Not everyone is lucky enough to have space for a formal dining room (shoutout to you, apartment-dwellers!). However, if you find yourself with one, you might start to feel like that blessing is... well, more of a curse. Dining rooms tend to stay undecorated 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 midcentury 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 midcentury dining spaces on Instagram to help you elevate your dining area instantly. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be hosting a midcentury dinner party of your own pretty soon.
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 midcentury built-ins pop in the most unique way—and happens to cover a multitude of sins if you live in an older house with less-than-spotless walls.
Try Geometric Painted Wallpaper or Murals
Even true MCM purists can get behind the slightly offbeat appeal of hand-painted wallpaper—or, for DIY mavens, hand-painted 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.
Add a Bench
Adding a bench can be an easy way to create more seating while also giving a nod to the midcentury style. However, if you have the space, why not go a step further than a bench and add a full banquette? The retro-cool look brings tons of midcentury bang for your buck into the dining room... and yes, you can conceal some storage underneath, as well.
Add a Plant Shelf
Honestly, we don’t predict the #plantmom trend is going away anytime soon—which is great. 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 trail dramatically into your bar cart.)
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, mirrors can really do wonders when placed the right way. In a dining room, you can opt for smaller, round mirrors to get the look you want.
Try topping off double doors with a set of mirrors to amplify the elegant effect.
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 the black built-in shelves (with a fireplace to match). The rest of the room leans towards light tones, creating a perfect balance.
Wallpaper a Nook
An easy way to liven up your dining room nook? Add wallpaper that has playful or artistic patterns and colors. Whether you choose to add art over top or leave it bare is up to you, but you can't go wrong with adding an accent wall or nook to showcase your creative side.
Load Up a Ledge
Even the most commitment-phobic home decorator can get behind this idea. A simple set of floating shelves lets you switch up your artwork and dećor with your mood. As a bonus, it won’t detract from the clean lines of those midcentury chairs.
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. The perfectly-imperfect wooden table truly captures the concept of midcentury, and is a stunning focal point we can't look away from.
Get Into Art
One of the easiest midcentury 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 à la Pete Campbell’s apartment, perhaps?), coordinating with art from the era can lend a more authentic vibe to your dining area.
Textiles go a long way toward softening the look of midcentury 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.
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. Adding to the geometric aspect, round tables create plenty of room and give you plenty of space to work with while creating a tablescape.
Add Traditional Elements
You can opt to keep things traditional to some extent, even with a modern style. Clean-lined, shaker-style chairs and other similar styles can coexist peacefully with midcentury pieces that share a geometric bent. Add a markedly MCM light fixture to complete the balance, as these crafty homeowners have.
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. Plus, adding a gold starburst chandelier really ties the space together.
On the other hand, maximalism and MCM can comfortably complement one another, too. This unabashedly loud retro wallpaper is the true crown jewel of the space. The cheerful, bold colors allow the white dećor to truly shine—something that white doesn't often get to do.
A warm color palette can be implemented in plenty of ways with an MCM dining room. Toned-down white and orange chairs set the tone in this room, but you can do so in your own way by using rugs, curtains, or statement lighting.
Keep it Cohesive
While midcentury modern is perfect for experimentation, you can also opt to keep things cohesive by working with a monochromatic color scheme. Another option? Really lean into the natural materials like wood and wicker—the colors tend to blend together seamlessly.
Opt For Rustic Charm
A beautiful aspect of midcentury modern is its ability to blend well with other styles—including a rustic approach. Given how natural finishes are a common staple in these designs, the pairing is ideal. Lighter woods with open shelving, a neutral color scheme, and distinct pieces like the curved midcentury chairs to allow the dining room to stand out from the rest come together to create a cozy, charming space.
Let The Natural Light In
If you have access to it, flooding your dining room with natural lighting is ideal for midcentury modern design. Arrange your dining set near open or unrestricted windows to not only take advantage of a view, but to allow the light to highlight the color scheme and distinct lines that are so prevalent in this style. Just don't forget a sleek light fixture that can be put to use once the sun goes down.
Curate a Gallery Wall
While choosing a singular piece of art to showcase in the dining room is a great option, you can also opt to go with a full scale gallery wall. Dining rooms serve as a unique purpose to not only gather for meals, but to get together in general. Curating a wall of artistic prints that match the rest of the room can help create a cohesive environment without making it feel plain or stuffy.
Try Nice and Neutral
If you want to keep things simple, opt for a neutral palette for your midcentury dining room. Plenty of wood tones, wicker furniture, and greige walls come together to create a peaceful atmosphere. Add a simple piece of art, a singular plant, and geometrically designed chairs to complete the look.
Try Black and White
Try a Minimalist Approach
Minimalism isn't a requirement for MCM style, but it does pair beautifully with it. Rather than covering the walls in dećor and bold paint, stick to a mostly white palette, natural accents, and keep the decorative items to a minimum to create a striking impact.
Focus on Statement Lighting
Statement lighting is a perfect way embrace your midcentury design in the dining room. Whether you choose a geometric fixture, something sleek and streamlined, or something out of the box, your lighting is a perfect way to blend function with style.
Don't Be Afraid to Get Artsy
This style does allow plenty of room to be playful and mix things up if you want, so why not take advantage of that? Opt for unique dećor items that can be prominently displayed on shelves for guests to admire. You can get artistic with more than just your walls, though—accent chairs in bright colors and patterns are a perfect fit.
Work With Wood and White
Wood tones and white are a classic pairing, and can be a great starting point if you're not sure how to arrange a midcentury modern dining room. White walls with wood accents can keep things easy to work with, and can create a great base to build on over time. However, if you choose to stick with the basics, we can't blame you—the results on their own are incredibly striking.
Make the Most of Muted Tones
Neutral colors and radiant color schemes are both represented well in this style, but you can still find a happy medium while decorating your dining space. Muted tones allow you to add a dose of color without overpowering the room, and these tones work exceptionally well with the natural finishes and designs of midcentury themes.
Use Cane Back Chairs
Speaking of chairs, they are usually the star of the show when entering a dining room. Midcentury modern style is often defined by sharp lines and geometric shapes, so implementing chairs that include both of those factors is a surefire way to create the space you're dreaming of—such as cane chairs. These chairs are a staple of midcentury modern design, blending form and function together in a powerful way.
Add Decorative Pillows
If you're working with a bench arrangement, know that you don't have to keep it bare. Adding some decorative pillows is a perfect way to add extra comfort and extra dećor. The amount of up to you—just ensure you aren't overwhelming the entire area with too many options.
Add a Touch of Glam
Who says midcentury modern style can't be glamorous? Honestly, no one that we know, but it's worth noting when trying to design your dining room. Soft tones of pinks, warm whites, and golden accents make this room look like its glowing—the perfect blend of chic and midcentury.