Mid-Century Modern Style Decor: A Basic Guide

The mid century modern style came out around the 40's and has timber, practicality and geometry as its essential features.
Mid-Century Modern Style Decor: A Basic Guide

Last update: 27 January, 2019

The mid-century modern style came out in the 20th century, specifically in the decade of the 40’s. This type of decor, that has as its essential characteristics timber, practicality and geometry, started out in Northern Europe.

With the passing of the years, this style is still current and has extended from Scandinavian countries to the rest of the European continent. Below, you will be able to find out what the keys are to achieve an accurate mid-century modern style for your home.

Timber, the principal feature

If there’s an outstanding feature to be found in this decor style, it’s definitely timber. Practically all the items of furniture that come in this style are made with timber and are of high quality.

Timber is also used in the mid-century modern style as flooring. Installing a timber floor will contribute to creating a comfortable and cozy home. Despite the fact that timber needs maintenance so that it’s useful life will be longer, it’s really worth going for this material.

If you are a real timber lover, another option is to line some walls of your house using timber. Be careful though; an excess of timber lined walls can make the room or house seem smaller or even give the impression of being a little claustrophobic. However, just one wall lined with timber can lend an interesting air to the room.

An important rule: simplicity

Homes decorated in the mid-century modern style emphasize usefulness and daily comfort. They don’t have over-elaborate, overdecorated rooms. They are houses where everything that’s present carries out a function.

The furniture is also simple, so even the timber isn’t highly turned or carved. Geometric shapes prevail both in the furniture and the decor items.

To achieve a mid century modern style, include furniture with clean lines and plenty of timber

Color range

As we mentioned above, the principal feature of this style is timber. Accordingly, the color of timber is what should dominate in the house. With regards to using other colors, there is total freedom in this aspect. You can feature whatever color or colors you like.

Despite this, don’t go crazy by including hundreds of colors and shades to the point that the room appears to be a rainbow. Let your tastes guide you and common sense will do the rest. The most important thing is that there be harmony in each room, and also between the rooms.

One characteristic of the mid-century modern style is that either loud colors or patterned colors or fabrics don’t work. If you want to go for printed fabric to break up the monotony of everything being a flat color, we recommend that you choose a print that’s in muted or pastel colors.

Three more features of the mid-century modern style

While it’s true that this decor style isn’t characterized by an excess of decor items, to achieve this style you should follow these suggestions:

  • Geometric shapes. For mirrors, picture frames or other objects. Geometric decor combines perfectly with furniture with simple, clean lines.
  • Retro objects. Mid-century modern style decor dates back to the 1940s and enjoyed huge popularity until the 60’s. If you want to touch on the themes of this time period, we recommend you look around in antique shops or online for objects from these years. They would be the perfect accessories for your home.
  • Nature. In the main rooms of the house, make sure you include plants so that you have contact with nature. Depending on the space you have available and the sizes of the rooms you could choose larger or smaller size plants.


In contrast to the rest of the house, when you’re considering the lighting, don’t use timber. Metal and especially bronze should be used for lamps. To achieve harmony with the rest of the home, the best option would be to choose lamps with simple geometric lines.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Iglesias, Mara: Decoración fácil y económica: secretos para renovar tu casa con poco dinero, Buenos Aire, Lea, 2013.