Styling a Midcentury Inspired Home

Midcentury interior design is evocative of the 1940 and is defined by unmistakable clean lines and high functionality, mixed with vibrant bold colours to lift this very practical edge with warmth and fun. As an interior design choice, the style clearly has a timeless appeal. 
Collage of midcentury syled interior images with animated graphic overlay
As this design period spans such a wide range of styles there is really no right or wrong as to what is midcentury. It can be very minimal with very white walls and barely-there earthy organic accents or it can be maximalist to fullest with dark orange walls and a vast array of bold patterns. 

white room with retro furniture and black woman on laptop

green and purple wallpaper on stairwell - dandelion clocks pattern

Midcentury style is one that falls in and out of fashion seemingly at the drop of a hat, the furniture once considered old fashioned is now considered a classic. Is it doomed to fall out of favour again? - I don't think so! When I worked at the wallpaper company Sanderson and one of the most popular and timeless prints they produced was Dandelion Clocks - this instantly recognisable wallpaper pattern can be found the world over and it really highlights the pared minimal style of midcentury, a fun nostalgic interior that is simple but still stylish. 

Pinnable graphic - headline how to style a midcentury interior

Keep  things relatively minimal 

Minimal ornamentation is needed to truly pull of this style - with the bold colours and fondness for geometric shapes the style just looks crowded if you over decorate the space. Instead, opt for a few deliberate artefacts to add interest without overwhelming the space with visual clutter.  Keep the room tidy to maintain that sleek and stylish aesthetic. 

Pay Attention the pattern and shape 

Organic flowing shapes from hand thrown ceramics or beautiful curved furniture are very common in this look. Kidney shaped tables and statement chairs are an easy way to create this look.  For patterned items such as wallpaper, accessories or fabrics retro futurism shapes such as starburst patterns and geometrics where also incredibly popular at the time and can bring an interior to life. Bold florals - like that that Orla Kiely creates are also incredibly evocative of this style. 

collage of midcentury interior design elements chair, tables, vases and patterned cushsions

Chair - Cox & Cox
Table one -  Unknown
Patterns - Wish
Table two - Safavieh
Owl Glassware - Magpie

Pick your palette 

Select your colour theme carefully,  this can make or break your look, mixing and matching too many bold colours - which are a characteristic of this style can look unsightly but keeping to a subtle palette can make a real statement.  You can opt for white and pale neutral walls with bold, colourful accents or be brave and paint the bolder colours on the walls but keep the rest of the scheme pared back.


Whether you wish to call it mustard or ochre, this dusky yellow share just screams midcentury and is muted enough to ground a space, but punchy enough to stand out. When paired with splashes of teal or jade these rich and warm tones create an incredibly welcoming space.  They can be lightened with barely-there pink shaded off whites to give a calming cohesion to an otherwise vibrant room.

Olive, White and Wood is a stunning combination - that also pairs well we nearly any accent colour so can take on different moods very easily if you pair it with the right colour pops. Dark green is a beautiful calming colour for a light space, when paired ith light or dark wooden accents it feels welcoming a sophisticated without being fussy. 
 Elements of Style has a post that shows how easy it is to throw in other colors with shades of dark green.

Muted Kingfisher pallet, I've already discussed this colour combination on the Colour Crush post here  but that post focused on the more modern vibrant colour combination of rich royal blue with a zestier hotter orange. The midcentury look is slightly moodier blue combined with a slightly burnt orange and undertones of earthy browns. 

Add Glassware

Glassware is an amazing way to add a stylistic element to your interior without making a room feel overly 'themed'. For a mid-century styled room in particular coloured or opaque objects can really help achieve the look, I'd advise using vases and lights as a great way to incorporate glass into your interiors without adding clutter.

There were many different types of glass made from the 1940s through the early 1970s, the midcentury design has a very distinct vibe that is instantly recognised by its tactile organic shapes, globed curves and almost artisanal style. Popular colours are Amber, Green and Blue which can brighten up a room and add a bit of fun to your interior. Mid-century glassware reproductions or inspired pieces can be picked up in most department stores or if you’re willing to hunt for something a little more unique you can trawl charity shops or Etsy for pieces that suit your home. 

Natural and non-natural materials 

Natural materials such as wood, cotton and linen, even living plants in beautiful ceramic pots are a good way to mimick this look. Furntiure with curved or statement wooden legs is one of the best ways to add elements of texture into you midcentury inspired room. Macrame or paper art such as stylised prints or patterned wallpaper is also an option for adding a bit more complexity to the style of your room. 

Midcentury dining suit with bench seat in olive fabric and wooden vinyl flooring

Non-natural materials such as concrete, cermaics, vinyl and chrome all feature heavily in looks from the time as well. This style is so versitlle that you real can make it  your own. New methods of construction and new materials such as plastic where just entering the home in the 1940s onwards so where widely popular. Don't be afraid to mix natural materials with synthetic ones. 

