Mid-Century Modern Furniture: What It Is And How To Decorate With It

Yes, there are a lot of replicas out there. But quality mid-century modern furniture is still on the market as well. And it’s becoming more and more popular and valuable. If you are into clean, curved lines, tapered legs, and the mixing of natural and man-made materials, you will appreciate this aesthetic. And, even if you’re usually not, give this style a shot.  You might enjoy the combinations of mid-century modern design more than you assume at first. But, before you make that decision, check out this article.  We’ll tell you more about the history and the key characteristics and share out best design tips for mid-century modern wood furniture.

What Is Mid-Century Modern Wood Furniture 

Mid-century modern design is a movement that originates from the middle of the twentieth century. Its most recognizable characteristics are clean lines, combinations of materials, loud colors, and graphic shapes. Many designers believe that this style is rooted in functionality, reflecting the time from which it originates. Or, simply put, MCM furniture is what you’ve seen on the TV show, Mad Men. And, since that show started airing in 2007, this design style started growing in popularity. With the show becoming a worldwide success, MCM furniture spread across the globe. So wait no more and learn more about solid wood furniture!

4 Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern Design

These four are the staples of quality mid-century modern furniture, so remember them before you start shopping.

Mixing materials

MCM furniture is known for the mixing of materials. Quite often, one piece will include both artificial and natural elements. So, man-made materials like plastic and vinyl are often paired with wood, metal, and glass. Also, this design style tends to pair modern pieces and vintage elements in the same composition.

Indoor-outdoor fusion

Just like mid-century modern architecture enjoyed the fusion of the outdoors and artificial structures, this design style likes to combine the two. Including a few plants inside the room will be required if you wish to give your home a mid-century feel. If you can’t have a connected indoor-outdoor experience, a couple of ferns in the corner will do the trick.


As we mentioned, MCM furniture is recognizable by its clean lines. The focus of the pieces is often set on functionality rather than cluttering up the room. This characteristic is quite visible with chairs and tables. This furniture is often constructed of simple materials on wooden or metal legs. 

Pops of color

Quality mid-century modern furniture is known for combining the neutral tones of nature with bright manufactured accents. Usually, black, white, and wood tones are paired with a pop of color, typical for the style.

Our Tips for Decorating a Mid-Century Modern Room

Regardless of which type of room you plan on decorating in this style, listening to our tips will help you achieve the mid-century modern look you are seeking.  So, before you start moving things around, check out our advice.

Statement Pieces Should Be the Focal Point

To do this, you’ll have to have one or two statement pieces that reflect the middle of the twentieth century. So, get yourself a bean-shaped table and some artwork to reflect on the past times and work with them. Everything else should complement your key features. So, the colors, window treatments, and other components should highlight the main attraction.

Don’t forget nature

MCM design must have a natural side. Whether it’s the materials you incorporate in the furniture, potted plants, or a proper connection to the outside. It’s important not to forget about nature and implement those elements in the composition.

Experiment with color

This is the one thing you can’t forget about, no matter the situation. Mid-century was full of color, so let it pop now and then. And, there are so many options from which you can choose. Your color pop can come from a loud rug, couch cushions, a painting, or anything else in the room. With so many opportunities, your only task is to choose the best one.

Common Mistakes When Decorating in Mid-Century Modern Style

Now that you know how to create an MCM experience, you should learn to avoid the beginners’ mistakes.

Buying a Piece Only Because It’s MCM

Simply because you love a particular decorating style doesn’t mean that buying all pieces of that kind will improve your composition. Most beginners get lost in trying to find mid-century pieces and end up shopping for anything that fits the style. However, this isn’t the right approach to designing a room. Thinking about every piece before buying it is crucial to creating the appropriate design balance. Make sure you know where and how you plan on incorporating the artwork before you grab your wallet.

Not Repairing Dated Items

Mid-century modern wood furniture requires a bit of dedication. You need to take care of the pieces correctly and not allow them to look used and worn out. However, if you take your time and adequately refurbish the dated pieces, using them again is entirely acceptable. There is room for repaired items in this style of design. You just need to do the job correctly.

Using Only Dark Woods and Neutral Colors

This is one of the most common mistakes people make trying to design in an MCM style. They often believe that mid-century means only dark woods and muted colors, which is far from the truth. The colorful accents are just as important as the design’s grey, brown, and white tones. So, don’t forget about the red, green, and yellow, and they’ll take your design to another level.

Relying on Pieces That Are Too Small

Being space-friendly is crucial to a well-designed MCM room. However, many people rely on pieces too small for the space they’re trying to decorate. Designing a tiny studio can’t work the same as a large living room connected to the outdoors. Make sure to keep an eye on the size of the items you are buying. MCM features of a smaller size tend to get lost in larger rooms, so plan before wasting your money on something that might not be noticeable.

Going Overboard

Yes, this happens quite often. People read a few key characteristics and start designing without a proper plan. Their design usually ends up as a cluster of pieces that should be mid-century. However, the key to any good composition is balance. Not everything needs to be a pair of muted neutrals and loud colors. Every corner doesn’t have to have a small MCM element to it. Instead, let the room be minimalistic in some areas. Also, you don’t want your home to look like a storefront. Let yourself incorporate a few contemporary pieces into the mix. It will create a balance that won’t feel too offensive to guests.

Check Out Our Website

Are you thinking of designing your home in a mid-century modern style? If you are, visit the Moku Artisan website, and give our designs a look. We can help you turn your living space into an MCM style home.

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