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How to Spot and Decorate with Mid-Century Modern Designs

Everywhere you look, the term mid-century modern is thrown around. But it's more than a popular buzzword—it defines an entire era of style, furniture, architecture, and more! While mid-century modern chairs and mod bedroom sets were designed decades ago, it's still a popular aesthetic in today's day and age. 

We've gathered our best tips for spotting mid-century modern furniture and collectibles, as well as ways to feature them in your home. The next time you're perusing the aisles of a Chicago antique mall, keep your eyes peeled for these sophisticated styles and upgrade your home décor! 

Fall in Love with Mid-Century Modern Furniture

Did you grow up sleeping over in your grandparents’ mod bedroom on vacation or adore Mad Men's set design? People rediscover their love for MCM designs in every generation. From chairs in your kitchen to a mid-century modern table in the dining room, there's no age limit for decorating with mid-century modern furniture—whether you're 19 or 99, there's a piece perfect for your home. 

What Years Are Considered Mid-Century Modern?

Often referred to as MCM, the mid-century modern style we know and love describes furniture, items, and décor produced after World War II from the mid-1940s to the 1970s. The introduction of mid-century modern furniture turned everything on its head. The people fell in love with the simplicity of the brand new mid-century modern table, chair, and mod bedroom set designs entering the market—so much so that they’ve remained popular ever since.

5 Elements of Mid-Century Modern Style

If you're interested in adding a mid-century modern chair to your guest bedroom or investing in a mid-century modern table, it’s important to be prepared! Learn more about each of these five common design elements for MCM pieces before you shop for vintage furniture in Illinois.

1. Bright and Muted Color Palette

After coming out of an era that featured darker, neutral hues, the colors used in mid-century modern furniture took a 180. Two main color palettes emerged to create the versatile pieces: one with rich, bright hues and another with earth tones. 

The bright color palette, featuring pale pink, blue, yellow, teal, and lime, was used earlier in the era. While most mid-century modern tables, sofas, and more were created with muted colors, there are plenty of collectibles, wall art, and mid-century modern choices made with these bold accent colors.

The muted color palette emerged later, with olive, mustard yellow, brown, and burnt orange as the primary staples. This was an era of creating a visual harmony between outdoor surroundings and home interiors, and this color scheme made it possible. Combining these earthier hues with the handcrafted, woodsy materials led to the creation of countless mid-century modern furniture pieces still used today.

2. Mixed Materials

Mid-century modern furniture was the first of its kind. In decades past, most tables, chairs, and cabinets were made using one main material, with occasional accents for handles and metalwork. For MCM, designers began using an innovative combination of multiple materials in one mid-century modern table, TV unit, or chest of drawers. 

The mixed material look was the first of its kind. Whether using metal to create the legs of a mid-century modern chair or adding glass paneling to an armoire, each piece of mid-century modern furniture was a blend of textures and materials. Fake leather, polyester, and velvet were popular mid-century chair and sofa fabric choices. 

Preferred Mid-Century Modern Furniture Materials

Keep a look out at a vintage furniture Florida shop for mod bedroom sets and mid-century chairs that combine these materials:

  • Hardwood (such as walnut, rosewood, and teak)

  • Metal

  • Fiberglass

  • Cement

  • Steel

3. Form and Function

In the post-WWII age, furniture and home design were all about utility and versatility. Each style valued function over extravagance, stripping each design to the basics and simplifying the look. This minimalistic influence can be seen in many mid-century modern furniture items. 

There are examples of functional yet stylish mid-century modern furniture designs everywhere. While most traditional tables have four supportive legs, mid-century modern tables were built with one central beam, allowing more room for chairs. Mid-century modern chairs were designed with comfort and ergonomic structure in mind—and the sophisticated Eames lounge chair was born. 

4. Geometric Curves and Lines

Mid-century modern furniture is known for its unique geometric forms. Different clothing, wall art, and mod bedroom sheet sets use ovals, triangles, and other organic shapes to create the bold repeating patterns this era is known for. 

The base layers of mid-century modern furniture, such as the body of a chair or the shape of a desk, utilize clean and straight lines. Any accents, such as metal framing, legs, or glass panels, are created with soft, gentle curves to create a sleek shape. 

5. Nature's Influence

One of the biggest inspirations for the mid-century design movement is connecting with nature. Homes, offices, and hotels embraced the open-floor plans and minimalist furniture pieces. The natural wood grains of mid-century modern furniture, oversized windows in architecture, and the woodsy color palettes for mid-century modern chairs are classic examples of the indoor-outdoor intention. 

Why Decorate with Vintage Mid-Century Modern Furniture?

Skip the same-old designs everyone else has and search for completely unique pieces at an antique mall event. Good news: the mid-century modern chairs, tables, and décor you’ll find will never go out of style!

When it comes to filling your home with unique pieces, mid-century modern furniture never fails. With its charming colors and timeless silhouettes, the pieces created in this time complement every other era of style. Pair your favorite Victorian couch with a mid-century modern chair without disrupting the flow of your family room, or nestle a set of mid-century modern chairs into a mid-century modern table to complete your breakfast nook without clashing against your existing furniture. 

Wondering how to shop for vintage furniture? Well, mid-century modern tables and mid-century modern chairs are easy to find! Search your local thrift stores, family members' storage spaces, and curated collections at a Florida vendor mall, and you have a good chance of stumbling across a mod bedroom or living room design from this period. Accessible, beautiful, and durable, these pieces are everywhere if you know what to look for.

