20 Midcentury Modern Decor Ideas for the Retro Flair You Want

dog on sofa at home
Photo: Greg Scheidemann

Midcentury modern design brought clean lines and sleek forms into the 20th century. Today, the style remains hugely popular, and it's easy to achieve through furniture and accessories. Use these midcentury modern decorating ideas to seamlessly incorporate retro furnishings, nostalgic color schemes, and classic silhouettes into your space.

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Midcentury Modern Lighting

retro kitchen table and hutch
Anthony Masterson

Look to lighting for a quick and easy way to integrate midcentury modern decor. Funky pendant lights, like this saucer-shaped fixture, create a fun focal point for a dining room or eat-in kitchen. Wishbone chairs and a Saarinen-inspired tulip table further this dining area's retro touches.

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Midcentury Mix

midcentury modern living room teal walls oval coffee table gold curtain rod
Marty Baldwin

Perk up midcentury modern design by blending the minimalist style with playful accessories. Here, colorful patterned pillows update a sleek midcentury sofa, while deep teal walls introduce bold color. A blue geometric rug anchors the oval-shaped, retro-inspired coffee table.

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Wood Furnishings

retro living room with wooden rafters
John Bessler

Midcentury modern design embraces the natural look of wood, especially teak. Hardwood floors and a wood-panel ceiling with prominent beams bring warmth and texture to this living room. The wood tones are repeated throughout the room on seating and accent furniture to tie the space together.

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Midcentury Accessories

small white bedroom wall length green headboard
David Tsay

Small touches of midcentury modern style energize this neutral bedroom. A riff on an iconic midcentury lighting design, the black, spider-like fixture mounted near the bed provides both ambient and task lighting. A bench at the end of the bed mimics the clean lines and flared legs signature to midcentury modern style.

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Vintage Midcentury Modern Furniture

sewing room open shelving desk
David A. Land

Search flea markets and antique stores for finds that showcase midcentury modern design. Keep an eye out for pieces with sleek lines, geometric shapes, and minimal adornment. Here, a vintage tulip chair and stool provide midcentury-style seating at the built-in desk.

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Small-Scale Style

dog on sofa at home
Greg Scheidemann

Midcentury modern furnishings are ideal for small spaces due to their pared-down silhouettes. In this seating area, two matching sofas and a two-tiered plant stand showcase the thin wood legs and minimalist forms of midcentury modernism. The slim furnishings create a cozy conversation spot while maintaining the open look established by the large windows.

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Sleek Midcentury Seating

kohlhepp house kitchen island seating
Erin Kunkel

Molded plastic chairs, inspired by the designs of Ray and Charles Eames, look just as stylish in the kitchen as they do in an office, dining room, or otherwise. Here, they pull up to a table positioned next to the island, adding casual seating to this kitchen. Wooden dowel legs on this version complement the wood-paneled walls and hardwood flooring.

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Colorful Midcentury Dining Room

flower wallpaper wood dining table
David Tsay

Liven up midcentury modern furniture by incorporating unexpected colors into the design. In this dining room, wooden wishbone chairs encircle a matching midcentury-style table. Floral-patterned wallpaper sets a colorful backdrop for the simple furniture, while a coat of red paint turns two of the chairs into fun accent pieces.

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Classic Midcentury Chair

Screened porch with blue accents
David Land

Take iconic midcentury furniture designs into the current century with fresh tweaks. Originally designed for dining rooms, this white metal Bertoia chair finds new life on a cozy screened-in porch. A blue-striped throw softens the industrial-style design.

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Neutral Midcentury Design

living room with starburst mirror over fireplace
Adam Albright Photography

Create a midcentury modern design that doesn't feel forced by blending the style with vintage decor and classic silhouettes. Here, plenty of plush pillows and throws soften a clean-lined sofa, upholstered daybed, and pair of leather armchairs. A subdued color scheme of warm neutrals allows midcentury accessories, like an oversize sunburst mirror, to shine.

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Colorful Dining Area

cottage style farmhouse table white walls pale green cabinets
Robert Brinson

Sweet shades of pink, blue, and mint green brighten up an eclectic eat-in kitchen outfitted with midcentury seating. Eames-inspired side chairs cozy up to a farmhouse table and a built-in storage banquette. Lantern-style pendants introduce more traditional forms, but a coat of pink paint modernizes the look.

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Clean-Lined Design

mid-century modern simple dining table
Laura Moss

Less is more when it comes to midcentury design. In this dining area, a marble top provides a modern twist to this classic Saarinen tulip table. Black Series 7 chairs, designed in 1955 and featuring a uniquely shaped back, pop against a clean, neutral color scheme.

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Texture in Midcentury Design

living room with fireplace room divider
Laura Hull

Mix and match textures to create visual interest within midcentury modern designs. Here, a shag rug anchors a seating arrangement that includes an upholstered sofa, glass coffee table, and wicker furnishings. A mellow color palette helps the various materials and textures blend seamlessly.

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Geometric Forms

geometric patterned mid-century modern sitting room
Peter Rymwid

Geometric shapes are a hallmark of midcentury modern design. Here, metallic chevron details decorate the front of a midcentury sideboard cabinet, which offers stylish storage in this living room. Continuing the mod look, contemporary artwork mixes in primary colors and more geometric forms.

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Midcentury Modern Silhouettes

retro colorful accents living room
Tria Giovan

Midcentury modern furniture often features slim silhouettes that work well in small spaces. Thin furniture legs and couches with clean lines, for example, can help a tight space look light and airy. In this small living room, a midcentury-inspired couch and chairs combine with a contemporary coffee table and pendant light for a modern blend of past and present.

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Vintage Shopping Tips

Thrift stores, antique shops, and flea markets are all great spots to score midcentury modern furniture. Learn our tricks for shopping secondhand to fill your home with vintage treasures and one-of-a-kind style.

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Eclectic Bedroom Design

eclectic bedroom with mid-century modern desk
Jay Wilde

The simple shapes of midcentury modern furniture allow for bold colors and patterns elsewhere. Here, wood grain-patterned flooring, geometric patterned wallpaper, and a floral headboard bring life to this bedroom. A retro orange desk chair feels period-appropriate among the midcentury-style wood dresser and writing desk.

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Retro Dining Nook

round dining table with gallery wall
Anthony Masterson

Subtlety is a key component of midcentury design. Small details, including geometric seat pads and understated wishbone backs, elevate basic dining chairs in this corner nook. An array of vintage artwork adds interest around the Saarinen-inspired table.

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Midcentury Modern Living Room

mid-century modern blue and yellow living room
Laura Hull

A vibrant mix of blue and yellow is the perfect accent in an otherwise neutral midcentury modern space. Paired with warm wood-paneled walls, the complementary hues put a fresh twist on a primary color palette. Bulbous table lamps and an oval coffee table balance the straight lines of this midcentury modern living room.

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Midcentury Color Scheme

twin bed in bedroom with orange graphic wallpaper
Anthony Masterson

A nod to the past with a retro-inspired, orange-and-brown color scheme. This geometric vinyl wallpaper lends a groovy pattern to a children's bedroom. A simple wood-paneled bed with white lacquered drawers balances the bold palette and boasts the "less is more" attitude of classic midcentury modern furniture.

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