Get the Look: Mid-Century Modern Design

Mid-Century Modern Design Board

If you’re an interior designer or restaurant manager planning to launch a new space or refresh an old one, this blog series will provide some inspiration for your next project. We’ll also give our thoughts on easy ways to execute today’s most trending styles, beginning with Mid-Century Modern design.

Mid-Century Modern Design Board

Though whichever style you choose, Paul Basile, a highly sought after designer for San Diego restaurateurs, suggests you make sure you’re passionate about it. “Expressing passion in the overall design and the intimate details … that expressiveness is passed along to the guests when they notice something new every visit—like finding a new little gem.”

Modern vs. Contemporary

Though you might hear the two terms used interchangeably, modern and contemporary design are two very different things. “Modernism was the future in the early mid-century. It harnessed the capability of machinery to offer affordable housing and furniture solutions to the masses. This informed architecture, interiors, furnishings, and art,” says Los Angeles based interior designer, Natalie Myers. Essentially, Modern design combines industrial chic and 1950s mid-century modern. So Modern design refers to a specific time period, while Contemporary design is continually evolving. It’s whatever’s popular, in the present.

Modern Design Elements

Modern design is a rejection of the preceding Gothic, Renaissance and Victorian styles, known for heavy textures, ornamentation, dark colors, and dramatic elements. It replaced these elements with clean, straight lines, uncluttered spaces and an overall lack of fussiness. At the highest level, Modern design’s motto is “form serves function”. “Everything in your house should have raison d’etre. If you don’t know why it’s there, get rid of it,” says potter, designer, and author Jonathan Adler. Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’ll dig into some key Modern design elements: neutral colors, open floor plans, and organic furniture.

Neutral Hues

Modern design emphasizes natural materials, so aim to keep your color palette natural. Think white, beiges and some shades of black. However, you can still accent these neutral hues with a bold pop of color. Just make sure it’s an earthy tone and used sparingly to provide a focal point and help break up the neutral palette.

Open Spaces

Ultimately, you want as few walls as possible. Furniture should differentiate spaces, like a kitchen counter providing a visual distinction between a living or dining room. Also keep windows simple and unadorned so you let in abundant natural light that keeps your space airy and open.

Organic Furniture

The modern design era replaced traditional wood furniture with new materials like steel, leather, vinyl, molded plywood, and plastic, combining these textures with organic shapes and a monochromatic color scheme to create sleek and stylish interiors. Iconic Modern furniture favorites like the resin, one-legged tulip chair were designed to be affordable and easy to mass produce, yet still visually appealing.

Go Modern, the Easy Way

Ready to go Modern? All it takes is updating a few key restaurant interior design essentials: seating, shelving, plants, artwork, and lighting. But before you dive into Modern design, here’s a great design pro tip. If you’re creating a new restaurant, bar or event area and think you’ll want to switch up your design style every few years, keep your walls and surfaces white or neutral so you can add accents and accessories that update your space’s style whenever you’re in the mood.


Now that you’re crafting your Modern decor start simple, with shelves. Remember, even though form and function are key, you can still have a lot of fun with the form. Look around and you’ll find unique, Modern wall, kitchen and bar shelves in all shapes, textures, and materials from curves, triangles and octagons, to wood and metal. Pick the shapes and styles you find most functional, and inspiring.


A piece of striking wall art can truly pull a space together. Stay neutral with a series of framed swatches that echo your subdued Modern palette. Or, add a splash of color with a bold abstract art painting. Keeping it abstract will ensure you don’t clutter your clean Modern decor with too many themes. Source free pieces from up and coming local artists. You’ll turn your dining or entertainment space into a Modern art gallery, and give customers even more reason to visit.


The bright greens and bold hues of leaves and blooming flowers will breathe life into your Modern decor’s streamlined symmetry and neutral palette. They work best when they’re housed in minimalist stands and planters that merge the natural world and modern engineered precision. Think curved organic bowls cradled in sleek gray concrete bases, geometric metal or glass frames, and even chalkboard wall planters.


Modern lighting echoes the materials you find in most Modern furniture, from sculpted steel to glass and plastic. Make a statement with a Modern chandelier or hang multiple abstract pendant lights or globes with architectural curves. Aim for clean, simple and striking and your space will exude warmth and Modern ambiance.


Modern seating also echoes the theme of “form serves function”. You may be familiar with one of the most iconic Modern design chairs, the tulip chair. It’s commonly seen in white with a colorful cushion and single leg base, all molded from acrylic. Or perhaps you’ve spotted the egg chair. A high-backed leather chair that looks like a cracked egg shell, it was originally sculpted from clay by Arne Jacobsen. Bring your favorite Modern seating style into your space and make it even more unique and inviting. Mix things up and fill your space with a variety of Modern seating styles.

The Modern Hostess Stand

Last but not least, you’ll want to give guests a Modern style welcome when they enter your restaurant, event or bar space with a hostess stand that matches your decor. To do that, you’ll need our Deluxe Hostess Stand. It’s available in a sleek white-powder-coated steel frame, making it both durable and Modern. Even better, the panels can be printed with custom artwork and are interchangeable. That means you can update your design style whenever you choose.

Ready to get this look? Contact us today at 844-873-1400 and we’ll help you create a hostess stand perfect for your restaurant’s Mid-Century Modern theme!

Due to extremely high order volume and freight carrier delays, please expect a lead time of 4-10 weeks.
Call us at 877-941-0517 if you need your hostess stand by a specific date. We recommend placing your orders early to build in the delays. Dismiss