The mid-century modern style refers to the dominant style of furnishing that came about in the ’50s and ’60s, featuring functional wooden pieces, tasteful color, and a lack of frivolity or unnecessary additions.
This powerhouse of a style movement has evolved over the decades but is still incredibly popular and is used in many modern homes. Perhaps a mid-century modern dining room is still so popular because of the combination of elegance and functionality that makes it so easy to incorporate into everyday living.
If you love mid-century modern as much as we do, you might be thinking about creating your own mid-century modern dining room featuring clean lines, muted colors, and functional furniture. Need some inspiration? Read on to find out how to create a mid-century modern dining room, including key characteristics and style tips.
Characteristics Of a Mid-Century Modern Dining Room
A stylish dining table as the centerpiece
For many people looking to style their very own mid-century modern dining room, the dining table will act as a key centerpiece and feature that helps to bring the whole room together. You can use a stand-out dining table, such as one made from solid wood, as a centerpiece for your dining area for other design choices to hinge around.
When thinking about furnishing your room, it’s important to note that your furniture pieces, such as your dining table and dining chairs, don’t need to match. Often pieces in a mid-century dining room will complement each other, such as using a solid wood base material table with similarly toned dining chairs, but they don’t need to be exactly the same.
When deciding which dining table to use in your mid-century modern dining room, there are a few things you can look out for, such as clean lines, shape, and functionality. Mid-century style decor should convey a sense of minimalism and sleek design.
The shape of the dining table should catch your eye when you walk into the room, providing a focal point for the dining space – for example, by using a pedestal dining table.
Tasteful use of color
While the key to an authentic mid-century modern dining room is simplicity, that doesn’t mean you can’t introduce any color into your dining room design.
Despite the minimalistic trend, color was (and still is) key to many beautiful mid-century modern dining rooms. When the mid-century modern fashion was first introduced, color was used in ways we had never seen before, for example, in a piece of feature furniture or as a bold accent.
The key to incorporating color into your mid-century modern dining room is to be brave but not go overboard. Some good ideas include using key items of furniture to bring in a pop of color, such as upholstered dining chairs in a vibrant hue or a fabric table lamp in a bold color.
In short, using color can be a beautiful addition to your dining room, but keep it minimal and don’t splatter it around the whole room.
The mid-century modern aesthetic focuses predominantly on clean lines and often uses a mix of both geometric and organic shapes. With this style, simplicity and minimalism truly are king! Some of the most effective dining room pieces, such as dining chairs and tables, are basic and minimal.
Think of a classic rectangular dining table in a warm brown tone or dark walnut finish, with tapered legs and matching dining chairs. Alternatively, you could choose a low table with a manufactured wood base material, tapered table legs, and a round tabletop. Whatever you choose, remember to focus on simple designs with minimalistic features and elaborations.
Style may be important in mid-century modern design, but functionality is critical. The minimalistic theme insists that every piece of furniture is there for a purpose and so must be fully functional and practical for everyday use.
If you are a family of four or more, ensure that your solid wood dining table comfortably seats the right number of people. Additionally, ensure you select the appropriate number of dining chairs for your practical use. No piece should be without its purpose, so don’t fill your room with furniture that is there merely to be admired.
This strict attention to functionality is the main reason why pieces from the era are still in circulation today – they were made to last!
Use of wall decoration
Similar to other pieces of furniture, wall decoration in the mid-century modern design is used minimally yet effectively. Due to the focus on simplicity, it’s important not to clutter the walls with too many pieces of decoration or art. Instead, we’d recommend focusing on a few key elements of decoration that stand out as features within the room.
Inspiration could include a large, chromatic, or vintage-style mirror, used as a feature to help bring light into the room. Alternatively, you could also use a large graphic or print to draw attention to a wall or space. Wall decoration can also be a great way to bring tones of color into the room through a bold, vibrant print or graphic.
Simple but effective lighting
The mid-century era was a time when hanging pendant lighting and floor and table lamps were both an integral and essential part of the design of a room. As a result, many designers will choose to use a combination of pendant lighting and strategically placed, stylish table and floor lamps to help create light in a room as an alternative to mounted wall lights.
Choosing bold and bright lampshades can be a great way to get creative with your dining room design. Fabric upholstered table lamps can add a vintage or rustic feel, while low-hanging pendant lighting can help to bring that true 1960s style into your home.
You might think that a patterned rug wouldn’t be appropriate for a minimalist-style room – but we disagree! Using a rug with a bold, distinctive pattern can be a great addition to hardwood floors and bring a focal feature into your dining room.
