How to create a Mid-century-inspired living room

Taking the leap from Ikea to Eames? Check out our expert tips on how to create a Mid-century-inspired living room

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Designing a living room in a Mid-century modern style? We can't get enough of the clean lines, unusual patterns and uncluttered feel, but the Mad Men vibe can sometimes feel like it's difficult to obtains when you are doing up a living room on a budget. But don't let that deter you, you can still incorporate the Mid-century modern style into you living room without splurging. 

So if you love the idea of mid-century interiors but you're not exactly sure where to start, we've got some tips and tricks from vintage expert Kate Beavis to help you add that minimalist-yet-vintage vibe to your living room.

How to choose mid-century living room furniture

Lightweight, thin-framed wooden furniture is an essential for a Mid-Century modern aesthetic. Opt for simple silhouettes, tapered legs and medium-stained brown wood. 

“Teak living room furniture from respected manufacturers such as G Plan, Nathan and McIntosh became popular in the early 1960s. They designed functional items such as sideboards with a contemporary feel, integrated handles and a medium-gloss finish,” explains vintage expert Kate Beavis. “Other woods were popular also: Ercol’s English elm and Danish rosewood became the wood of choice for higher-end pieces.”

Mid-century modern living room

(Image: © Ikea)

For a contrast to all the brown wood, make sure you add in plenty of pops of colour or accents of white. Try mixing and matching wooden furniture with resin or plastic furniture such as tulip chairs or a transparent coffee table. 

Mid century modern living room with Farrow and Ball wallpaper

(Image: © Farrow and Ball)

No Mid-century living room is complete without a beautiful stand-out chair – an occasional chair if you will. These strikingly simple chair designs soared to popularity during the mid-twentieth century and are definitely making a modern day comeback. The pared back look and the slimline shape makes for the perfect piece of furniture for both small livings rooms and more lofty spaces. 

Mid-century modern green living room

(Image: © Essential Home)

Redecorating on a budget? Go for Mid-century modern remakes

It may be the dream to fill your living room with one off vintage pieces, if your budget won’t stretch to that there are loads of great Mid-century modern inspired pieces available from high-street stores. Made.com is our go to site for anything Mid-century, and its especially great for Mid-century style sofas. Swoon Editions offers some amazing sideboard options – look for anything made from warm wood and with a tapered leg.  Even Ikea has jumped on the bandwagon, anything from their Stockholm collection is going to add a tonne of Mid-century aesthetic to your living room.

Blush pink Mid-century living room

(Image: © Made.com)

We suggest mixing and matching remakes with the real thing to keep you living room original. Mid-century modern knick knacks can often hide on the shelves in charity shops so you can pick them up relatively cheaply if you are lucky. Look out for Scandinavian-inspired prints and quirky ceramics.

Don’t forget to scour eBay for any bargains too. The pieces you find may need a bit of TLC but it will be worth it to save the £££.

Get smart Mid-century modern storage

No matter how clean and simple your desired aesthetic, you are still going to need some kind of mid-century living room storage to hide away your 21st century clutter. “For your books, vinyl and even your TV, choose a modular storage system, such as Ladderax, “ suggests Kate. “The system consisted of teak shelves, cupboards, drawers and pull down cocktail units which could be positioned exactly as you wanted.”

Mid-century modern living room with storage unit

(Image: © Made.com)

Opt for Mid-century modern flooring

To get a smarter finish to your Mid-century living room, choose a real wood floor such as parquet. Wool rugs in autumnal muted tones will add texture and softness to your room – you could even hang rugs on your walls as artwork. 

Mid century modern living room with wooden flooring

(Image: © Made.com)

Incorporate Mid-century modern living room decor

There are two essentials when it comes to decorating your Mid-century living room  – a sunburst clock and teak mirror (or indeed a sunburst mirror and a teak clock.) Style them together to create a feature gallery wall or choose one large piece to stand alone. 

There are tonnes of remakes out there, like this starburst Newgate wall clock or this round gold mirror from H&M home. But if you are after the real thing try online auctions like 1stDibs or keep an eye out at antique fairs. 

Starburst mirrors and clock in mid-century modern living room

(Image: © Dunelm)

Finish the look with Mid-century modern lighting

Living room lighting during the 1960s was heavily influenced by all things cosmic so opt for anything that looks vaguely spaceship-like. “The defining lights of this era were both rocket shaped,” explains Kate. “The lava lamp was designed in 1963 but didn’t become popular until later in the decade. The rocket lamp made from spun resin was a must have in the 1960s. Standing on three teak legs, the orange rocket is tall and eye catching….and lit up sends a warm glow around the room. Expect to pay £150+ for a fully working one.”

Again, there are plenty of replicas out there. West Elm has some incredible mid-century modern inspired lighting, as does Heal’s.

Mid-century modern living room lighting

(Image: © Essential Home)

Where to buy Mid-century furniture

Online: There are many shops to choose from, here are some that Kate recommends:

Almeida Interiors, Oh So Retro, Vintage Mischief and Whittaker and Gray

Fairs & Festivals: The Vintage Home Show , The Furniture Flea and Mid Century Modern all hold regular events in London, Leeds, Manchester and Bristol with some of the best traders in the UK who sell items suitable for all budgets as well as co-ordinating homewares. Look out for vintage festivals too, who have a large homewares arcade such as The Festival of Vintage.

Shops: Keep your eyes peeled for emporiums who sell pieces from different sellers such as Space in Harrogate and Hemswell Antiques Centre.

Join Kate on her blog www.katebeavis.com

Twitter:  @yourvintagelife

Facebook: www.facebook.com/katebeavisvintage

Instagram:  @ihavethisthingwithvintage

Pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/yourvintagelife

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