Concrete interior with angled window and midcentury curvy furniture

Shop The Look - Mid-Century Homeware


Tom Dixon Tank Decanter, Black • Tom Dixon • £110
Orla Kiely Sunflower Orange Rug, L230 x W160 cm • Orla Kiely • £549
Ro Collection No. 25 Hurricane Tealight Holder or Vase • £32
Orla Kiely Giant Linear Stem Rug, L230 x W160 cm • Orla Kiely • £549
Galerie Retro Print Wallpaper • £42.95
west elm Slatted Sideboard, Walnut, FSC-Certified (Mahogany) • west elm • £824
Sanderson Dandelion Clocks Furnishing Fabric • Sanderson • £49
west elm Mid-Century Console Table and Mirror, FSC Certified (Eucalyptus), Acorn • west elm • £374
Orla Kiely Pink Stem Ceramic Table Lamp, Navy/Pink • Orla Kiely • £75
Orla Kiely Flower Bamboo Nesting Food Storage Boxes, Set of 3, Yellow/Multi • Orla Kiely • £30
John Lewis & Partners Ribbed Ash Wood Floor Lamp, Brown • John Lewis & Partners • £275
Newgate Clocks Wideboy Silent Sweep Analogue Alarm Mantel Clock, 20.5cm, Black • £40
John Lewis & Partners Barbican Leather Armchair, Dark Leg • John Lewis & Partners • £899
John Lewis & Partners Huxley Ceiling Light • John Lewis & Partners • £210
Orla Kiely Tiny Stem Cotton Bedding, Duck Egg • Orla Kiely • £65
John Lewis & Partners Harmony Ribbon Semi Flush Ceiling Light • John Lewis & Partners • £85
John Lewis & Partners Seoni Lampshade, Saffron • John Lewis & Partners • £45
west elm Foundry Wide Bookcase, Dark Walnut • west elm • £689.95
John Lewis & Partners Large Dome Metal Easy-to-Fit Ceiling Shade • John Lewis & Partners • £60
John Lewis & Partners Hendricks Medium 2 Seater Leather Sofa, Dark Wood Frame • John Lewis & Partners • £1,499
Orla Kiely Multi Stem Pair Lined Eyelet Curtains, Duck Egg • Orla Kiely • £68

Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Rhododendron Wallpaper • £67
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Multi Striped Petal Wallpaper • £67
Galerie Skandi Blocks Wallpaper • £44.95
Mini Moderns Play/Record Wallpaper • £55
Scion Groove Paste the Wall Wallpaper • Scion • £45
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Acorn Spot Wallpaper • £67
Galerie Big Ikat Stripe Wallpaper • £44.95
Mini Moderns Darjeeling Wallpaper • £55
Sanderson Dandelion Clocks Furnishing Fabric • Sanderson • £49
Mini Moderns Festival Wallpaper • £55
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Striped Petal Wallpaper • £67
Sanderson Dandelion Clocks Rug, L240 x W170 cm • Sanderson • £695
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Flower Tile Wallpaper • £67
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Small Acorn Cup Wallpaper • £67
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Scribble Wallpaper • £67
MissPrint Kaleidoscope Wallpaper • £69
Galerie Deco Wallpaper • £44.95
John Lewis & Partners Arcade Wallpaper • John Lewis & Partners • £30
Anthology Perlite Wallpaper • £119
La Redoute Interieurs Quilda Vintage-style Coffee Table • £240
Flashback Walnut Coffee Table • Am.pm. • £235
La Redoute Interieurs Matacou Two-Tier Coffee Table • £285
Safavieh Lucca Retro Dining Chair • Safavieh • $380
Theoleine Small Retro-Style Coffee Table in Solid Walnut • Am.pm. • £325
Safavieh Paloma Metal Retro Headboard • Safavieh • $400
Theoleine Large Retro-Style Coffee Table in Solid Walnut • Am.pm. • £475
Safavieh Giani Retro Dining Chair • Safavieh • $800
Set Of 2 Retro Flora Printed Canvas • Graham & Brown • £34.99
Fresco Retro Ogee Pink Wallpaper • £15.99
House Doctor - Retro Terracotta Bowl • £29.95
Retro Brass Table Lamp • French Connection • £75
Giant Acrylic Amoeba • Jonathan Adler • $295
Sass & Belle - Starburst Rattan Mirror • £26.99
Orla Kiely - Fern Three Seater Sofa - Teal • Orla Kiely • £1,269
Orla Kiely - Snail Shaped Vase • Orla Kiely • £25
Orla Kiely - Spot Flower Cushion - Tea Rose • Orla Kiely • £60
Orla Kiely Dachshund Planter • Orla Kiely • £50
Orla Kiely - Donegal Pouf - Small - Olive/Yellow • Orla Kiely • £350
Orla Kiely - Scribble Square Flower Ramekins - Set of 4 • Orla Kiely • £40
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Giant Abacus Flower Wallpaper • £67
Orla Kiely House for Harlequin Multi Stem Wallpaper • £78
Orla Kiely - Fern Armchair - Multi • Orla Kiely • £829

If you'd like to find out more inspiration for a Midcentry styled Interior you can follow me on Pinterest

Pintrest board of midcentury interior design images


1 comment

  1. What a great, informative post, thank you! I adore those olive greens and glassware elements.


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Interior Design blogging from a Country girl in the city. Trying to learn all I can about interior design, social media and making the best of this life.
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