December 5, 2023

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Blog | Mid Century Design & Decor Guide

Blog | Mid Century Design & Decor Guide

The furniture and decor introduced in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s were clean, sophisticated, and inclusive. Despite the passage of time, mid century designs have remained a staple in interior architecture. In this guide, we’ll cover the fundamentals of how to realise a mid century modern décor and where to shop for the pieces you desire.

1. Interior Design Inspirations
To kick things off, remember that great interior design draws bits and pieces of influence from different styles, so include some elements that are outside of the mid century boundaries.

2. Pick the Right Colours
Selecting colours is always the first step to planning your interior, since it leads your furniture and decor selection. Mid century colours tend to combine darker neutral tones with saturated accent colours.
Remember to follow the usual interior design colour picking tip, also called the 60-30-10 rule. Your room colours should be 60% dominant base colour, 30% secondary colour, and 10% accent colour. Avoid picking more than 3 to 4 colours.

3. Furniture Design Options
Mid century modern furniture is easily identified by their straight, clean lines accented with smooth, curved angles. They rarely feature any fancy ornamentation or upholstery. This minimalist design commonly relies on wooden construction, but can also include fiberglass or metal. They usually only have one or two colours with no patterns. Classic elements of the mid century look that is so popular in the UK right now are sideboards, coffee tables, made of teak and glass, and Ladderax modular shelving systems by Staples of Cricklewood. So, consider starting out with one or more of these key pieces.

4. Rug & Decor Selection
Identifying mid century patterns is critical when picking the right rug and decor. As the harbinger of the modern design movement, mid century modern loved asymmetrical, abstract patterns. Typically, pure mid century design does not use rustic elements such as unfinished wood or aged metal, but don’t shy away from breaking the rule if you feel creative.
Feel free to use rugs and decor with just a solid colour – or even patterns that are not from the 50s or 60s. Be creative and use your judgement to identify what fits with your mid century pieces.

5. Lighting Tips & Ideas
Mid century floor lamps and table lamps feature either very straight, geometric lines or round, curved contours. The very contrasting shapes offer a very bold position for lighting in your room. The stems of these lamps are mostly made of finished metal, but sometimes with wood legs. A popular mid century ceiling lamp design sees exposed bulbs on straight rods radiating out of a centre, though various options are available. Lights and lamps of the style made popular by Harvey Guzzini are highly sought after items in the UK right now so, if you find an original, hold onto it – their desirability continues to soar.

6. Places To Buy Mid century
Given the versatility of mid century modern furniture and decor, it’s no wonder that there are abundant shopping options. We at retrovintage obviously stock a great selection of relevant designs. is another great UK based retailer and, if money is no object, there are some fantastic pieces to be found at too.

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