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

    1. Margot says:

      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.

  4. Tara says:

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


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