Mid-Century Home Decor

Ready to start shopping? Check out our photo gallery and buyers guide of out-of-this-world mid-century home decor.

Photo courtesy of Atomic Ranch by Michelle Gingeri-Brown

If you’ve just bought a great mid-century house, your next task will probably be finding period-appropriate furnishings to warm up the décor. The good news is that the home-decor market is flush with both antiques and authentic reproductions from this era. But where do you begin?

For starters, think funky shapes like triangles, boomerangs, and amoebas. These forms, inspired by a fascination with a nuclear age, began appearing everywhere in the 1950s. They permeated everything from wallpapers and countertops (think boomerang-patterned Formica), lights and dishes. You could even argue that some of the era’s most memorable furniture designs, like Eero Saarinen’s executive chair and Arne Jacobson’s egg chair, play off of amoebic forms.

Many original items from this era can be found at vintage stores, of course, but some of the most famous designs are in production once again. Yep, even the Formica’s back—and so are George Nelson’s bubble lamps, as well as those funky fiberglass bullet planters supported by a trinity of black iron legs. Today, streamlined stacking chairs with triangulated backs are so commonplace, you may not realize how cutting-edge they were in the 1950s.

But even the more mainstream items from the era can also make a big statement in mid-century houses—think an angular, rectangular sofa like the one seen every week in the living room on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Any of these period items, planted on a shaggy rug, will help your ranch channel a 1950s groove.

Ready to start shopping? Check out our photo gallery of out-of-this-world atomic age decor.

Atomic Doodle reproduction wallpaper.

Bradbury and Bradbury (707) 746-1900

Aqua Boomerang laminate countertop.

(800) 367-6422

Eero Saarinen executive chair in leather with metal legs.

Design Within Reach
(800) 944-2233

Arne Jacobsen egg chair.

Design Within Reach
(800) 944-2233

George Nelson bubble lamps.


Retro Bullet planter.

Hip Haven

Stackable bentwood chairs.

West Elm (888) 922-4119

Petrie sofa.

Crate and Barrel

Flokati rug.

Ikea (800) 434-4532

Tags: decorative accessories Interiors mid-century mid-century modern OHJ May/June 2008 Old-House Journal

By Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes. 

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