17 Inspiring Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Design Ideas

mid-century modern dining room
Sarah Yates Mora ; DESIGN: Sarah Yates Mora for A House in the Hills

Not everyone is lucky enough to have space for a formal dining room (shoutout to you, apartment-dwellers!). But if you are #blessed enough to find yourself with one, you might start to feel like that blessing is...well, more of a curse. Dining rooms tend to stay un-decorated for longer than other areas of the home, since they’re not in use as much as, say, the kitchen or living room (unless you’re a champion hostess putting the rest of us to shame).

If you’re stuck when trying to style your mid-century dining room, you’re not alone—and since simply plopping down some vintage furniture finds and calling it a day isn’t enough, we’ve rounded up some of the most inspiring mid-century dining spaces on Instagram to help you elevate your dining area instantly. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be hosting a mid-century dinner party of your own pretty soon. 

01 of 17

Go Dark

We’ll be honest, we’ve never seen dark beadboard look as beautiful as this. An on-trend shade of moody grey-green makes these mid-century built-ins pop in the most unique way—and happens to cover all multitude of sins if you live in an older house with less-than-spotless walls.

walnut modular triple shelf
CB2 Walnut Modular Triple Shelf $2,855
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02 of 17

Try Handpainted Wallpaper

Even true MCM purists can get behind the slightly offbeat appeal of handpainted wallpaper—or, for DIY mavens, handpainted pattern murals—in the dining room. Just stick with a muted palette to keep things cohesive with the less-is-more look of fine-lined furniture.

wallpaper
Ivy Bronx Gaudet Brushstrokes Wallpaper $1.50 per square foot
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03 of 17

Build Out a Banquette

Why not go a step further than a bench and add a full banquette? The retro-cool look brings tons of mid-century bang-for-your-buck into the dining room...and yes, you can conceal some storage underneath as well.

04 of 17

Add a Plant Shelf

We don’t predict the #plantmom trend is going away anytime soon...and it’s a nice way to add a welcoming natural element to the sleek lines of a good MCM dining set. (Bonus points if your pothos trails dramatically into your bar cart.)

05 of 17

Make Room for Mirrors

We all know the old trick about mirrors making rooms feel bigger, but in a dining room, they do so much more—from elevating the vibe of your next soirée to dramatically reflecting candlelight from your tablescape.

Try topping off double doors with a set of mirrors to amplify the elegant effect.

mirror
Kate & Laurel Travis Round Mirror $80 $76
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06 of 17

Paint It Black

Since light wood tones are common to the era’s furniture, one way to make them really “pop” is to create tons of contrast. Even in this seemingly simple dining room, every piece stands out against glossy black floors (with a light fixture to match).

schoolhouse pendant
Schoolhouse Factory Light 5 Rod Pendant $349
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07 of 17

Wallpaper a Nook

What keeps this clean-and-simple dining set from feeling tired? Deep green built-ins accented by a marble-esque mural, of course.

amethyst wallpaper
Everly Quinn Delancey Amethyst Wall Mural $125 $80
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08 of 17

Load Up a Ledge

Even the most commitment-phobic home decorator can get behind this idea. A simple picture ledge lets you switch up your artwork with your mood...and won’t detract from the clean lines of these mid-century chairs.

09 of 17

Keep It Natural

Play up the natural beauty of Danish modern design—like those iconic wishbone chairs—by echoing the texture throughout the space. We love how a woven light fixture and raw beams bring balance to this space.

wishbone chair
Rove Concepts Wishbone Chair $295
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10 of 17

Get Into Art

One of the easiest mid-century finds to snap up? Vintage art. Whether you opt for the kitschy-cool paint-by-numbers pieces that populate most thrift stores nowadays, or choose something a little more subtle (block-print giraffes a la Pete Campbell’s apartment, perhaps?), coordinating with art from the era can lend a more authentic vibe to your dining area.

abstract painting
Toma Yovanovich Mid Century Modern Abstract Painting 1960's $900
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11 of 17

Add Layers

Textiles go a long way toward softening the look of mid-century furniture’s super-sleek lines...if you let them. Personalize each perch for a dinner party (or anytime) with cozy throw pillows and blankets to put an eclectic spin on the space.

12 of 17

Round Things Out

Not all formal dining spaces need to center around a long rectangular table. This room proves that there’s plenty of MCM love to be had for large round tables, too.

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Add Traditional Elements

These glass-front built-ins are a showstopper—but if you look closely, they’re not the only traditional aspect in the space. Clean-lined, shaker-style chairs and other similar styles can coexist peacefully with mid-century pieces that share a geometric bent. Add a markedly MCM light fixture to complete the balance, like these crafty homeowners have.

14 of 17

Keep It Simple

Sometimes, one pop of color is all you need to set your space apart. All-white walls and ceiling beams give this classic Eames-esque set plenty of space to shine.

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Be Bold

On the other hand, maximalism and MCM can be comfortably complement one another, too. This unabashedly loud retro wallpaper is the true crown jewel of the space.

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Add Warmth

Oftentimes, rugs are used in the dining area to create some contrast, but with so many inviting warm tones in this wood furniture, we can’t resist how a classic braided rag rug draws out each and every detail.

Casen Hand-Braided Cotton Beige Area Rug
Highland Dunes Casen Hand-Braided Cotton Beige Area Rug $148
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17 of 17

Embrace Artisans

Many mid-century designers were inspired by traditional Japanese craftsmanship, so it only makes sense that decorating along a similar vein would have a great effect. Textural tassel art and a wabi-sabi centerpiece make this dining area much more than the sum of its parts.

Lago Sculpture
Cindy Zell Lago Sculpture $1,030
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