I have loved curating our living room and pulling it all together since we moved into our house two years ago. It’s been a long road, from our one-bedroom apartment to furnishing our house, but I’ve appreciated the time to really choose pieces we love and to bring the room together in our style. In this post, I’m sharing our ideas for a cozy mid-century modern living room.
In 2021 we moved to our house from a one-bedroom apartment, and we are still not fully furnished! On Instagram, it seems people snap their fingers and have a fully furnished house, but that is not our reality. We worked with Havenly on some mid-century modern living room design ideas. Furniture pieces are expensive and it was important to us to invest in quality where we could. Even in this room we still aren’t finished! You’ll notice in the photos you don’t see our TV, and that’s because we haven’t completed that console area yet. We recently bought a new TV after our old one died, and it’s now more expansive than our old console which doesn’t match the style of the room anyway. I can’t wait to update you on the space later, once we finish it!
We spend so much time in our living room that it is necessary to be cozy and stylish. Finally, we have enough seating for guests, too! For a while, we only had our couch and people had to awkwardly sit in a line or on the floor! Seating is super important to make sure you have a welcoming home for guests. Another thing is clear walkways and room flow. You need to have clear walkways to common traffic areas and follow the natural flow of the room. More seating isn’t helpful if the chair is in the way of the door!
Below I’m sharing my ideas for creating a cozy mid-century modern living room.
Cozy Mid-Century Modern Living Room Ideas
A primary feature of mid-century modern furniture and style is clean lines and finishes. You want minimal, linear furniture that will help create a calming home. This also means keeping things uncluttered, clear surfaces, and functional spaces. While our home isn’t minimalistic completely, it is clean and uncluttered.
Another main principle of mid-century modern design is keeping things minimalistic. I could never have a fully minimal style, I like things too much! I do like the idea of it, and keeping surfaces functional and clear.
The 60s and 70s are known for wood paneling and the development of mid-century modern style. While we’ve come a long way since then, one thing that remained was using wood furniture in the space. Wood helps bring warmth to a room, and incorporates elements of the outdoors inside, which helps make the home seem both expensive and homey.
Negative space helps to balance the room. Especially in small spaces, it is very important to use negative space to your advantage. Big, blocky furniture can make a room feel cramped and heavy, which creates an imbalance, using furniture like our Safhavieh chair, or two-level coffee table, helps to create more open sightlines and levity in our midcentury-modern living room while still being super warm and inviting!
Similar to negative space, using slimline furniture in your space can help create space. This goes for items like our side table, accent chair, and even barstools. You can also look to peg-leg furniture to help create a mid-century living room. This is also a great principle to apply to light fixtures!
While a different design style, I like using elements of Scandinavian design in my mid-century modern space. Both styles are known for clean lines, simple shapes, and elements of minimalism. I pull a lot of neutrals and coziness inspiration from Scandinavian design.
As I mentioned above, neutrals are actually pulling more from Scandinavian design vs mid-century modern, but I love it for my space, and lean towards neutrals much more than bold color palettes which are more familiar in a traditionally mid-century modern style. Personally, I find neutrals more calming and cozier.
When decorating your mid-century modern living room make sure to find balance in your decor. If you have candle sticks on one side of your table, balance it out with something tall like a lamp on the other side.
Balance Soft and Hard
One of my favorite design principles is balancing materials that are both soft and hard. Find a cozy boucle chair paired next to a marble side table, or a warm blanket on a chair with metal arms. There is something beautiful about opposites attracting.
Finding symmetry in your design is important for a mid-century modern style and function. This isn’t something we couldn’t do literally in our space based on size, like adding two chairs for example, but symmetry isn’t only about adding identical furniture side by side. It is also about balancing weights like our side chair balances out the bar stools on the other side.
The texture is one of the best ways to add dimension to a space, and a staple in mid-century modern design. When this style came about texture was so important to add to a space, from velvet to corduroy, to wood paneling to exported brick, and even leather and fur! For me, I’ve focused on the grain in the wood on my coffee table, the materials of my side chair, the soft blankets, with the leather barstools that back up to my living room. wood to the material of your furniture, to several different blankets, texture can really elevate your space. When mixing and matching textures, it’s simple to find balance and dimension while being creative!
Natural materials like wood, marble, and leather make a space feel cozy and luxurious. They bring the outside indoors and really make a space feel homey. While mid-century modern styles were heavily inspired by wood indoors, I love to use all sorts of materials in my space.
Does anyone else get a headache from overhead lighting? I love using lamps, LED light strips, and candles to really make my space look expensive and luxe! In my living room,I opted for a small lamp on my side table, and one on my sideboard behind the couch, which worked out great. I tried a floor lamp, but it ended up not working out well in the space for size and style. The only thing I wish was that we had floor outlets. I have not tested cutting the cords and using battery-operated bulbs yet, but maybe in the future!
I mentioned above that I don’t like too much decor in order to keep an uncluttered space, but that doesn’t mean setting one item on a coffee table and moving on. Layering is a great way to add dimension to a space, but it must be done both functionally and tastefully otherwise. It just looks like a pile of stuff. Stacking books or boxes and layering a bowl or candle on top is a great way to begin!
Match to your Pets
This is an unofficial tip, but it’s worked out for us! Our pups actually match our furniture and decor in a fun turn of events. I always joke that it was intentional but of course, it wasn’t! It also, unfortunately, doesn’t help with the fur, so we still vacuum all the time!