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7 Easiest Ways to Achieve the Mid-Century Modern Look

The mid-century modern style peaked around the 1950s, originating from America before gaining traction in Denmark and the Scandinavians. It’s a style that advocates functionality, and is defined by clean and elegant forms as well as bold, saturated hues.

In Singapore, the style hasn’t quite taken off, in part because getting the right furniture for it doesn’t come cheap. Still, it’s a look that many of us are partial to, which is why we’re putting together a list of ways you can achieve this style that doesn’t involve splurging on a Charles Eames Lounge Chair. (Bonus: affordable mid-century furniture you can actually buy.)


1. Check out those tapered legs

Furniture with tapered legs show off the classic mid-century look.

Design: Versaform

Nothing says mid-century more than furniture with tapered legs. Tapered legs gradually go from thick to thin, and in mid-century furniture, the legs tend to take on a rounded form and are usually set at an angle.


Look at those tapered legs on the Skagen Danish Compact TV Console ($599, Born in Colour)!


2. Go for low-slung seats that have clean and sculptural forms

Seats go low for a casual vibe in this mid-century style living room.

Design: Three-D Conceptwerke

Seats in the living room are usually closer to the ground in a mid-century style, which gives off a casual vibe. Build an easy-going atmosphere by putting different chairs together so that the space doesn’t feel too formal. Armchairs and sofas shouldn’t be frilly and ornate; instead, you want them to have clean silhouettes. Opt for curved shapes to complement the straight edges in the room.

Living life on the low with a sofa like this Dual Tone 3-Seater ($2,799, Commune).


3. Colour Scheme = earthy, with bold accents

A fabric olive green headboard lends a pop of mid-century colour in this bedroom.

Design: Distinct Identity

The colour palette for mid-century leans towards natural, earthy shades with a saturated undertone. Think mid-tone teak wood and olive greens. But don’t be afraid to use bold colours as accents. Make your mark with punchy, retro-field hues like red, orange and green or even the more contemporary jewel tones. Pair them with lots of silver, black and grey to stay modern.

Be bright and bold with the D Chair Tarp in Green ($790, Retro Colony).


4. Set all of them in a white background

Let your furniture steal the show with a clean, white backdrop.

Design: The Scientist

To create a fresh and modern look, use a crisp, white background. It can make a stunning contrast with your mid-century furniture too. Make sure the white you pick doesn’t have a yellowish or bluish tinge though. You want to stay on neutral grounds.


5. Invite graphic and geometric prints

Fabrics like rugs and cushions are the perfect way to invite prints into your mid-century home.

Design: Three-D Conceptwerke

Carpets and rugs are a safe way to throw in prints and patterns in your mid-century space. But if you want to make a grander statement, do so with wallpaper. There’s no need to clad every wall, just pick a focal point and swathed in a wallpaper featuring a graphic or geometric print. For a softer look, opt for organic, biomorphic designs, which are also very mid-century.

Deck your mid-century home with a printed graphic rug like this Aldo Blue 4”x6” Rug ($209, Crate & Barrel).


6. Stay classy with brass

Brass hardware provide a subtle elegance to this mid-century kitchen.

Design: Versaform

Mid-century furniture and brass is a classic pairing that never gets old. And we love how elegant brass can look without being over the top or too luxurious, which the mid-century style is not. You don’t want those metallic all over the place though; keep them to one or two details in a single space.


7. Say it with statement lighting

Got spare cash? Splurge on a Flos Arco Lamp or a Charles Eames Lounge.

Design: Free Space Intent

Lighting is a huge player in a mid-century home. They are often major statements, so they will make an immediate and big impact. One of our favourite lightings for mid-century homes is the arc floor lamp, which is perfect for a reading or living room. Metallic scones are gorgeous in mid-century bathrooms, while we love globe-shaped pendants for the dining area. Instead of lights with metallic finishes, you can also opt for moulded plastic pendants that are iconic of the 1950s.

The Calvin floor lamp ($169, Castlery) looks quintessentially mid-century.

Will mid-century modern be a look you’re planning to go for? Let us know in the comments!


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