Popular Types of Mid-Century Modern Collectibles

Whether you're searching for a mod bedroom furniture set or a new mid-century modern table, there are many types of mid-century collectibles on the market:

  • Chairs

  • Clothing

  • Mod bedroom sets

  • Lighting

  • Figurines

  • Tables

  • Glassware 

Are Mid-Century Modern Collectibles Valuable?

As with any collector's item, there is always a question of value. The piece's condition, rarity, and functionality determine the value of mid-century modern collectibles. Depending on those factors, your mid-century modern table or mod bedroom piece could go for anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands!

Most Valuable Mid-Century Modern Brands

Search for these top-selling mid-century modern table and chair brands at your local Indiana antique mall, flea markets, and thrift stores. If you find one of these big-wig names, consider becoming an antique vendor to make a great sale, or add it to your personal collection.

Notable brands include:

Authenticating Mid-Century Modern Collectibles

Before you learn to sell antiques and buy mid-century modern furniture, you must ensure the item you have your eye on is authentic. Most trustworthy sellers will have completed the authentication process for you, but if you come across an unconfirmed piece, don’t give up—learn how to check it yourself. 

Many modern-day companies create retro replicas of iconic mid-century modern table and chair designs—but don't be fooled! The best way to ensure something is original is to search for the maker's mark. These stamps and labels will include information such as the manufacturer, designer, production city, or model number. Check underneath mid-century modern tables, near the legs of mid-century modern chairs, and all over for mod bedroom sets. 

5 Ways to Decorate with Mid-Century Modern Collectibles

Whether you're planning to revamp your mod bedroom set or searching for the perfect mid-century modern chair for your reading nook, there are countless ways to incorporate MCM collectibles in your home:  

1. Build a Mod Bedroom

Whether you want a touch of vintage inspiration or adore the look of a complete mod bedroom, any bedroom can be transformed into a mod style. The velvet and faux leather fabrics, low-to-the-ground mod bed frames, and rich color palette offer tranquility and style. From the vibrant geometric patterns of vintage home linens to investing in a matching mod bedroom side table set, every item can be switched out with a mid-century modern design. 

If you have to pick one item to upgrade, switch out your modern-day bedframe for a mod bedroom design. As the main décor piece in any bedroom, this will instantly give your master, kids' rooms, and guest rooms a nostalgic look. Look out for velvet-upholstered headboards and organic wooden curves to bring that instantly recognizable MCM style to your space. 

Pro tip: to solidify the mod bedroom theme, switch to vintage light fixtures! MCM lighting is known for creating a calm and inviting atmosphere, so look out for glowing MCM bedside table lamps, floor lamps, and wall sconces. 

2. Upgrade the Living Room

Mid-century modern chairs and sofas are the perfect way to upgrade your living room to the vintage scene of your dreams. Between plush, low-to-the-floor faux leather seating and soft, velvety loveseats, every mid-century modern chair design takes the cake. Purchase a matching set of mid-century modern chairs to fill the entire space, or use one mid-century modern chair as an accent. 

For your coffee tables, TV stands, and side tables, invest in the beautiful hardwood pieces mid-century modern tables are known for. The clean lines and organic embellishment of these pieces will help tie the room together. Go the extra mile and set any MCM vases, figurines, and collectibles on the mantle for all to see!

3. Replace the Dining Room Table

For a simple way to switch up your dining room, invest in a mid-century modern table. Leave the clunky, modern designs behind—the elegant silhouette and slim shape of a mid-century modern table will help to open up the space. Whether setting your mid-century modern table for Sunday dinner with the family of hosting your friends for an evening soiree, you’re sure to make memories with your loved ones around this classic mid-century modern furniture design. 

4. Spruce up the Bar Cart

When customizing your home, the little details matter. Collect mid-century modern glassware to bring a vintage look to your bar area! Set out a matching cocktail shaker and utensil set on your bar cart, or place the Michel Dartois pineapple ice bucket on your mid-century modern table. 

5. Create a Gallery Wall 

If you love your modern posters and family photos, there's no need to take them down for an MCM-inspired home! Hanging a unique gallery wall in your mod bedroom or living room is a great way to tie one or two pieces of MCM art into your interior design. 

Take your favorite mid-century modern poster or picture frame and hang it with all the other pieces for a subtle pop of vintage style. If you have a mid-century modern chair or mid-century modern table, search for art that matches the distinct coloring and patterns.

Where Can You Find Mid-Century Modern Furniture?

Lucky for you, there are mid-century modern furniture and collectible fanatics around the globe! At the touch of your fingertips, you can explore online auction sites, individual seller’s pages, and vendor forums. Whether you’re searching for the missing piece to your mod bedroom set or are interested in learning how to sell vintage mid-century modern chairs, thousands of online sources are at your disposal.

To get an in-person look at the best of the best, visit our antique mall. With hundreds of vendors selling their uniquely curated collections, there's no telling what mid-century modern chairs and collectible gems you'll find when you stop by. Find larger mid-century modern furniture in the different booths, look out for smaller MCM collectibles in the glass showcases, and make the day of hunting down the perfect piece to complete your collection.

The mid-century modern era may have ended decades ago, but the designs are timeless. Everyone, from experienced interior designers to the average person, can fall in love with an MCM design—it's just a matter of learning how to spot it. From bright accented mid-century modern chairs to classic mid-century modern tables, each room can do with a classic piece. Walk the aisles of a Florida antique mall, find inspiration, and transform your home today!  


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