Midcentury modern furniture in a Victorian house – styling tips

A lot of people believe that midcentury furniture doesn’t suit an our older style house. I don’t think this is true. I believe that the clean, simple design of midcentury furniture suits most properties, whatever the age of the house and no matter whether you live in the city or countryside. The highly decorative features of Victorian properties, like ceiling roses, high skirting boards and tall windows create an excellent backdrop and contrast to show off your sleek, timeless midcentury modern design.


What is midcentury modern furniture?

Midcentury modern furniture and the Scandinavian minimalist look has been on trend for quite a while now. For good reasons too! The clean, fresh designs of a teak Danish sideboard or the monochrome graphic 1960s patterns in lots of textiles and other home accessories are simply beautiful. What is Midcentury modern furniture?

Mid-century modern is the design movement in interior, graphic design, product design, architecture, and urban development from about 1945 to 1975. It started just before the Second World War but became particularly popular in the 1950s and 60s in the Nordic countries, but also in England and the US. Scandinavian architects were very influential at this time, their style known for clean simplicity and integration with nature. Designers like Arne Jacobsen and Charles and Ray Eames produced their most famous classics here, including the iconic Ant chair and the Eames chairs, of which are now millions in reproduction.

midcentury modern furniture set in victorian cottage
Image: The Vintage Cabin

Light, connection with nature and large windows have always very important features in midcentury modern architecture. Victorian architecture is different in almost every sense, but the usually large windows are a feature that is similar. The light and connection with a garden for example can be utilised well. Use them to your advantage and make midcentury modern furniture work well in your historic home.

mid century modern furniture in victorian house
This beautiful Victorian apartment in Manchester features many midcentury modern pieces. They all look fabulous combined with the high ceilings and architectural features. A nice combination form the minimalist teak wall unit, the heritage colour green, herringbone floor and the oversized drapes. Very stylish. Image via Seeds and Stitches

Create contrast with midcentury modern furniture and victorian features

If you happen to live in an old house with lots of character, a minimalist, understated piece of furniture forms a nice contrast. It will compliment the features of the house rather than compete with it. Likewise, a Victorian property with high ceilings forms a perfect back drop to show off the clean lines of a mid century modern armchair or sideboard. Please don’t feel you have to compromise on style, just because you think a country cottage doesn’t go with a 1960s sofa. Think outside the box! Be brave and mix it up, you might surprise yourself.

Decor ideas

To match the minimalist look of the midcentury modern furniture, you may want to choose to keep the room decor quite simple. Choose floor length curtains to dress windows, but without patterns. Keep the walls plain, but instead use abstract art and framed prints to jazz things up. Keep the floorboards bare, rather than using carpet. Use vintage rugs instead.

mid century armchair and bookcase in georgian house

This is a bright Georgian house in Islington, London. The old shutters, decorative ceiling and original fireplace create a nice contrast with the midcentury modern style furniture. The design of the armchair and bookcase are very 1950s. The blonde wood floor boards are typical in Scandinavian homes. The standard lamp in orange adds a lovely pop colour. Image via Design Milk

orange retro lamp above a mid century dining table in cottage
Image via Desire to Inspire

In this little dining room inside a Victorian or similar age cottage, the midcentury modern furniture looks great. The old floor boards, bright orange retro pendant light and bookcase all combine very well and  create a lovely space. The retro style is not overpowering, there is not much clutter and all is in balance. You can try this look in any country cottage.

Small danish teak mid century sideboard in swedish house
Image via Desire to Inspire

Do you live in a small cottage or apartment? If your living room just isn’t very big, try and find a smaller midcentury modern sideboard. Keep the room light and bright. You can also combine it with  some vintage finds and a statement armchair for an eclectic, Scandi look.

Book tip: Style your Modern Vintage Home

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