Charming, timeless, inherently beautiful, we're talking about mid-century small living room ideas. You've probably encountered this interior design style without even knowing it, but it's the one that had that touch of put-together coolness.
It might look effortless but it's anything but, needing balance pull it off. Our expert interior designers dive into bringing mid-century small living room ideas to life with wooden pieces, tufted furniture, and slimline, low-slung chairs.
Achieve this unfussy, earthy, yet energizing vibe that works brilliantly as a small living room idea, with inspiration from our super seven style tips.
7 mid-century small living room ideas
Simply put, mid-century design is cool without being overdone, and timeless without feeling dusty. Lack of square footage will not interrupt this interior design style's presence with help from our panel of experts and their recommendations.
1. Keep it simple with a gentle contrast of colors
The mid-century modern aesthetic is eye-catching for many reasons, including its balanced color palettes. When deciding your mid-century smaller living room idea, lean into a neutral base palette, before layering shades of brown.
Interior designer Amy Youngblood says. "When designing a mid-century style living room, stick with a more neutral and light pallet. I like colors such as caramel, tan, blacks, shades or white with pops of green."
The key is to keep it pared-back. Amy adds, "The mid-century modern era produced a lot of nature-inspired colors so keep it organic looking and simple!"
Amy Youngblood creates stunning interiors thoughtfully blending lifestyle and design preferences. With extensive experience in the Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio markets, as well as Northern Kentucky and beyond, Amy Youngblood Interiors continues to take the design world by storm.
2. Let artistic elements speak for themselves
While a vintage Picasso print (such as Harlequin on horseback here) does not really need emphasis, a small mid-century modern design takeaway is its soft and unfussy approach to colorful accessories and wall decor. Notice how Harlequin stands alone, with just a dash of natural and artificial light, and that is enough to add style and elegance.
"Vibrant throw pillows, bold area rugs, fun lighting, and eye-catching wall art can inject personality and warmth into the space without overwhelming it," explains Amy. "The key lies in striking a balance between simplicity and pops of color, creating a harmonious mid-century small living room that feels both inviting and stylish."
3. Add life with greenery
A biophilic element (things that connect people with nature) will make a small mid-century modern living room more lively, not to mention that greenery nearly always features in this style of space.
"Stay with neutral base colors such as soft grays or warm beiges but apply nature-infused accents," says designer Artem Kropovinsky. Think indoor plants, in architectural vases, and hang them up to enjoy adding height and green texture to your room.
Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.
4. Soften with pink tones and upholstered furniture
Curated pieces from Crate & Barrel, Urban Outfitters, and Ruggable (where you can find similar super soft shag carpets) come together in this Farrow & Ball pink painted room as put together by @domandecors. It shows a sweet take on mid-century design.
The upholstered sofa combined with the sharp Sputnik lighting fixture make this small mid-century living room pretty divine, don't you think? We reckon this six-light ceiling mount Sputnik fixture with adjustable arms and dimmer capacity from Wayfair would emulate this look perfectly.
Mid-century design is not without texture, and using rugs and cozier elements is the perfect way to soften wood, and sharper-edged materials too.
"I love to mix materials for a small mid-century living room," continues Amy. "Leather, metal, glass, acrylic, and textured fabrics all enhance and bring interest to the space."
Reclined for comfort
A low-slung leather accent chair brings all the funk of the century to a small space.
Made from: MDF, acacia, eucalyptus
Size (in): H17 x W25 x L38
This sleek mid-century coffee table ticks all of the small living room boxes for this timeless style, made from MDF, acacia, and eucalyptus wood for durability, its natural finish wipes clean.
5. Let furniture anchor the space and streamline the layout
With the design of any minimal small space, there is no room for clutter, and the same goes for bringing a mid-century vibe to your living room. "Creating a stylish mid-century small living room involves a thoughtful approach to furniture selection and layout," says designer Jennifer Davis.
"Embracing the minimalist character of the mid-century design era, opt for a less-is-more approach when it comes to furniture. Choose functional yet interesting pieces that serve dual purposes, such as a sleek coffee table with hidden storage or console that doubles as a bar. Additionally, emphasize the importance of white space to give the illusion of openness."
These elements will help you avoid small living room layout mistakes.
Jennifer fell in love with design at a young age and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She has developed an eye for detail and a talent for creating timeless designs. Jennifer offers a balance of creativity and forward-thinking with a structured, organized, and detailed mentality.
Also in white
A walnut wood veneer base, topped with tempered glass adds an artistic element.
Pop this abstract piece on a sideboard for a twist.
7. Give it life with geometric and colorful accents
"To strengthen the mid-century feel, use some lighting fixtures with geometric shapes," continues Artem.
It's clear @domandecors does this beautifully in this small lounge space, which also features a linear patterned Ruggable and curvaceous forms in the couch and coffee table.
Although the furniture, such as the olive-green sofa, is chunky, since the color and pattern aren't over the top, it doesn't overwhelm the small living room.
The Sputnik classic
Iconic, this Sputnik sphere chandelier is available in gold, black and gold, and rubbed white gold.
Make a mid-century small living room space bounce with this burnt amber modular sofa.
Solid wood frame
Green pairs perfectly with orange and wood tones.
7. Let it take a retro twist
We told you there were options and we love @mylifeinmulticolor's take on mid-century on this maximalist small space.
The cloud wall mural, bright carpet, and artwork is all toned down and brought together by a charming wooden cabinet and groovy chair. It proves that sometimes going big is all you need in a small space. Jazz up a more minimal scheme with a cute addition like this bubble candle from Target or pop art print from Etsy.
Though a neutral base is often where designers start, especially if working with a small space, adding color in this way can ignite a mid-century modern scheme beautifully.
"Use a neutral color palette for larger furniture items and walls, allowing colorful accents to take center stage," recommends Amy.
Go big on curves, especially with big furniture items, and be sure to contrast textures and have fun with color and lighting. Mid-century modern living room ideas are a firm favorite in small spaces that want to look cool and timeless.
Next, take vibe elsewhere in your home, with celeb inspiration from Olivia Rodrigo's mid-century dining room.