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Mid-Century Modern Living Room Ideas

Midcentury modern made its way into the hearts of design enthusiasts in the 1950s and has stuck around ever since. The style that has lasted the test of time can most commonly be found in the shape of a midcentury modern living room, where you can showcase its simple forms and clean lines in all their glory. Learn how to implement the best midcentury ideas to create a functional and highly stylish space inspired by the 1950s and ‘60s.

Design Elements

To really nail down your midcentury modern living room, take cues from your home’s natural surroundings, bring in organic shapes and materials and feature gentle curves and minimalistic details. Your space should feel practical yet inviting and cheerful. Here are some common elements to help you achieve the ultimate midcentury vibe.

  • Lacquer and plastic: The sleek shine of lacquered furniture and smooth curves of molded plastic chairs will bring the clean touch that midcentury design calls for.
  • Mid-tone wood: This will bring in a warm and inviting element. Use a medium-tone wood in flooring, wall paneling, on the ceiling, for major furniture pieces or as small accents, like the legs of a sofa.
  • Stone: This makes for the perfect nature-inspired element. Create a feature stone fireplace surround or use it on a smaller scale with a marble coffee table.
  • Metal finishes: Brass and gold are the quintessential metallics to use in a midcentury living room design. They’re warm yet sleek, adding the perfect amount of shine.
  • Textiles: A variety of textiles work well in midcentury modern designs. Leather, velvet and other textured fabrics make for the perfect upholstery. Other natural materials, like jute, are ideal for rugs.
  • White: This color, or lack thereof, not only brings a light and airy quality to a space, but sets the background for colors and textures to stand out. White walls and ceilings are a good way to implement this element.
  • Pops of color: This can be in the form of vibrant, saturated colors, pastels or even earth tones that mimic nature. Blues and oranges make for especially nice accents. Don’t be shy — these pops can be in the form of your sofa or accent chair.
  • Plants: A structural plant or two will really make the living room come together and help pull the outdoors in. Think ferns, snake plants, succulents or a stunning fiddle leaf fig tree.
  • Natural light: Large windows that let in plenty of natural light will give you the indoor/outdoor feel that you see in so many midcentury modern living room ideas.


Midcentury modern furniture has distinct features that make it easily identifiable. Below are the main staples you need to create a midcentury masterpiece and what to look for in each one.

  • Accent chair: A good accent chair can be the pièce de résistance in a midcentury living room. Find a well structured lounge chair with gentle sloping lines. Think the Eames Chair or the Wegner Shell Chair for inspiration.
  • Sofa: Low profile designs where the frame is raised to exposed simple, tapered legs are characteristic of midcentury design. Tailored cushions and square arms will give you the clean lines you’re looking for.
  • Coffee table: To truly call your space midcentury, you need a coffee table. Look for one with hairpin or tapered legs. Rounded or gently curved shapes work best, but are not a requirement.
  • Lighting: Look for playful, unique, and oversized lighting. Light fixtures should make a statement in your living room. Large standing lamps, like an arc lamp next to a comfortable accent chair, are an easy way to provide light and style.

Whether you want inspiration for planning a mid-century modern living room renovation or are building a designer living room from scratch, Houzz has 26,381 images from the best designers, decorators, and architects in the country, including Jennifer Garner Interiors and Ryan Group Architects. Look through living room pictures in different colors and styles and when you find a mid-century modern living room design that inspires you, save it to an Ideabook or contact the Pro who made it happen to see what kind of design ideas they have for your home. Explore the beautiful mid-century modern living room photo gallery and find out exactly why Houzz is the best experience for home renovation and design.