eames lounge chair

Many people might think that buying a mid-century modern furniture replica is enough to turn a living room into an MCM living room. Buying your Eames Lounge chair with ottoman, for example, might be a good first step, but there’s a lot more you can do to turn your living room into a modern oasis.

The MCM style is all about clean lines, sleekness, and not that much ornamentation. However, you are welcome to add whatever you in terms of décor. Blankets, pillows, rugs, anything that makes you happy.

The MCM style is also not hard to put together. Other styles of interior design like Rustic, Eclectic, etcetera, might be harder to implement as they require you to have a distinctive aesthetic with (sometimes) unique pieces that might be out of your reach.

The mid-century modern look can be achieved with just six key items (at least in the living room).

The lounge chair

The Papa Bear chair by Hans Wegner. (C) MODCLAIR.

Lounge chairs were a huge boom during the golden days of the mid-century modern style. You can catch some of the most iconic chairs in many TV shows and movies depicting the 60s and 70s in America. The Eames Lounge chair is king of the lounge chair hill, but you can find gorgeous replicas for any kind of space, small, medium-sized, you name it.

For smaller spaces: The Barcelona chair is one of the prime choices, as well as the Barcelona stool (or ottoman), but we’ll talk about that later. The Womb chair might also do, but maybe you’ll have to pass on the accompanying ottoman.

A couple of Barcelona chairs. (C) John Maniscalco Architecture.

For medium-sized and bigger living rooms: consider the various types of lounge chairs with ottoman, such as Hans Wegner’s designs, and maybe do get that ELC with ottoman if you have enough room.

The coffee table

I am a firm believer that coffee tables were never the same after Isamu Noguchi and Eero Saarinen. Consider any of these two designers for your coffee table needs and you won’t be dissappointed.

If you’re a Bauhaus fan, consider getting the entire Barcelona collection for your living room, which of course comes with the often-overlooked Barcelona table.

A beautiful Noguchi table in front of a modern sofa. (C) Skhani.

The floor lamp

There’s a myriad of floor lamp designs from the mid-century modernist period. So let’s get straight to the most popular one: Castiglioni’s Arco Lamp.

You might also encounter Poul Henningsen’s Artichoke ceiling lamp a lot, but most MCM floor lamps will be replicas or original designs based on the Arco Lamp.

The ottoman

Sometimes doubling as a coffee table, ottomans were also popularized by this particular style. Most lounge chairs come with an ottoman, and that can be very good for smaller spaces, as most ottomans are enough to count as casual extra seating.

Mid-century modernist living room. (C) Christen Ales Interior Design.

We already mentioned the Barcelona ottoman, one of the few key pieces you can get on its own.

The side table

Side and end tables (which are not the same thing, check out our article on that), often referred to collectively as ‘side tables’ were also a huge part of the mid-century modern style, given their capacity to add affordable functionality to any space.

Saarinen’s Tulip line is often found in the form of discreet side tables beside elegant couches, or even used as standalone décor or corner-filler. Eileen Gray’s accent tables have been very popular amongst mid-century modernist enthusiasts for this very purpose.

Golden replica of Eileen Gray’s E1027. (C) inmod.

There are more than just 6 items to any good living room, but this might be a great starting point for mid-century modernist enthusiasts.