14 Iconic Mid-Century Modern Decor Elements

Iconic elements of mid-century modern home decor continue to be on-trend and wildly popular. Refresh your memory on these essential home decor ideas that represent the heart and soul of mid-century modern style.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Starburst Clock

The starburst clock is one of the first things that come to mind when someone asks: What is mid-century modern? The starburst clock is an immediate standout of mid-century home decor. This type of clock was first made by the mid-century masters at Nelson Associates. This design firm is responsible for a lot of iconic mid-century modern essentials that were found in many stylish homes in the ’50s and ’60s and again today. The starburst clock was conceptualized by Nelson Associates in 1949. Clocks of this style are so intricate they can be considered works of art.

When you hang a clock, or other wall decor, make sure it’s level as to not take away from its beauty.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Eames Lounge Chair

Charles and Ray Eames are the designers responsible for this archetype lounge chair and help answer what is mid-century modern. The couple first started to experiment with plywood moldings to create affordable, stylish furniture.

Check out these examples of plywood furniture you can make.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Natural Elements

Wood elements are often incorporated in mid-century modern homes in ceilings, walls and floors. This gives these room a decidedly Scandinavian aesthetic.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Unique Lighting

Lighting in mid-century homes often plays with shapes and lines. Many installations either have curves and loops or they are overtly linear.

When you hang a statement light fixture, make sure it’s done correctly.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Bio-Morphic Shapes

Biomorphic design elements were designed to resemble living organisms. These shapes (a.k.a. “boomerang”) were used in furniture design, wallpaper prints, plastic laminate countertops and more.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Lots of Glass

Mid-century design took off after World War II. During this time, designers wanted to encourage people to see and incorporate the outdoors. One of the ways they did this was by using a lot of glass. Glass walls and large windows are a staple of many mid-century modern homes.

Why pay someone when you can clean your own windows just like a pro?

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Clean Lines

Classic mid-century modern design features minimal fuss, maximum function and clean lines. One of the most notable designers of this era was Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Hairpin Legs

Hairpin- and peg-style legs are found in many mid-century modern furniture pieces. They exemplify the streamlined, simple look of the mid-century aesthetic. They are often mixed with natural wood tops to combine natural and industrial styles.

Here are five hairpin leg projects you can make.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Wallpaper Designs

Mid-century design often relies on natural colors and design elements, but this changes for wall paper. Often wallpaper is used as an accent in mid-century modern homes and it features bold geometric patterns. Wallpaper is definitely DIYable and it’s an excellent statement maker.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Statement Doors

Even though these homes aren’t about ornamentation, mid-century modern homes often have statement front doors. Often times front doors are the one place homeowners play with color, shapes and design.

This collection of colorful front doors offers lots of inspiration.

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mid-century modern tulip chair

Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: New Materials

The iconic Tulip chair was created by designer Eero Saarinen for Knoll Designs in 1957. Saarinen used his sculpture background to create this chair to eliminate the need for four legs. It’s made of molded fiberglass.

Another classic is the mid-century modern console table. Make one of these great-looking tables with this IKEA hack.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Mid-Century Kitchens

Mid-century modern kitchens often mix natural wood with bright punches of color and man-made countertops.

If you’re considering installing a plastic laminate countertop, here’s how to do it.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: The Womb Chair

The womb chair, also designed by Eero Saarinen, was created in 1948 for Florence Knoll. The chair was made of molded fiberglass, covered with material. It was designed to provide the utmost comfort by Knoll who wanted, “A chair that was like a basket full of pillows.” She wanted something she could really curl up in.

These are the home decor ideas and trends you don’t want to miss.

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Mid-Century Modern Decorating Ideas: Smart Pops of Color

Bursts of color—in furniture, pillows and accent walls—are one of the delights of mid-century homes. Color was used sparingly, not in every room. Color palettes often incorporated saturated oranges, aquas, yellows and reds. When color was used, it wasn’t subtle!

Strip the old paint off of a piece of wood furniture and repaint it in a bright color.