What is Mid-Century Modern Interior Design?

What is Mid-Century Modern Interior Design?

Have you ever walked into a room and instantly felt transported to a different era? Mid-century modern interior design is a popular style that can have that effect.

This design style, which emerged in the mid-20th century, continues to captivate homeowners and interior enthusiasts with its unique blend of functionality, simplicity, and timeless appeal. If you're looking to infuse your home with a touch of retro charm, then it might just be the perfect fit for you. Let's dive into the world of mid-century modern design and explore how you can use it to transform your living space.

Introduction to Mid-Century Modern Interior Design

Mid-century modern design embraces clean lines, organic shapes, and a sense of minimalism that effortlessly combines form and function. It draws inspiration from the post-war era, a time of innovation, optimism, and exploration. It emphasizes simplicity, open spaces, natural light and materials, and a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living.

This design movement gained popularity in the 1940s and reached its peak in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it is still admired for its timeless appeal and ability to bring a sense of warmth and sophistication to any home.

The Origins and Influences of Mid Century Modern Style

The mid-20th century was a time of great innovation and progress, both socially and technologically. The aftermath of World War II brought about a desire for change, and this desire was reflected in the design and architecture of the era.

One of the significant influences on mid-century modern style was the Bauhaus movement, which originated in Germany in the early 20th century. The Bauhaus emphasized functionalism, simplicity, and the integration of art and technology. These principles greatly influenced mid-century modern designers, who sought to create practical yet aesthetically pleasing designs.

Scandinavian design also played a significant role in shaping mid-century modern style. The clean lines, organic forms, and focus on functionality characteristic of Scandinavian design resonated with mid-century modern designers. They embraced the Scandinavian ethos of simplicity and incorporated it into their own creations.

The post-war period also helped shape mid-century modern design. The need for affordable housing and the desire for a fresh start led to the development of innovative and efficient design solutions. The focus on functionality and practicality became central to mid-century modern interior design.

Mid-Century Modern Interior Design

Key Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern Interior Design

Clean Lines and Organic Forms

Mid-century modern design is known for both clean, straight lines and organic, flowing forms. Furniture and architectural elements often feature sleek, minimalist profiles that create a sense of harmony and balance in a space.

Use of Natural Materials

Natural materials are a hallmark of mid-century modern interior design. Wood, particularly teak and walnut, as well as oak and cherry, is commonly used for furniture, flooring, and paneling. Other natural materials, such as leather, stone, and glass, are also prominent in mid-century modern decor.

Functionality and Practicality

Functionality and practicality are essential aspects of mid-century modern design. Furniture pieces are designed to be both visually appealing and highly functional. Storage solutions are integrated into the design, allowing for efficient use of space.

Minimalist Approach

Mid-century modern design embraces a minimalist approach, focusing on essential elements and avoiding excess ornamentation. The mantra "less is more" is often applied, resulting in clean, uncluttered spaces that promote a sense of calm and simplicity.

Colors and Patterns

While mid-century modern design typically features a neutral color palette, it also embraces bold colors and patterns as accents. Vibrant hues, such as orange, yellow, and turquoise, are used sparingly to add visual interest and create focal points. Geometric patterns and abstract motifs are also commonly found in mid-century modern decor.

Mid-Century Modern Spaces

Creating Mid-Century Modern Spaces in Different Rooms

This style of interior design can be applied to various rooms in your home with the help of high-quality mid-century modern furniture pieces, each with its own considerations and possibilities.

Living Room

In the living room, focus on creating a comfortable and inviting space. For seating, choose a mid-century modern sofa such as our Morgan Sofa and pair it with accent and lounge chairs that have organic shapes.

We recommend our Walnut Grove Recliner, especially for the living room. While it looks like a beautiful accent chair at first glance, this piece hides a delightful surprise: It can be eased from a closed position to extend a hidden footrest and can even be fully reclined from there. The frame is crafted from sturdy American black walnut, and the upholstered seat and back can be covered in any Stickley fabric or fine leather.

The Morgan Chair is another great option, especially if you’re looking for accent chairs that are as visually appealing as they are a joy to sit on. A perfect complement to the Morgan Sofa, it exemplifies mid-century modern style and can be upholstered in fabric or leather, depending on your preference.

Finish the look by incorporating a cocktail table, such as the Walnut Grove Rectangular Cocktail Table from our Walnut Grove collection. It features a broad solid-walnut top and goes perfectly with the products listed above. To bring color into the space, accentuate with vibrant throw pillows or a retro-inspired rug.

Dining Room

For the dining room, opt for a sleek dining table made of natural wood that can accommodate all the members of your family, as well as any guests you entertain. Stickley’s Walnut Grove Dining Table or Walnut Grove Round Dining Table are beautiful options that both have a sculptural aesthetic inspired by mid-century design.

Continue that sculptural theme through to the chairs with our Walnut Grove Arm Chairs, which are hand-sculpted from American black walnut and feature artfully shaped legs. The gentle contours of the back offer plenty of support, while the inset upholstered seat in your choice of fabric or leather offers relaxing comfort.

Adding a pendant light above the table creates a lovely focal point that draws the eye upwards while illuminating the space.


In the bedroom, choose a low-profile bed with a simple, minimalist design, such as our Walnut Grove Upholstered Bed or Walnut Grove Spindle Bed. Both are beautiful pieces of mid-century modern furniture that embody the style perfectly. Use nightstands and dressers with clean lines and ample storage; the Walnut Grove Open Nightstand is a great option, and it goes especially well with the Walnut Grove Dresser. Incorporate mid-century modern lamps and artwork that complement the overall aesthetic.

For additional bedroom seating, consider adding more mid-century modern furniture pieces, such as the Paxton Chair. It features a linear, minimalist design that is illustrative of mid-century modern furniture, with its narrow club arms and low-profile frame. It’s an excellent choice for a quiet reading nook, especially when paired with the matching Paxton Ottoman.

Mid-century modern interior design is a timeless style that continues to captivate homeowners and design enthusiasts alike. By incorporating mid-century modern elements in the various rooms of your home, you can create a cohesive and stylish environment that stands the test of time. Explore our Walnut Grove Collection and mid-century modern upholstered pieces, then use the store locator to find a Stickley Authorized Dealer near you.