12 Staples of Mid-century Modern Living Room Furniture

Jul 10

Mid-century modern (MCM) is a style that was prevalent from the 1930s to the 1960s. Despite being almost a century old, it still retains a classy timelessness and is still very popular. In fact, the furniture designed during that era is iconic and well-loved to this day.

In fact, mid-century modern living room furniture is quite popular amongst contemporary homeowners. It’s stylish, trendy, and emulates a lot of personality within an interior design. You can use furniture from this era in accent and statement capacity. 

If you’re wondering why this style is so versatile and well-liked, here are some major characteristics that will attract you:

Characteristics of mid-century modern living room furniture

  • Clean and simple craftsmanship: One of the hallmarks of this style is that it’s refreshingly simple but never loses its personality.
  • Unique to the core: Each mid-century Modern furniture piece retains a uniqueness that sets it apart from the rest. Some feature tapered legs while others have a floating aesthetic.
  • Combining natural & man-made materials: The mid-century era was all about experimentation. You’ll see a lot of influence of natural wood elements in this style, but there are plenty of artificial materials that ramp up the

If you don’t know where to start finding your dream MCM living room furniture, we’ve compiled a list of some staple pieces right here:

1.   Egg Chair

a black egg chair and ottoman in a living room

Arne Jacobson designed the Egg Chair in 1958 as part of his commission for Denmark’s SAS Royal Copenhagen Hotel. The sleek aesthetic, unique curves, pedestal base, and stylish form of this chair became an icon of the mid-century modern look.

Today, the Egg Chair is regularly used to emulate trendy accentuation in mid-century modern living room interiors. Since it comes in many colors, it’s usually incorporated as an accent piece that complements the rest of the furnishings with a unique flair. It is usually placed adjacent to the statement sofa so that its presence is always noteworthy.

2.   Eames Lounge Chair

eames lounge chair and ottoman in a living room

The Eames Lounge Chair is a mid century modern living room staple! It was designed by the husband-wife duo Charles and Ray Eames, who wanted to emulate a touch of luxury within the typical comfortable confines of a reclining chair.

Thus, the Eames Lounge Chair came into being. It’s molded plywood construction was a trailblazer for newer furniture aesthetics at the time and its plush leather seat evoked a deluxe effect that instantly effused its surroundings with understated glamour. To this day, this chair is one of a kind and is beloved by many homeowners. It has also spawned a number of amazing, affordable replicas, but you need to check if you’ve got the best one if you want to make a quality investment.

3.   Eileen Gray Side Table

a side table next to a new century couch

Eileen Gray is a renowned architect, interior and furniture designer. Her classic side table design is a veritable mid-century modern living room furniture essential. She first designed it as part of the interior of a certain French villa, from where it became quite well known.

The highly flexible design of the table includes a C-shaped base and a round cantilevered table-top that can be adjusted up or down. While Gray originally designed this chair to accommodate a breakfast-in-bed function for her client, today, it can be used to easily hold your digital devices while working from the sofa or dining on your favorite armchair while watching television.

4.   Noguchi Coffee Table

a Noguchi triangular coffee table in the middle of the room

Designed by the Japanese-American artist named Isamu Noguchi, this coffee table is a modernist-sculpture brought to function-oriented life. Consisting of a glass top balanced on artistic spindle-like wooden legs, this table always requires a second, third, and even fourth glance.

The curiosity-inducing design plus the classic material palette make this coffee table a must-have MCM living room furniture piece. It can become the centerpiece of your lounge and is versatile enough to complement any furniture around it.

5.   Noguchi’s “Cloud” Freeform Sofa

noguchi's beige cloud sofa

Isamu Noguchi’ “Cloud” Freeform Sofa is a study in sleek curves. The organic design of this sofa has decidedly modernist undertones despite its arc-like form. It’s also available in a number of upholstery colors and comes with an adjoining ottoman.

This sofa can be used to add an eclectic touch to your MCM living room designs. It’s a furniture piece that speaks volumes with its simplicity and unique form, so it will always make a statement in your interior design.

