If you have the chance to buy a Gio Ponti piece of furniture, scoop it up. While it may look plain and cheap, it is anything but. The beginning of this modern style era of the 1930s was about usefulness, affordability, and lightweight new materials. So inspiring was this new Italian look that mass production quickly took hold worldwide.
Today, we know this noteworthy milestone as Mid-Century, and an original Ponti dining chair can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. The 50s and 60s designs of hairpin-legged furniture and dome-shaped plastic light fixtures help us remember the free spirit that brought comfortable living. Not every chair that looks like a throw-back of the 40s qualifies as a prized antique but affects modern design elements today.
Mid-Century modern paint colors for the living room bring a lovely way to display your furniture of this historical Industrial period of growth. With a modern look that uses soft pastels mixed with pops of bright color and furnishings of the Modernism period, you can have a free and natural feel to your living space in modern homes.
Color Palette For Living Spaces
Interior designers have created the perfect colors that add warm tones for a timeless look. Bright colors have their place in wall hangings, accessories, and accent walls. Paint suppliers, like Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore, carry modern colors that blend well with a contemporary take or a transitional decor.
Adding pieces of modern Mid-Century furniture can allow you to stay within your color scheme while slowly updating your style. The first thing is deciding on your color scheme and how it will look in your modern living room. The following colors are a great way to start your journey in making your home feel friendly, vintage, modern, and fun.
- Ivy green with gray undertones
- Medium gray
- Warm gold
- Antique teal with hints of blue
- Bold red
- Pale pink blush
- Harvest orange with golden hues
- Pure white
- Bright aqua
A neutral color like white, blush, or gray can keep you in the safe zone until you get a little more daring. Dark colors and bright modern palettes will soon emerge as you remember the free and loving 50s and 60s when modern materials got introduced.
Small spaces do not have to leave you out of the world of Mid-Century modern design. Light or medium gray wall paint is a modern palette for showing off an Arne Jacobson side chair and pop art with Cherokee red and burnt orange hues. A dazzling free-form wooden coffee table gives the room a natural presence without appearing crowded.
Soft pink is an excellent choice for adding a level of sophistication to your modern decor. Sculptures of white and a textured area rug keep your options for wood furniture open. A Florence Knoll sofa would fit this area nicely with the white Mid-Century hanging lamps.
If you’re not into the modern Industrial look that many old city buildings are using, think of Scandinavian. Mid-Century and Scandinavian modern living room ideas are the same in form. Mid-Century puts you in the mind of bold colors and lots of light, a perfect match for Palm Springs. However, the dreary skies of Chicago may lead you to use a mixture of the two decors.
Pure white walls can provide a backdrop for displaying bold colors in the artwork while leaving a weathered brick wall in place. A teak-lined ceiling or corner bar can provide rich natural colors often found in Mid-Century. Depending on your color wheel preferences, mixing and matching the furniture is effortless.
Accessories such as a brass floor lamp with white linens for a shade will keep straight lines present and texture where needed. Pillows and throws can be the best part of your room with a perfect choice of bright colors and designs. Large framed pop art of the 60s will add a whimsical look.
There is no better place to enjoy the feel of Mid-Century modern than in the peaceful surroundings of rural living. The different colors available for walls are vast to match furniture in family rooms. You can go crazy with an accent wall of earthy olive green or yellow gold to pair up with white color for other interior walls.
Vinyl furniture in vivid colors and vintage Lucite on wooden furniture is an easy way to clean paw prints and fingerprints at a minimum. Choose earth tones of green with strong brown undertones with straight lines and for a long sofa to stretch out on. Add beige or brown side chairs and top off a curved vintage wood coffee table. Hang a few prints from the mad men era and leverage wall color to make a feature wall your guests will rave about!
Open Floor Plan Living Rooms
I remember Frank Lloyd Wright for his sprawling houses that were open and airy. They merged quickly with wooded lots, waterfalls, dunes, and anything of nature. Ceiling-to-floor windows couldn’t stop you from feeling the outdoors. Don’t forget the palms or faux fruit trees for the reminded display of the outdoors.
Open floor plans emerged in the 1950s, as did high ceilings and green colors. Many modern houses still try to copy these architectural details with natural light and a century look. Prominent designers choose to outfit a living/dining area with the Mid-century style that has simple lines and pops of color. Area rugs of art déco make the room a showplace of the past and present.
We can use different shades of darker colors when sunshine plays a role. Aqua or harvest gold will pick up tones of white in the furniture and any natural wood trim to soften. Wooden ceiling beams against a white ceiling color will help outline the contrast between light and dark. Wood is a highlight of this style. Unfortunately, heavy genuine wood takes a back seat to light veneer and engineered wood.
A Single Room Design
Not everyone has an open space for a combined living room and dining room. When you have separate rooms next to one another, using a color tool for deciding on wall color is a good idea. Colors from the same color family work very well together.
A good example is a rose and peach or green and blue. An accent color in only one of these living spaces should always be a consideration. However, the decorative elements of wall hangings or pillows in the adjoining room bring a blend of sophistication. Use the same color for baseboards in both rooms. Semi-gloss paint will leave a clean and defined look in both rooms.
If the living room has a fireplace wall, use this as your feature wall to avoid clashes. The modern period of the Mid-Century should flow between the two spaces with like-minded furniture. Molded one-piece chairs around a thin wood dining table will not appear plain with clean lines with a display of candles or glass jars. Use their colors to match the color of your couch and chairs in the living room.
Bold geometrics are a favorite of modern rooms of the Mid-Century period. Keep the colors similar in the dining area, living room, and adjoining hallway or entranceway. This is where you can get daring with red or orange and other bright colors.
Nothing is boring about Mid-Century modern living room furniture. The best colors will come from your personal choice. The best part is the versatility of yesterday’s colors in today’s modern hues.
You can change how a living room feels with a perfect choice of fabric, wood, or new materials that arrive daily. Take the most elegant colors of your living room and extend them outward to be exterior colors. Highlight a front porch with Mid-century style vases or a hanging swing.
Get bold and paint the front door a vivid bright color as a preview of your interior modern house.
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Karen Gillan, Senior Writer
Experienced Writer with 20+ years. Demonstrated writing experience includes technical writing, magazines, story writing, and journalist projects. Karen has a powerful media and communication background with academic training from LaSalle University (architecture, interior design) and business college courses. She loves editing novels and contributed to a national art journal.