How to create a Mid-century modern home office

Looking to create the Mid-century modern home office of your Mad Men dreams? We've got it covered

Home office by John Lewis
(Image credit: John Lewis)

Whether you lived through it and loved it the first time around or have only fallen for it during its recent revival, Mid-century modern is a design trend that isn’t going anywhere. Retro drink carts, Knoll sofas and Eames lounge chairs have been creeping back into our homes ever since Mad Men graced our screens. 

But you’ve given your living room a Mid-century overhaul and Eiffel chairs have taken over your kitchen, so what next? We think it’s time to turn your home office into a working space that Don Draper himself would be proud of with our top design ideas...

For more advice and inspiration, use our specialist guide to how to design a home office. There's plenty of inspiration in our Mid-century modern decor ideas, too. 

1. Choose the right desk for your office 

We know it’s easy to get carried away with creating the perfect space to sip Old Fashioneds and contemplate world domination, but don’t lose sight of the fact that an office is primarily a place to work in. This means spending some time picking the right home office desk that fits with the Mid-century vibe but also works for you.

Where to look? John Lewis is a good place to start but we'd always prefer a trawl around flea markets and antique shops for something authentic. 

Find more inspiration in our pick of the best modern office desks.

Home office with flooring by Carpetright

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Top tip: If you are strapped for space in a small office don’t take up valuable floor space with a bulky desk - opt for something more slimline or even better a whole wall unit with a desk that folds away.

String mid-century modern office

(Image credit: John Lewis)

2. Mix different Mid-century home office styles

Mid-century embraces both natural and synthetic materials, so don’t be afraid to mix them up. We love how this chunky wooden desk and the vintage filing cabinet looks paired with the uber modern plastic and leather chairs. 

Mid-century inspired office

(Image credit: Nest)

3. Opt for closed storage units 

When it comes to creating the retro home office of your dreams, storage is key because, let’s be honest, your blue plastic stapler and neon sticky notes don’t quite fit the overall theme. 

So go for closed home office storage. With this unit from CB2 you can mix and match open and closed shelves, keeping your mid-century finds on display and hiding away your 21st century clutter. 

Take a look at more of our home office storage ideas for a tidy and inspiring workspace.

CB2 mid-century modern side cabinet

(Image credit: CB2)

4. Go bold with Mid-century modern lighting 

When choosing lighting, think simple but sculptural. In an otherwise minimalist interior the right light fixture can make a striking statement - the curved silhouette of an arc lamp or a bright anglepoise adds an instant Mid-century feel to a room without going overboard. 

The light (and everything else) below is from John Lewis. West Elm have some great retro lighting, too. 

Home office by John Lewis

(Image credit: John Lewis)

5. Re-vamping your home office on a budget? Focus on accessories

Unfortunately, not all of us are advertisers working on Madison Avenue. So if you don’t have the budget to completely overhaul your office space but still want the Mid-century look try choosing a few accessories.

Hang some artwork that fits with the vibe, go for a vintage phone (even if it doesn’t actually work it’s a nice touch) or a choose retro alarm clock like this one from Newgate

Newgate mid-century alarm clock

(Image credit: Newgate)

6. Experiment with different colour palettes

Traditionally, Mid-century interiors lean towards more earthy colours - dark wood, burnt orange, mustard yellow, dark red. But if you aren’t a fan of brown furniture and olive upholstery, you can still hijack the Mid-century style, just change the colour palette to suit your home. Check out how this mid-century inspired office has injected pops of bright blue…

Mid-century inspired office

(Image credit: Nest)

We also love how the desk and vintage chair in this room nods towards the Mid-century style but the pale pink palette gives it a fresh, girly look. 

Pale pink Mid-century inspired office

(Image credit:

7. Combine Mid-century pieces with on-trend paint techniques

If you're looking to strike the balance between your love for Mid-century furniture and a desire to experiment with on-trend paint techniques in your home office, colour blocking is a stylish option worth considering. 

Paint a dark shade up to where the dado rail would naturally sit and opt for a neutral – white being the most obvious option – above. Pair with a stylish, brass toned, round mirror, a desk with hairpin (or hairpin inspired) legs and a geometric inspired rug.

Want to recreate this look? Browse our colour blocking paint ideas for more tips and inspiration.

home office with white and blue colour blocking on walls and desk with large round mirror by pooky

(Image credit: Pooky)

8. Choose an accent colour and incorporate it into your shelf styling

if you're working with a neutral scheme – we love this use of white wood panelling on both the walls and floors – you might consider incorporating an accent feature to add depth and create more interest within the space.

Opt for a statement piece of furniture in red, burnt orange or another shade that's reminiscent of the Mid-century era, then incorporate the tone more subtly throughout the rest of your scheme – styling shelves with books in your chose shade is a great example.

home woffice with pannelled walls and floors and desk with burnt orange desk chair by pooky

(Image credit: Pooky)

Looking for more home office inspiration?