6.   Platner Chair

a planter chair in a fancy saloon

The Platner Chair is part of the entire living room ensemble collection designed by Warren Platner for Knoll. The distinguished wire-structure of this furniture piece makes it an instant hit. The metal finish of the wires contrasts glamorously with the upholstered seat, which makes this chair feel even more attractive.

The Platner chair is a furniture piece that can be used in accent capacity. You can feature a freestanding Platner chair beside your statement sofa as an armchair. You can also furnish a pair of them opposite to your sofa if your layout is large enough.

7.  Tulip Coffee Table

the tulip coffee table in front of a couch

The Tulip table is architect Eero Saarinen’s greatest contribution to the MCM genre. It’s got style, flair, and a sleek look that belies the typical clutter of usual table legs.

This coffee table is available in a round as well as an elliptical shape. Its pedestal base and smooth top always carries a visual gravitas that is perfect for making your living room feel fun, quirky, and eclectic without breaking the bounds of modernism.

8.   Eileen Gray Daybed

the black Eileen Gray daybed couch
crisp culture

While there are a number of ways to emulate the mid-century modern style in your living rooms and featuring the Eileen Gray’s Daybed is one of the best. The sleek, tufted countenance of this furniture piece is all about the subtle detailing. From the chrome accents introduced through the backrest and feet to the charismatic rectangular shape, you’ll be pressed to find a more interesting living room accent piece.

If you’re going for an uncluttered, minimalist vibe for your lounge, then this daybed would be the perfect way to do so. The timeless aesthetics and clean lines will certainly make a classy impact within your interior design.

9.   Walnut Stool

the one piece walnut stool next to a bookshelf

Sometimes, the smallest furniture pieces make the biggest impact, which is why the walnut stool by Ray Eames is a staple of mid-century modern living room furniture pieces. These stools were first designed as occasional pieces to accompany Charles Eames’ chair designs for the ultra-sleek and modern lobby of the Time & Life Building (the tallest slab-formed skyscraper in New York at the time).

Ray Eames was a trained sculptor and came up with the unusual design of these stools from her mastery of this art form. The wooden aesthetic provided a nice contrast to the modernist surroundings of the building lobby. Even now, these stools can be used in clusters of three or four to emulate some visual asymmetry within your living room ambiance.

10.  Mia Sofa

Mia Sofa in the middle of the room

MDF Italia’s Mia collection is an ode to the mid-century modern era. The aesthetic of this sofa is simple yet unique. It mimics the folding of a cushion to create a comfortable nest. The oversized visuals and classy asymmetric tailoring of its design couples well with different colored upholsteries.

This sofa would make an excellent centerpiece in a MCM style living room. It’s interesting form and clean visuals will couple well with glass, wood, and metal accented accompanying furniture without losing their ‘statement’ vibe.

11.  LC3 Grand Modele Sofa

a black Grand Modele three-seat Sofa

Perceived and designed by the infamous Le Corbusier, this oversized grand model LC3 sofa is a mid-century modern style masterpiece. Its comfortable cushions, boxy physique, and chrome accents emulate a distinct personality that will make your living rooms feel just as iconic.

This sofa is incredibly versatile, plush, and cozy, without compromising its distinct mid-century style characteristics a la clean lines, stately form, and less-is-more functionality. It will definitely make your lounge feel more inviting.

12.  George Nelson’s Spindle Clock

a wall hanged spindle clock next to a painting

In terms of mid-century modern style décor, you’ll never find anything as on-point as the George Nelson’s Spindle Clock. Shaped like a sunburst, these clocks have all the physical traits of the mid-century style, including the wooden accents, clean aesthetic, and natural charisma.

This clock would make your living room accent wall come to life and would prove to be the only decoration piece you’ll need to accomplish that.

So these are the 12 staples of a mid-century modern living room furniture collection for the contemporary times. We hope you find every essential you’ll require right here in this list.