Have you been dreaming about a Don Draper-esque house ever since Mad Men first aired?
You’re not alone! The mid-century look is a popular one, with more homeowners adopting this particular style of interior decorating well into the 21st century. However, there’s a fine line between a house befitting a suave 60s marketing exec and one out of The Brady Bunch. If you strike the right balance though, you’ll hit the eternally popular mid-century styling.
Encompassing from roughly the 1930s to late 1960s, mid-century styling emerged in a post-war design world. Over the years, it transformed to focus on sleek forms that function, a mix of organic and handcrafted materials, and contrasting textures and colours.
It’s probably a style you associate with your parents or grandparents’ homes growing up. So, how do you incorporate mid-century styling into your home without making it look like your grandma was your interior designer?
Neutrals have been in for years but mid-century styling embraces pops of colour and bold patterns. Embracing the mid-century look means branching out from your typical muted tones and shades of white and beige. If you’re feeling particularly brave, a patterned wallpaper will create a statement. For less of a commitment though, use furnishings in shades of orange, mustard, blue or olive green, all classic mid-century colours.
There are a number of artists and styles that sprung from this period, from Pollock and Hockney to pop art and contemporary sculpture. If, like most of us, you can’t afford an original Warhol, you can always purchase reproductions from museum shops, thrift stores or buy prints online. You can even frame up some old movie posters and printed scarves for a vintage, yet put-together feel. Even the frames that you put your art in have a strong impact on the overall design of your home. Choose minimalistic sleek and matte frames that match your color scheme for a cohesive look.
Mid-century design celebrates craftsmanship and practical design, so your big furniture pieces should last for years. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice functionality for design. The best part of the mid-century look is that it combines both these aspects so you can enjoy the beautiful aesthetic, while living comfortably. If you can, find authentic pieces from a local manufacturer. Decorate these minimally with plants, framed pictures, hand-blown glass and ceramics.
Start by planning out exactly what elements of mid-century styling you’d like to incorporate in your home. Set a budget that is reasonable to work within and try upcycling wherever you can. Updating your existing home décor is a cost-effective way to bring some of the main elements of mid-century styling into your house.
Consider reupholstering or revarnishing furniture you already own. Hang your favourite movie poster above a sideboard or go for a woven rug with a geometric pattern. Painting an existing lamp to add a pop of colour to your bedside table can work well too.
Try mixing pieces of different heights, so if you have a low coffee table, add a tall arc lamp as a contrast. You don’t need to go on a shopping spree to feel like Don Draper – just look for items that are easy to swap out and there you have it, you’ve mastered the mid-century look.
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