Mad Men Decor and Inspired Mid Century Interiors
One of the hottest design trends right now is the resurgence of the mid-century modern / vintage aesthetic. You can see this design style just about anywhere you look these days, but most notably it’s been a scene-stealer on the popular TV miniseries, Mad Men.
Vintage & Mid-century modern pieces are appealing because they have a degree of visual and functional truth (they are both functional and pleasing to the eye) that makes people want to live with them.
So What Is Mad Men Decor?
Mad Men decor refers to the interior design style and aesthetic popularized by the television series “Mad Men,” which aired from 2007 to 2015. Set primarily in the 1960s, the show depicted the world of advertising in New York City and showcased the distinctive mid-century modern design prevalent during that era. The Mad Men decor style captures the sophisticated and glamorous atmosphere of the time.
Here are some key elements of Mad Men decor:
- Mid-Century Modern Furniture: The furniture of the Mad Men era often featured clean lines, organic shapes, and a blend of wood, metal, and plastic materials. Iconic pieces include Eames lounge chairs, Saarinen tulip tables, and Noguchi coffee tables.
- Bold Colors: The color palette of Mad Men decor embraced bold and vibrant hues. Deep shades like teal, mustard yellow, avocado green, and burnt orange were commonly used for upholstery, walls, and accessories. These colors added drama and personality to the interiors.
- Geometric Patterns: Geometric patterns were popular in the 1960s, and they are a hallmark of Mad Men decor. Whether on wallpaper, upholstery, or rugs, you’ll find bold geometric prints such as chevron, herringbone, and abstract designs.
- Textured Walls: Wall treatments such as textured wallpapers or wood paneling were often used to add visual interest and depth to rooms. Wood paneling in particular, with its warm tones, was a common choice for creating a cozy and elegant atmosphere.
- Retro Lighting: Lighting fixtures in Mad Men decor were often inspired by the space-age and atomic designs of the time. Sputnik chandeliers, arc floor lamps, and pendant lights with globe shades were popular choices to create a sense of style and drama.
- Vintage Accessories: Decorative accessories played a significant role in Mad Men decor. Look for vintage items like ceramic ashtrays, barware sets, Danish pottery, abstract sculptures, and classic pieces of artwork to complete the retro look.
- Retro Bar Area: The show’s characters were frequently seen enjoying cocktails, and a well-stocked bar area was a central feature in many scenes. Consider incorporating a retro bar cart, vintage glassware, and cocktail shakers to evoke the Mad Men style and create a sophisticated entertaining space.
When recreating Mad Men decor, it’s essential to strike a balance between nostalgia and modern functionality. The style can be incorporated into various rooms, such as living rooms, dining rooms, and home offices, to bring a touch of 1960s glamour and sophistication to your space.
The Mid-Century Modern Mad Men Decor
Being a recent convert to the Mad Men craze, I thought I would take a closer look at the exceptional mid-century modern décor featured on the show and figure out how to incorporate the vibe of mid century modern aesthetic with the current style trend of using vintage rugs.
The production design team of Mad Men did not opt for the obvious decor and furnishing choices that we now think of as iconic to the 1960’s. Instead, they choose to incorporate pieces that are older and mix them in with modernist pieces of the time. This same principle works for us today when trying to mix our already established décor with the mid-century modern aesthetic.
What is great about the mid-century style is the clean lines and graphic features. These match beautifully with the bold features and colors of the vintage rugs that are so popular today. If you take a look at some of the scenes from Mad Men, its almost as if the rooms need a rug for a finishing touch.
The interior scene below is of Betty and Don Draper’s living room in their marital home. The sectionals are classic 1960’s with a bit of colonial revival style thrown into the mix.
If you were to replace the coffee table with a teak mid-century Danish one and swap out the brown carpet for the vintage Swedish rug shown below the room would instantly feel more modern and more inviting, in my opinion.
Don Draper’s apartment with his second wife is like a mod dream with white carpet, grass cloth walls and a period-perfect sunken living room. I really love the pop of colors on the couch, but again, I would swap the couch out for something updated and change the floors to hardwood and place a rug in the center of the room in order to bring the room together.
This mid-century vintage Moroccan rug would be perfect as it already features the pops of color from the decorative pillows on the couch. A flat screen TV, along with lamps that have more of an updated edge and a Moroccan hanging lamp would make the room more relevant to current décor trends.