You could choose a monochromatic patterned rug with sharp lines and geometric shapes, or why not utilize some bold colors that accentuate other features in your room, such as pillows or an upholstered dining chair. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your choice of rug.
A muted yet attractive color palette running throughout
True mid-century modern fashion uses a simple and stylish color palette. Many will choose to stick to muted colors throughout, with bold patterns or shapes used to fill the space.
Alternatively, some will choose to accentuate their muted color palette with the addition of a bold pop of color – in a rug, a sofa, or fabric dining chairs.
The final decision is yours, but simplicity and minimalism are key to this style, so don’t go overboard with color: less is usually more!
Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Ideas
Why not mix it up by adding a touch of a modern retro vibe and 50s chic to your mid-century modern dining room. There are no rules when you’re designing your own home, so feel free to mix it up a little!
If you have a period property, make use of the high ceilings by installing a contemporary low-hanging chandelier as a focal piece for your room. Contrast your naturally high ceilings and period features such as cornice moldings and wall paneling with a low-slung solid wood table made with a walnut base material and matching dining room chairs.
Why not marry Scandi-cool style with hints of mid-century modern for the ultimate minimalistic vibe. Both types of design are incredibly similar, favoring clean lines and practical furniture designs. Scandinavian décor has become extremely popular around the world for its practical mix of functional design and beautiful form, much like mid-century modern.
Scandinavian dining rooms often feature neutral-colored dining tables in hues like light brown, oak, or black. For a Scandinavian-style dining room, why not use a design with white walls and dark walnut furniture?
Try out a floating sideboard for simple style and solid wood chairs with tapered legs surrounding a clean oak dining table. For a pop of color, add in a bright yellow rug or throw!
If you have an open-plan kitchen-come-dining room, make the most of it by utilizing a mid-century modern theme across the whole space. Fill your room with clean lines and neutral tones, and make the most of open spaces with large feature pieces, such as a bold floor lamp, wall print, or hanging light pendant or chandelier.
Open-plan rooms can often really suit the mid-century modern fashion due to their large and airy nature, often with plenty of natural light to accentuate the space. To avoid filling the room with too many pieces, opt for large items of furniture that are also functional – simplicity is key!
Bright and airy
Mid-century modern favors clean simplicity, which is why having a bright and airy dining room can be a great way to bring mid-century modern themes into your home.
Utilize natural light with large mirror features to bring more light into the room, and use bright, neutral tones such as whites, yellows, and light browns to keep your dining room bright and breezy.
Why not accentuate this design with a statement piece or color, or bring plants into the space in statement solid wood plant pots for a bohemian edge? You can also use floor and table lamps to light up any dark corners!
As well as our interior dining room, we also want to have a stylish space outside where we can rest, eat and spend time in fresh air and nature – when the weather permits in the summer months.
Utilize outdoor space by creating a mid-century style outside dining space. For some, using large bi-fold doors can be a great option for creating an indoor–come–outdoor social space for warmer months. Large bi-folds bring a lot of light into the room and can be a key feature in a mid-century modern themed space!
Bi-folds with a dark solid wood frame can be a wonderful compliment to the outdoor area. In the outside space, use simple and functional low seating around a stylish solid wood table to continue the theme outdoors.
A key feature could be a firepit, or stylish outdoor table with a manufactured wood base material, to place the seats around. Additionally, potted plants and hangers can add extra décor to the space, with the green tones complimenting the wooden earthiness of much mid-century modern furniture.
Mid-century modern is a style that has proved to be timeless and shows no signs of going out of fashion. For this reason, it’s a popular design choice for many homeowners and design stylists. It’s versatile, simplistic, and also practical – with its focus on clean lines, natural beauty, and ultimate functionality.
Whether you’re on the hunt for true vintage mid-century pieces to bring your dining room to life or are looking to replicate the style with modern takes on this classic style of design, with a few simple design tips as stated in this blog piece, you’ll have the mid-century dining room of your dreams in no time!
Where can I buy mid-century modern dining room furniture online?
The best place to shop for mid-century modern furniture online will depend on whether you’re looking for original or replica pieces. For authentic, vintage pieces, try looking at second-hand furniture stores and in auction rooms. Alternatively, many modern-day furniture stores will stock furniture that replicates the mid-century modern aesthetic.
Is original mid-century furniture worth the price?
Mid-century modern furniture is incredibly practical and tends to withstand many years of use, so it is often a worthwhile and timeless investment due to its beauty and functionality.
Is mid-century modern style suitable for a formal dining room?
Mid-century modern furniture is definitely suitable for a classy dining room. Why not choose a table with a manufactured wood base material and oak top for a timeless and classic look!