Your living room is central to life in your household, whether you have a large or a small family, so how you design it should be influenced to a certain extent by how it is used. If you make a list of the likely tasks and activities that will take place there, it is likely to help you decide on the décor and furnishings, particularly if you are aiming to recreate fashionable, mid-century features.
As with kitchens, living rooms often serve as a central hub for your household. Apart from quiet activities, such as reading, you may also watch television and listen to music in your living room. Perhaps you play family board games, such as checkers or Monopoly, as well as electronic ones. Making sure your living room is comfortable is therefore essential and as it’s likely you’ll use your living room when entertaining guests, you will definitely want it to look good.
Cool color palette
Most mid-century design color schemes are pale and include understated grays and blues. You can apply this to furnishings, fabrics, flooring and shades of paint. Taking a fresh and contemporary approach means you can use the best of the Scandinavian combinations of blonde wood and sleek modern lines. You will want to aim for comfort as well as style, so there are a few specific elements to consider when selecting furniture and accessories.
Architectural and sculptural shapes
One hallmark of mid-century design is the focus on architectural shapes in terms of treatments for both doors and windows, and options for furnishings. For example, to enhance the clean lines of window frames, you can install quality shutters that are made to measure, rather than using drapes or blinds.
Reputable suppliers will offer consultations and guidance to help you make your choices, as there is a wide variety of shutter materials, styles and colors. Once you know what will work in your living room, it should be easy to find the right solution for your living space. The best suppliers will send samples if you are having difficulty choosing between several options. You can also use shutters very successfully on doors, particularly large glass doors where light and noise control is as important as privacy.
Furniture with mid-century elements includes, for example, stylish modular sideboards in warm wood, and elegant sofas and armchairs with wooden legs. Normally, the shapes are boxy or traditionally classic. If your budget allows, you can go antiquing to pick up one or two of the mid-century gems, such as an Ercol couch or an Eames easy chair. Occasionally, you can find them in thrift stores.
Flooring and walls
When it comes to painting your walls, sticking with the cool color palette will allow your flooring and wall colors to act as a backdrop to set off your keynote pieces of furniture, as well as your sculptures and wall art. On balance, walls in pale gray and wooden floors in neutral colors will help to emphasize the Nordic feel of your living room, and allow you be extravagant when it comes to mixing a variety of textures and colors on area rugs, cushions and throw rugs.
Textiles and patterns
Against the plain, pale fabrics used to upholster mid-century style sofas and chairs, cushions with strong geometric or abstract prints from the same color palette will look very attractive. Similarly, fabrics such as linen or felt will provide warm and welcoming additions when used on contrasting cushion covers or throw rugs. Avoid shiny, metallic looking fabrics if you can, as generally these don’t fit well with the overall mid-century look.
Sculpture pieces should be simple and streamlined – a plain white vase, for example, or a two-tone bottle in wood and white ceramic. Wall art can exploit the mid-century admiration for great artists, with prints of works by Picasso and others, as well as framed abstract posters.
Lighting and layout
Finally, retro table lamps and vintage light fittings and lampshades also provide sculptural elements in your home, as do feature mirrors. These may range from those with the newly popular, retro sunburst effect to octagonal, wooden-framed mirrors in the Danish style. Think about the position of mirrors and freestanding lamps in the context of your living room layout. When arranging the furniture, bear in mind that activity areas may need to be close to sockets and TV aerials, and that quieter corners may need adequate task lighting for reading or study. It definitely makes sense to plan for this at the outset.