Mid-Century Mad Men style for modern homes
Give your apartment a Hollywood makeover with these simple tips.
Without the talented actors and intriguing plots, many Americans would still watch Mad Men and for one reason: style. Fans of the mid-century modern aesthetic can’t get enough of the characters’ home décor.
Recreating these looks in your apartment can be as costly or affordable as your budget allows. What is required is time. Finding the right pieces may mean spending hours in consignment shops, vintage stores, and maybe even a few garage sales. It’s worth the investment. Your apartment will be a star!
There are a few structural components that you likely won’t be able to copy in your rental unless your place was constructed in the 60s and has never been renovated: sunken rooms, a bizarre fireplace, and pass-through windows are all elements that make Mad Men homes distinctly mid-century. Replicating those concepts in your rental may violate lease regulations. At best, it will set you back a pretty penny.
Accessories, however, are more readily changed. When it comes to living room furniture, aim for modular sets with minimal lines. Leather lounge chairs were making it big at the time, as well as barstools (usually seated at the pass-through counters in the kitchen).
Bold colors are a must. The 60s were about ditching the pastels of the 50s and entering a brighter age. Think of the boldest colors that occur in nature and run with them. You can’t go wrong with tweed or bear brown as a neutral.
Image courtesy Poetic Home.
Don’t forget little accents. Search for a time-appropriate, push-button phone and the infamous shag carpet. End tables and coffee tables can be tiered, which was all the rave, or topped with glass on metal or wood bases. Though we all hate them now, don’t forget a stiff valence for your window treatments. If you’ve got a bar, deck it out with a drum-shaped iced bucket or one in a funky print banded with gold.
If you’re in doubt about what’s appropriate for the decade, whip out a few photos of your parent’s childhood homes (or call them up and stroll down memory lane). You can also Hulu a few episodes of Bewitched. Bookworms might enjoy a copy of Decoration U.S.A., by Jose Wilson and Arthur Leaman or archives of LA Times Home Magazine.
Vintage room design from Better Homes and Gardens.