Mid-century modern: how to get the look

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Blame it on Mad Men, but our appetite for 1950’s style and furniture is insatiable. It was the design movement of the times, which launched a quintessential look that was organic, minimalist and smooth with a distinct style. Iconic names such as Eames, Ercol and Arne Jacobsen were key players in the innovative design movement and their ideals are still evident in today’s contemporary design and are stronger than ever.


Whether you are creating a mid-century modern living room, a mid-century home office, bedroom or kitchen the essential elements of this grown-up modern look are the same; cool colours, clean, curved lines and a mix of muted motif patterns. The warm woods and muted palette make this trend ideal for a calm, contemporary look.


Start with organic and architectural forms; furniture should be characterised by tapered legs and curves. Then, combine with Scandinavian-inspired prints and ceramics, while a funky floor lamp and a nest of tables won’t go astray either.


Go for a cool palette. Dusty greys, light teal, duck egg and Nordic blues and in some cases feminine pastels beautifully balance warm and light-coloured wood. Clean crisp white makes the perfect accent. Create a feature wall with fabulously funky wallpaper in geometric print or make a feature of screen printed artwork and complement the look with other textiles such as colourful cushions and rugs.


Simple abstract shapes in soft blues and browns fit the bill or go the other end of the spectrum and inject pops of bright colour. The finished mid-century look is perfect for creating relaxed but stylish mid-century living spaces.

Pink bedroom with Ecrol style furniture (pictured)Yes, mid-century modern can take on a feminine angle too. This pretty pink bedroom has been made comfortable by positioning an original Ecrol sofa at the foot of a similar blonde wood bed. 1950’s style dandelion print fabric completes the retro look.

Fabric Sanderson.

Image credit: David Cleveland
Image credit: Heather Hobhouse

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