Forget Food, These 7 Midcentury Dining Room Ideas Are All You Really Need

Even though Mad Men is no longer airing new episodes, the drama (and the decor!) continue to live on through reruns, so we can still enjoy all of the midcentury modern goodness. The inspiring retro sets feature quintessential midcentury decor: groovy light fixtures, walnut and teak furniture, and abstract artwork.

Midcentury design had its beginnings in the 1940s, when people were searching for lighthearted, even jovial, moments after the end of World War II — and midcentury design filled that need. With globe-shaped lights, curved silhouettes, vibrant colors, and futuristic shapes, the style was just what the doctor ordered. And today, it continues to be popular in every room of the house, especially when it comes to the dining room. Here are seven midcentury dining room ideas that Don Draper would certainly approve of.

1. Get playful with your decor.

As we mentioned, midcentury modern decor appears to be carefree, depicting a future filled with fun and endless possibilities. Which is exactly how Carrie of Dream Green DIY's midcentury dining room feels. Thanks to a geometric pendant light, Eames-inspired dining chairs, and whimsical artwork, her space looks oh-so-modern, and yet is dripping with retro charm.

2. Incorporate geometric details.

In the land of midcentury design, linear and curved shapes live together harmoniously, which is something that's seen in this dining room belonging to Brittany of Brittany Makes. Her space is unmistakably midcentury with its curvaceous tubular metal chairs, a globe-style chandelier, and a sleek sideboard nearby. A fabric wall hanging, patterned area rug, and leafy greenery add oodles of texture.

3. Weave in vivid hues.

If you're gravitating toward neutral dining room ideas, that's more than fine. But we're here to tell you that midcentury design isn't shy, and a mid-mod dining room brimming with colors stays true to the original style. You don't have to go over the top. Follow the lead of Stefanie from The Style Safari and punctuate your space with blue Eames-inspired dining chairs, an accent wall covered in your fave removable wallpaper, a cowhide rug, and a yellow vase or two.

4. Make a light fixture the focal point.

Midcentury dining room idea with modern black light fixture
credit: Studio McGee

We believe that a midcentury dining room just isn't complete without a showstopping light fixture. It's the thing that'll make a room scream "midcentury" and tie the entire look together. This dining room designed by Shea of Studio McGee is a good example, with a retro-yet-modern pendant taking center stage.

5. Mix contemporary and midcentury accents.

There's nothing that says you are required to decorate in top-to-bottom midcentury when paying homage to the style in your dining room. In fact, you can choose to hang a retro chandelier and place mod chairs around the table, but you can also go current with a dreamy landscape painting and pastel color palette. This juxtaposition is beautifully displayed in a dining room belonging to Justine of Justine Celina.

6. Pick dark woods.

Midcentury dining room idea with walnut furniture
credit: Brepurposed

In the midst of all these bright colors and buoyant decor, midcentury rooms tend to have one anchor that brings everything down to earth: dark wood. The furniture leans toward walnut, giving the eye something to rest on in a busy room. Bre of Brepurposed creates a similar centering effect in her dining room with a table, chairs, and sideboard in a rich, dark wood finish.

7. Go all out.

If it's all or nothing for you, don't be afraid to splash midcentury amazingness everywhere in your dining room. Weave together vivacious colors, throwback textures, and authentic antiques in your space. We promise it will all come together flawlessly, as proven in this midcentury masterpiece belonging to Annette of A Vintage Splendor.

Where to Shop for Midcentury Dining Room Furniture:

We know that your mind is currently bubbling with dining room ideas, and you're likely pondering where to snag your midcentury furniture. That's why we're sharing our top picks for modern retailers who specialize in midcentury pieces.

West Elm always seems to nod to midcentury with every one of its products, and its dining furniture is no exception. With glass-topped walnut styles, circular-topped tables, and matching chairs that look as if they've traveled in a time machine, you'll be able to complete your dining room here.

That's right — the big-box retailer known for its current-day offerings also specializes in pieces with midcentury details. Visit Target for dining chairs, tables, benches, and barstools that are priced right and look positively retro.

Joybird is one of our fave destinations for custom midcentury furniture. We love its colorful sofas, but we also adore its mid-mod dining sets and tables that can be tailored to your unique needs and preferences.


Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering

Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer who contributes to national magazines and websites, including Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Well+Good, and more. When she's not writing, you'll find her shopping flea markets, hiking, and going for walks with her corgi.