Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

The best mid-century modern remodeling ideas we’ve seen yet

Mid-century modern remodeling projects vary in cost, effort, and design. Streamlined furniture, geometric shapes and patterns, soft colors, and a mix of natural and synthetic materials characterize this timeless design aesthetic. Functionality, sparse decor, and a connection with nature also play large parts in mid-century modern homes. If you need some of the best remodeling ideas so you can finally get started, use this guide to help you dream up the perfect plan.

dining and living area with wood floors
Francesca Tosolini/Unsplash

Replace floors with wood

If you’re familiar with mid-century modern design already, you know that wood is the superstar material in most interior design. Wooden furniture, wooden floors, or wooden walls help make any room feel more natural. This also connects it to the outdoors, another pillar of the 1930s to 1960s style.

Related Videos

Walnut, teak, and birch are the most authentic choices. Keep in mind that light floors tend to look more modern than darker options, though the latter goes well with bright color schemes. If wood is not in the cards for you, stone and tile are equally effective.

Rune Enstad/Unsplash

Put up a kitchen backsplash laminate

Installing a backsplash laminate is a quick kitchen redecoration solution that will totally transform this space. It is a practical idea if the wall behind your sink and kitchen appliances is currently bare. Laminate is easier to install and maintain compared to tile, which can build up stains and dirt quickly. This material is also widely available in numerous patterns and colors.

Choose geometric patterns like honeycomb, chevron, or diamond. Keep colors muted in beiges and different shades of soft blues, or take this opportunity to introduce more color to your home. Try teal or olive to make it fun but still true to mid-century modern design.

outdoor seating area with chair and table

Deck out your yard 

Building a new deck may take a few days if you’re undertaking the project yourself, but it means you have more control over the results. A deck that’s the same level as your back door connects your home with the outdoors, a very mid-century modern touch. 

Again, we recommend wood not just for its organic attributes, but for its durability. Fortress Building Products gives great tips on how to add a little splash of uniqueness to your deck. Some suggestions include making a leaf deck or curving the edges. Break up wood with concrete accents like the area right underneath your outdoor dining set. If possible, install a large outdoor fireplace to ramp up the drama and coziness. Leave ample free space around seating arrangements. As for the furniture, choose functional pieces with peg or hairpin legs.

Leora Dowling/Unsplash

Mount custom built-ins

One classic design we love that’s making a comeback is custom built-ins. These versatile furniture pieces fit well into living rooms, offices, bedrooms, and even kitchens. In the living room, create shelving for your television, plants, and glass ornaments. Take it up and to the ends of the wall if possible for the most impact. 

This also looks great in an office or den where you can show off your favorite reads, family photographs, and travel souvenirs. You can even carve out a space to use as your work desk.

In the kitchen, you might have less vertical space for large built-ins, so opt for multiple bare shelving. Dress up the shelves with choice lacquerware or miscellaneous decor pieces like a vintage cheese plate or a matte-finish flower vase. 

Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

Install glass doors and windows

Floor to ceiling glass doors and windows are trademarks of mid-century design. Glass coverings let in plenty of natural light and again, connect your home to the outdoors in an effortless way. However, replacing your existing doors may be tricky, especially if you have unique measurements. We recommend enlisting your local renovation specialist for this one. 

combination living room and dining room
Francesca Tosolini/Unsplash

Transform your first floor into an open floor plan

This classic remodeling tip is probably the first idea you came across during your initial search. It’s a practical idea if you have the time and resources and can instantly transform your home into a mid-century design home with modern twists.

Break down any walls between your kitchen and living room, to start, but always consult with a structural engineer first, as stated by Bob Vila. If your dining room is also walled off, consider taking these dividers down. An open floor plan not only makes your home feel more spacious, it helps accommodate the often sizable mid-century furniture you’ll want to snag. 

Oversized armchairs, grand and sumptuous sofas, and built-in customs can otherwise feel bulky in walled off spaces. Contact a professional especially if you’re worried about wiring and foundation issues.

If you’re specifically looking for contemporary remodeling tips, you can still brainstorm ideas from our list. Keep in mind, however, that contemporary and modern aesthetics slightly differ. Whereas contemporary refers to on-trend styles, modern design typically hints at design from the 1930s and 1960s. The great thing is you don’t have to follow a single style faultlessly. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different style elements to make your home a genuine representation of you.

Editors' Recommendations

These dark color palette ideas deliver all the mood
The depth of these dark colors will transform any space in your home
Bedroom with dark wall behind king bed

Dark rooms can sometimes get a bad rap. When designers talk about paint colors that bring light in, make rooms appear larger, or add color to make a room feel "fresh," lighter colors often rule the day. But they don't have to. In fact, bringing in a dark, rich color to a bedroom, living room, office, or bathroom can actually give the space added personality and depth that light colors cannot.

You can also decorate around the dark colors with furniture, lighter cabinets, and wall decor to break up the monotony of a dark color. Here are a few dark color palette ideas to inspire you to bring dark paint hues to any room.

Read more
Basement remodel ideas that won’t break the bank
If you want to remodel your basement on a budget, here are a few ideas
Media room basement

If you're tired of looking at the same old large room in your basement and need some inexpensive remodel ideas, we're here to help. Having a basement is wonderful for entertaining, for housing an extra bedroom or office, or for using as storage, but it's often one of the most underutilized spaces in a home. But there are ways to breathe new life back into it with just a little paint, furniture, and imagination.

Here are a few basement remodel ideas to get you started. You won't believe what a big difference small changes will make in your home.

Read more
Chrome: Is it just a fad or is it here to stay?
Is chrome 'the new brass?' Or is this shiny metallic a timeless trend? Experts weigh in
Gray shaker-style cabinets with chrome hardware

Chrome has often been called "the new brass." However, this trendy metallic is not necessarily new to interiors. While it fell out of style for some time, chrome eventually reemerged and popped up in all sorts of places. For the last five years, designers have watched chrome come and go in home decor. However, after so many years of stepping in and out of the spotlight, we can be fairly certain that chrome is here to stay.

Here’s what the experts have to say about this trendy and perhaps timeless metallic.

Read more