Mid-century modern has been all the rage since Mad Men made its debut. You don’t need to have an authentic mid-century house to add a little sophisticated 50s style. All you need is a little imagination and a few props.
Here are some suggestions on how to add a little Mad Men-era style to your existing décor.
For some folks, mid-century modern is a way of life. I know clients who spend every weekend seeking out new vintage treasures at flea markets and estate sales. However, most clients do not wish to decorate their homes so fervently in any style, for fear it might be a bit too themed. I suggest choosing an area such as your living room or office and adding a great mid-century desk or coffee table. Mid-Century Dweller in Inglewood (www.midcenturydweller.ca) has a fantastic rotating retail collection of affordable mid-century finds. If you are ready to spend a bit more, the Canadian company scandinavian.modern (www.scandinavianmod.com) carries beautifully restored and attributed designer pieces from the era. I especially love their desks and sideboards. Look for rosewood, teak and mahogany for true 1950s swagger. Vintage mahogany and rosewood are no problem when considering environmental issues, though try not to purchase newly made pieces in these endangered woods please. Kit Interior Objects, (www.kitinteriorobjects.com) has a large selection of licensed midcentury design classics for sale. The iconic Eames chairs and Noguchi tables are an easy fit in any mid-century design scheme.
Maybe you just want a little Mad Men in your home for a party or for the season. If your budget won’t allow a splurge on a larger furniture piece, consider purchasing a great vintage (or vintage looking) bar cart. Layer some crystal tumblers on a serving tray with some nice amber colored scotch or bourbon bottles and maybe a martini shaker. You don’t even need the cart for this. It’s easy to turn the top of any low furniture piece into a Don Draper worthy bar for the price of your favorite beverages. Collections and vintage electronics are another way to show your appreciation for the era. Rotary phones, typewriters, globes and magazines from the 50s aren’t just fun to look at, you can use them too. Chances are once you find that first item that catches your eye; a collection won’t be far off. Those builder built ins are far less expensive to fill when you are using fun collectibles instead of hardcover books and your guests will get a kick out of “the old stuff” they remembered as a kid.
Lastly, I suggest having a Mad Men inspired outdoor party. The mid-century Finnish company Marimekko makes fabric and table accessories that will give your party the right atmosphere. Anyone over 40 will remember the bright colors and patterns fondly. Marimekko is available at Kit Interior Objects in Calgary. Ask your guests to dress in theme, fire up the barbecue and don’t forget to make the JELL-O mould salad.
Lori Andrews is an insanely happy Interior Designer and photographer living in Calgary, Alberta Canada. www.loriandrewsinteriors.com.