Styling a Credenza: Mid-Century Modern

MCM credenza - before Mid Century Credenza - after

This August we're devoting each week of the month to a different decor style or theme. This week, we're all about the mid-century modern (MCM) style. The clean lines, geometric shapes, and natural woods and metals make this style iconic and evergreen. MCM treasures are widely sought-after and coveted by collectors, making it difficult and pricey to get your hands on the real deal. 

The good news is you can achieve a MCM look in your home by mixing and matching vintage and modern pieces. Read on to give it a try!

There are two "best things" about flat, horizontal surfaces in the home:

  • We all have them. Whether it's a mantel, a shelf, or a sideboard. These surfaces abound in nearly all homes and they beg to be styled.
  • These spaces are flexible and easy to switch up. You can make vignettes to your heart's content, and by doing so really change the vibe of a room.

To achieve the MCM look, the only rules you have to follow are: 


  • Keep things simple (as far as your lines go).
  • Play with bold colors (think about doing this with your artwork or a sculptural piece like a vase or broad-leaf plant).
  • Work with warm woods and metals. Organic woods are a MCM staple, as are brass accents.

If you follow the above rules, you can achieve a pretty amazing MCM look without exclusively using true mid-century pieces. Here's how we achieved the look below using a few vintage finds, mixed with goodies from West Elm, CB2 and the like.

A mid-century modern styled credenza


Simple lines and organics make up the look

While the look isn't strictly composed of MCM pieces, it has a mid-century feel because we used a broad-leaf plant, sculptural vases, and some bold colors. The artwork is an eclectic mix of old and new, but it work because the bold colors of the modern print are grounded by the vintage portrait of a lady and an iconic MCM star burst urchin.

Here's a source list (with prices). I think it's difficult to price authentic MCM pieces, so I'm including price tags to give you a sense of what a real piece goes for.

Kabasa Vase: $29.95


Gourd Vase: West Elm $39; similar here

Atelier Stella Vase: $19.99 on SALE!

Blueprint Vase: $29.95

Lamp: $70 for a pair (Vintage); similar here

Artwork: Modern Society6 - $37

Artwork: Portrait of a Lady - $20 (Vintage); similar here

Starburst Urchin: $15



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