Do you know mid-century modern or vintage modern?

by Alain Juneau


If you’re a fan of TV decorating shows or you browse websites presenting the latest trends in interior design, you have surely noticed an emerging trend. There is major enthusiasm for the pure and simple lines of the styles that were in vogue in the 50s and 60s, commonly known as mid-century or vintage.

Return of the 50s style

It’s no coincidence that 50s design is getting a new lease on life. Television series like “Mad Men” and “Pan Am” have entranced us, transporting us to “sexy” hotels, decadent dining rooms and the modern spaces of the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. These series, with their sumptuous sets, have given us a taste for revisiting 50s style, which can instill some glamour into our contemporary decor.


How can you create a mid-century decor without going retro?

Even if nostalgia impels you to adopt this decorating trend, it’s very likely you don’t want to reconnect with green deep pile carpets, hallucinogenically pattern wallpaper or orange and brown ceramic mosaics. And you certainly don’t want to hear your grandparents telling you: “Wow, it looks exactly like the apartment where we lived 30 years ago.”

A conservative, elegant, modern decor to which you have taken care to add a few well-chosen accessories can provide the desired ambiance, without overdoing it or going with a full retro look. Bright tile floors and neutral coloured walls will expand your space and showcase your mid-century inspired furniture. Let the light in: curtainless windows eliminate the boundary between indoors and outdoors. Use coloured objects to enliven your decor.

Choose furniture with an “antique wood” finish and straight lines. The details make all the difference. For example, for the Olly furniture collection, tapered feet are an excellent reminder of the 50s style, while metal inserts add a modern touch.


The following items are indispensable accessories: the famous sun-shaped mirrors with metallic accents, bright-coloured vases with rippling shapes, hangings with exploded shapes, and pedestal lamps of varied shapes and materials.  Cushions with images or patterns from the last century are a fine way to give a wink to the 50s.

Art is a lovely way to give your “retro chic” decor some personality.  Painting of the 50s and 60s is very rich in shapes and colours. It’s no accident that its influence is still perceptible in the great modern works of the 21st century. Regardless of whether it’s an original painting, a poster or even a work you created yourself, your picture’s intriguing shapes and vibrant colours could make it the centrepiece that gives punch to your decor.

Proud of your mid-century decor, take a seat in your velour armchair and enjoy a well-deserved martini!