Want to add some vintage touches to your home? Here’s how to create an amazing mid-century modern dining room.
Are you one of the 90% of homeowners planning on remodeling at some point? If so, you’ll probably be redecorating too.
Redecorating means big style decisions for your home. Do you love a modern look and open floor plans?
Then the mid-century modern look is one you should consider. It’s an elegant decor theme. And if you love to entertain, you’ll love the look and function of a mid-century modern dining room.
For an elegant modern look with a vintage flair, here’s how to create an amazing mid-century modern dining room.
A Little Background
Mid-century design was a movement spanning the mid-thirties to about 1965. It really took off after WWII. The look was about open floor spaces as well as sleek and functional design.
It encompassed architecture and also graphic, interior, and industrial design. Much of the inspiration came from the International and Bauhaus movements.
Mid-century modern had organic influences and emphasized simple forms.
If you’re a person who hates clutter, you’ll love the mid-century modern aesthetic. The furniture lacked the ornate styling of other eras.
A few of the designers from the era:
- Charles and Ray Eames
- Arne Jacobsen
- Eero Saarinen
- Eileen Gray
- Florence Knoll
- George Nelson
These designers all made recognizable pieces of furniture still in use today.
Your Mid-Century Modern Dining Room
Are you creating a mid-century modern dining room? Consider a few things before pulling your scheme together.
Colors were rich and included dark yellows and golds. Orange, green, and brown, as well as more neutral tones, were also used.
The clean lines left room for bright pops of color, especially post WWII. People were feeling more cheerful and optimistic after the war.
Color wasn’t only for fabrics, it was also used on wood veneer and plastic.
Start with your colors so you’ll know what furniture to look for and avoid. And that leads us to furniture…
Look for dining tables by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames. These functional and beautiful wood tables have tapered legs and lots of space underneath.
Most furniture of the time was made from rosewood, teak, walnut, and oak. If you have the time, scour flea markets and vintage stores for authentic pieces. This is a true treasure hunt!
Looking for an even sleeker look? Go with Dax molded fiberglass chairs by Ray and Charles Eames. Hermann Miller produced the original chairs.
The Dax chairs look great pulled up to a long teakwood table.
The Saarinen Tulip Chair is another beauty. But expect to pay upwards of $300 per chair for high-quality replicas.
Long lean cabinets were a staple of the period. Depending on the type of table you choose, use one as a buffet in the dining room.
If you love wallpaper, you’re in the right era. Lots of homes had colorful wallpaper. Put a bold-colored graphic print on an accent wall.
Or complement painted walls with a neutral-colored, graphic-print wallpaper.
Mid-century modern lighting features unique pendants and other fixtures. Lighting elements are sculptural and artistic as well as functional.
When it comes to lighting, don’t look for matched lamp sets. Go big and striking. Try a chandelier that looks like a starburst or a funky floor lamp.
Don’t Forget a Bar!
Think of Don Draper from office scenes in Mad Men! A mid-century modern dining room needs a bar.
One of the easiest ways of incorporating a bar is a bar cart. Look for something with sleek lines and a glass top.
Fill it with vintage glasses, cool liquor bottles, and a cocktail shaker.
The great thing about a bar cart is that it doesn’t have to stay in the dining room. Are your guests lounging in the living room? Bring the bar to your guests.
The Perfect Mirror
Mirrors are great decor for almost any style theme. But the sunburst mirror was another iconic piece of mid-century modern decor.
Mirrors are great in any room, including the dining room. If possible, place it to bring the light from a window into the room.
Remember to keep the wall decor simple and uncluttered. Avoid too much artwork on the walls.
Use a few well-placed but simple, quality pieces.
Don’t Ignore the Floor
You’ve got a lot of choices for flooring when it comes to mid-century modern decor. You can go with teak, birch, or walnut wood flooring. Cork and bamboo are other good choices.
Cork is sustainable and affordable, making it a good option for most homes. But if you have skylights, remember that cork fades in the sun.
Bamboo isn’t original to mid-century modern design. It wasn’t available at the time. But it is in keeping with the natural aesthetic.
But wood isn’t your only option. Another great choice is natural tile like slate or terrazzo.
If you want some warmth and pop of color in the dining room, go with a colorful area rug. A rug also absorbs sound which is a nice feature when entertaining dinner guests.
Rocking the Mid-Century Aesthetic
A mid-century modern dining room is sure to wow your guests. From the sleek lines to the functional forms, you’ll get many years out of the look.
Start with your color and build from there. Are you going to use wallpaper? Keep it to an accent wall.
Decide on the type of dining room table. Are you going with a classic wood Eames or a bright white plastic in the Saarinen style? The chairs should work well with the table.
Look for sculptural lighting reminiscent of the era. And don’t forget a bar cart stocked with vintage glasses and a cocktail mixer.
Accessories such as art and mirrors top off the look. Use only a few pieces for an uncluttered look.
Decide what type of flooring you want. Wood is classic and plays well with the other furniture. But if you crave warmth and a pop of color, add an area rug over the top.
If you need other great decorating advice, find more articles on the blog.