If you’re always game to try out a fresh interior design trend in your house, the bedroom can be a great place to do it. Since it’s a space that’s meant for you and not guests, your bedroom is an opportunity to experiment with design and express yourself.
One such design style to consider is mid-century modern. Although it’s a style that’s been around for decades, it has become on-trend once again. With its sleek lines and retro visuals, there are many ways to weave the mid-century modern aesthetic into your bedroom.
Below, learn more about mid-century modern decor and get tips for incorporating this trend into your bedroom.
What is mid-century modern decor?
Mid-century modern is a design movement that became popular after World War II and closely followed the modernism movement of the time, explains Kevin Kempe, who specializes in this design and is the co-owner of the Palm Springs, California-based H3K Design, alongside partner Howard Hawkes.
The style celebrates clean, simple lines, organic materials, pops of color, and optimism, which was a reaction to the victories of World War II and the prosperity happening in the United States and abroad.
The style remained popular until the 1970s but has been experiencing a resurgence for the past decade—especially in more recent years. Kemper posits mid-century modern’s revival may have derived from a nostalgia for a simpler way of life.
“People envision the 1950s and 60s as an easier time,” he says. “In our busy lives with computers, phones, and devices, an era with one phone line with no answering machine seems like a glory of tranquility and a slower pace.”
While some current-day devotees prefer a floor-to-ceiling, authentic mid-century look for their home, Kemper says you don’t have to have a true mid-century home to include a few accent pieces, something that’s good news if you want to weave it in small ways into your bedroom. (Learn about split bedrooms, a popular mid-century modern architecture style.)
Mid-century modern bedroom design tips
When it comes to a mid-century modern decor bedroom, Kemper believes the soothing qualities and simplicity of the design style are ideal. Here is his best advice for creating a mid-mod bedroom:
Add wallpaper with mid-century motifs
From traditional wallpaper to peel-and-stick, there are several mid-century patterns to choose from nowadays. Look for graphic shapes, throwback hues, atomic or futuristic accents, or vintage reproductions from the period.
“One wall of wallpaper can go a long way,” Kemper says. “Put it behind the bed wall for extra drama.”
Not ready to go all-in with vibrant hues and patterns? Kemper says a modest grasscloth wallpaper will also set a mid-century feel.
Score a mid-century bed frame
To anchor the room in mid-century visuals, consider a new bed frame that will make a statement.
“Many retail stores and online sites carry the clean, crisp lines of mid-century beds,” Kemper says. “Generally, they’ll have tapered legs and a simple headboard. They come in wonderful, rich woods like walnut for a deep masculine feel. Or go in a different direction with pops of color in fabric—teals, oranges, or even pinks.” (Learn about panel beds vs. platform beds to see which one is right for you.)
Create a mid-century modern vibe in your bedroom with this Saatva bed frame
Display mid-mod patterning with a rug
As with any bedroom refresh, a rug is one of the quickest and easiest ways to upgrade a space—and it can be cost-effective too.
“Rugs don’t necessarily have to cost a lot, and you can have fun with mid-century patterns or keep it simple with colored shag,” Kemper says.
Swap in mid-century furniture
Bedroom furniture, like dressers and nightstands, can act as excellent opportunities to represent mid-century design. You can invest in real-deal pieces by visiting antique stores, flea markets, or perusing Facebook marketplace—look for dark-hued wood finishes, bursts of carved, geometric accents, and sleek lines.
Kemper adds that you can also choose to buy new pieces that are drawn from vintage designs. Currently, there are a lot of mid-century-inspired dressers and nightstands on the market, which makes them easy to track down, he says.
Play up lighting
From Sputnik chandeliers to globe-style sconces, mid-century design is perhaps most easily recognized by its customary lighting—and it’s something that you can easily add to your bedroom.
“From nightstand lights to standing lamps, the mid-century modern vibe is available to fit any budget and space,” says Kemper. He adds that an original mid-century light is “a wonderful way to add depth,” and you can always choose to have a vintage light rewired if you’re concerned about the wiring.
Mix old and new
Don’t be afraid to mix new pieces with vintage items, because it can “really add depth” to the space, says Kemper. For your bedroom, it’s less about recreating the past and more about celebrating it. So embrace a few key elements, like clean lines and a handful of vintage finds.
The bottom line: “The best part of mid-century modern is that it plays well with other design styles,” Kemper says. “We often call mid-century modern a cousin to contemporary design, and they really work well together. But don’t be afraid to mix an Eames chair into a classically designed bedroom. You’ll be surprised at how well the elements come together.”
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