3 Tips For Creating A Mad Men Style Living Room

Posted on: 5 June 2015


Mid-century modern furniture and décor is making a comeback, thanks in part to the style's depictions in popular culture, like the hit television show Mad Men. However, you don't have to live on a television set or a Hollywood studio to get this type of clean, retro look for your home. You just need to know what colors to use and what furniture to look for. If you're planning on redecorating your living room, here are a few tips for picking colors, choosing furniture, and accessorizing that will give your home that retro style that you've been looking for.

Your Color Palette

Color is key to achieving the mid-century modern look. The colors that were commonly used in the 50s and 60s are strong and distinctive. Think of olives, golden yellows, and taupes, or cheery pastel blues and pinks. Choose the brighter colors if you want the room to lean more toward the earlier part of the era, or the earthy neutral colors if you're enamored with the later part of the era.

If you have a small living room, you may not want to pain all of the walls in a deep color like olive green – it can make the room seem too small and crowded. And even if you have plenty of space, painting three or four walls in turquoise might seem like a scary leap, and a bit overwhelming. Consider choosing one of these distinctive colors for an accent wall and painting the other walls in the room white, or a lighter, neutral color that matches your accent wall. This will give the room the right color scheme without making you feel like the walls are closing in and without overpowering the room.

Your Furniture Style

Whether you're shopping for actual antique furniture or you're trying to save money by buying new furniture made in the mid-century modern style, it's important to understand the characteristics that make mid-century modern furniture pieces appealing and popular.

If you're looking for wood, look for furniture made from real wood like walnut, oak, rosewood, or teak, rather than furniture made from inexpensive pressed board. Keep in mind, though, that a lot of mid-century modern furniture doesn't rely on wood at all. If you can find pieces made with manmade materials like fiberglass, Lucite, and Plexiglas, it will increase the authenticity of your look, and you'll end up with some durable, long-lasting furniture, too.

Look for clean lines, geometric shapes, and a sleek, sculpted look, combined with vivid colors. The furniture should be comfortable, but it may not necessarily look comfortable. A great example of this is the iconic egg chair. While the unusual oval shape might not look like the most comfortable piece of furniture, the upholstered interior is actually surprisingly cozy.

Your Accessories

The challenge of accessorizing in the mid-century modern style is bringing in the right amount of fun pieces without cluttering up the room. Keep in mind that mid-century modern is a somewhat minimalist design choice, so you don't want to clutter the living room up with tchotchkes or trinkets. On the other hand, a few well-chosen pieces make the room fun and unique.

Skip the matching set of lamps – retro style decorating tends to avoid the matched set look. Opt for a pendant light or geometric sculptured table lamp instead. Add a starburst wall clock or a geometric wall mirror to liven up the walls. And don't forget the throw pillows! They should come in bright colors that contrast with the colors of your furniture, and there should be plenty of them.

Creating a retro living room can be an enjoyable experience. It's a lot of fun to hunt down the styles and colors you're looking for and find the best bargains on mid-century modern furniture. When you're finished, your living room will look like it belongs in a whole separate era. Click here for more information on furniture dealers in your area.