Manhattan Home Design

10 Easy Ways to MCM-ify your Home

If you're feeling the itch to nest but don't have the capital for a complete design overhaul, there are a number of easy changes you can make to your digs to get the mid century modern vibe without sending your back account back to 1962. It's all in the details, my dear. Here are ten tips to create the perfect retro inspired space that won't make your home feel like the set of The Brady Bunch.
1. As the original mid century modern gangsters like Mies van der Roe were fond of saying less is more. This means you've got to clear your clutter! The mid century modern home is a zen space; keep ornamentation to a minimum and make sure all miscellany is organized. This isn't to say your home needs to be a sterile and devoid of personality. Display personal photographs in starburst picture frames in clusters on a console (like the Euro Style Galena) in a hallway with a small wooden dish as a catch all for the mail and keys.
2. Scour thrift stores and estate sales for mid century modern paintings and wall hangings. Large scale, abstract paintings hung on the wall sans-frame can be an inexpensive and dramatic way to give a nod to the Abstract Expressionists of the mid century modern era. Another mid century modern favorite was the tapestry. A wall hanging is impactful and adds a healthy dose of texture to your walls.
3. To further elaborate on that point, painting your walls white is an easy but important step to take your home to the mid century modern finish line. The mid century modernists had no time for shades of blue lagoon or milky coffee when it came to wall color. Simple, clean white walls let furniture and art shine. It'll make your space feel bigger and brighter too, so score yourself two more mcm points!
4. In the same vein, keep the color schemes natural when choosing furniture and upholstery. There are gorgeous, brightly colored mid century modern arm chairs out there, but if you're trying to make quick changes, feature furniture that has clean lines and natural colors. Mixing wood elements into your home are a mid century modern staple, which works on anything from a side chair like the Olsen Lounge Chair to a pair of salad forks.
5. Introduce mod graphic prints and pops of color with throw blankets and decorative pillows. Bold colors like orange, red, yellow and blue were mid century modern favorites and will give your living space warmth (figuratively and literally).
6. Adding a bar cart to your den, dining room or living room will instantly Mad Men-ify your space and add serious mid century modern credentials to your space. Take care not to overcrowd your cart; display your favorite crystal tumblers next to a decanter of whiskey and a couple bottles of small batch ginger ale and keep the extra large bottle of Stoli hidden away in the pantry.
7. Laying down a white shag rug underneath your coffee table in your living space may seem totally 70s, and it is, but in a good way! The shag rug is back, y'all. Rugs add depth and visual interest to a space that will make it cozy and give it that boho, relaxed vibe you're pining for (or is it Pinteresting for?).
8. Change out your lamps and light fixtures for mid century modern styles. Lighting is an essential part of any room and if you swap out the builder grade chandelier that came furnished in your apartment for a Pia Chandelier, the dining room will be instantly transformed. The Pia is sculptural and modern and will make as much of a visual impact as a piece of art. The same goes for adding an Arco Lamp replica over an armchair in your living room. No matter the style of that arm chair, with the Arco Lamp reproduction arcing over it, it will instantly transform to the mid century modern look.
9. Adding mirrors as decorative elements in a hallway or entryway is an easy, affordable way to add a mid century modern style in your home. The Burst Mirror by Zuo is a pricier option but one that would make a lasting, dramatic impact on your space. The Vishnu Mirror by Zuo is a more affordable option that will still give you the desired impact. The mid century modern designers favored mirrors on the walls to maximize natural light and to make the rooms feel more open and spacious. It's an easy trick and is there when you need to reapply your lipstick to boot!
10. Green plants are one of the most easily impactful ways you can transform a space. Add hanging spider plants in bare corners, line up a row of small succulents in your kitchen windowsill and nurture a small fiddle leaf fig to become the star of the show in your living room. The juxtaposition of lush greenery with naturally colored furniture with metal accents is SO mid century modern it hurts. The plants will also help to purify your air which is a bonus no matter what era you're after.
Let's iterate: the mid century modern home is all about clean! simple! lines! You're chasing after that low profile, calming, cool space that's got a hint of color just where it counts. You want your guests to feel relaxed and happy (and maybe just a little bit jealous) when they're at your place. The mid century modern home is a layered masterpiece full of timeless, elegant pieces that, on their own, are simple enough but when layered up together, create a crazily dynamic space that overflows with personality and depth. It's a delicate balance and one that takes time to accomplish. Indeed, redecorating your home - even just a minor spruce up! - is not an all-at-once prospect for most people.
It's a process that takes time; you've got to find the right pieces, to fit the right spaces, and for the right prices. You've probably got an Eames Lounge Chair replica on your wish list (who doesn't!?) but if that's not in your cards currently, trying any combination of the tips above will help push your pad into the mid century modern era quickly and affordably.


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