10 Essentials for the Perfect Mid Century Modern Dining Room

If you like clean lines, simple styles, and bold, graphic patterns, you’re going to love the Mid-Century Modern style. After a brief dip in popularity in the 1990s, it came back with a bang this decade to reintroduce us to the benefits of a bit of old-school glam. And where better to inject some of its 20th-century magic than the dining room? With its heady mix of retro vibes and contemporary stylings, it’ll turn even the dingiest space into a modern wonder. If you need some inspiration to get you started, here are 10 essentials no Mid-Century Modern dining room can do without.

1. A Classic Dining Chair

Curatedinterior.com is so aware of the importance of the dining room chair to the Mid-Century Modern dining room, it’s dedicated an entire page to the theme. The options are nothing if not wide-ranging, but if you want to stick religiously to the theme, you can’t go wrong with a set of molded polypropylene chairs. Born at the time everyone was getting just a little bit worried about the effects of fiberglass on the environment, polypropylene quickly took off to become one of the most popular materials of the 1950s. All these years later, it’s lost none of its attractions. As a way of putting a Mid-Century Modern spin on your seating arrangements, it’s a fine way to go.

2. A Tulip Table

Now you’ve got the chairs, it’s time to find a table to match. And what could be a better pairing to your polypropylene chairs than a tulip table? According to stylecaster.com, the tulip table is said to have been inspired by a drop of thick liquid. Regardless of whether they’re right or not, there’s no getting away from the fact the table’s clean, fluid lines and modern sensibilities make it a thing of beauty.

3. A Swiss Cheese Plant

From the 1950s to the late 1970s, it was virtually impossible to find a single home that didn’t have at least one Swiss Cheese Plant in it. Thanks to the resurgence of the Mid-Century Modern style, they’re back with a bang this year, as is pretty much everything else that’s green, potted, and suitable for indoor living. Scatter as many as you can around the dining room: subtlety might be great most of the time, but when it comes to plants (at least in this context), the aim of the game is to go big, go bold, and go abundant. Picture an indoor jungle, and you’re on the right track. If you haven’t been blessed with a single green finger, fake it – artificial plants are just as good as the real thing these days, and other than needing the occasional dusting, are so low maintenance it hurts.

4. Real Wood Furniture

Forget about veneered wooden surfaces – the Mid-Century Modern dining room demands real wood, and plenty of it, too. As mymove.com recommends, let wood take center stage in your dining room with the introduction of medium-toned teak, walnut, oak, or rosewood cabinetry and side tables. As the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic is all about sleek lines and clean finishes, avoid anything chunky or heavy and stick to lightweight, delicate pieces with streamlined figures and long, coltish legs.

5. Something Cork

If you were around when the Mid-Century Modern style was having its first big moment, you’ll remember the prevalence of cork. Cork lampshades, cork tiles, cork photo-frames, cork table mats, cork pots… basically, the only thing you wouldn’t find fashioned from cork was an ashtray. These days, it’s ok to be a little bit more restrained with the look, but you can’t avoid it entirely. Fortunately, there’s a decent enough variety of options on the market for you to keep the look just as subtle (or maybe just as outlandish) as you like.

6. A Bar

What could be more retro, more Mid-Century Modern, and frankly, more fabulous than a built-in bar? If you’re not prepared to go that far down the retro road, a bar cart or brandy trolley will fit the brief just as well. Stock it with some vintage-inspired glasses, a cocktail shaker, an ice bucket, and a good selection of liquors (complete with cut-crystal decanters, naturally), and you’ll have the ideal accessory for your Mid-Century Modern dining room AND the perfect vessel for entertaining. What could be better?

7. A Sputnik Chandelier

Appropriate lighting can make or break a theme. Set the wrong tone, and regardless of how in keeping the rest of the room, you’ll never master the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. So, what exactly should you look for? For a start, avoid anything boring, generic, or insipid. When it comes to Mid-Century Modern light fixtures, it’s all about big, bold, eye-catching designs. Stylecaster.com suggests a Sputnik chandelier – with its dynamic, striking style, it’ll make just the kind of statement you’re aiming for.

8. A Sunburst Mirror

As any interior designer will tell you, a well-placed mirror can instantly transform a small or dingy room. But even if you’re already blessed with plenty of space and light, don’t overlook its importance. A sunburst mirror is as practical as it is gorgeous, and one of the most enduring styles of the Mid-Century Modern tradition. If you want to keep things simple, a single sunburst mirror will do the job nicely. If you really want to go to town with the theme, style an accent wall with a collection of mirrors in varying sizes and finishes- gold, brass, and rattan all make great choices for the frames.

9. A Graphic Print

The Mid-Century Modern style likes a clean white wall. But it also loves a really bold, glitzy wallpaper. The dining room is somewhere you can afford to get a little bit glam with your style choices, so why not take advantage of the opportunity by papering the walls in a dramatic wallpaper in an eye-catching graphic print? If you’re not feeling brave enough to go that far, don’t panic. A graphic print rug underneath the dining room table will capture the look in a slightly more subtle, user-friendly way.

10. Retro Accessories

One of the big attractions of the Mid-Century Modern style is how it seamlessly marries retro aesthetics with modern sensibilities. Get the look by introducing some candlesticks, vases, frames, and other accessories that pair a modern, clean-cut look with retro materials…. and yes, we do mean brass.



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