Mid-century decor on a budget, Part 3


Today we conclude our three-part overview of getting in on all this spiffy mid-century modern design while avoiding the outlandish pricing of high-profile designer pieces. Part 1 addressed smaller decor pieces, and Part 2 discussed used furniture.

Depending on the selection in your area, you may find great deals on mid-century furniture, such as that pictured above, at vintage home decor stores or antique malls. But what if a used piece just doesn’t meet your particular needs, for whatever reason?

Go for quality

Before we begin looking for new furniture, one thing to keep in mind is that we should look for good value, not just dirt-cheap prices. Those on a shoestring budget may be tempted to get the cheapest item they can find simply because it’s cheap. It’s easy to go for a higher quantity of cheaper pieces, especially if you are looking to end up with a greater variety of items in a shorter time.  However, while a $250 love seat at the messy fly-by-night furniture mart on the corner may be tempting, it’s probably going to break in short order, so you definitely want to consider the longevity of the materials first. Having to wait and save up a little more to get a single piece of more durable furniture, maybe in the $600-$900 range, will be much more worth it in the long run.

While real leather is great, retro-style or original vintage pieces in full-grain leather may not be readily available at affordable prices. Vinyl is almost certainly going to crack at some point. It can be fixed with a repair kit, but the seams may still be visible. Depending on your preferences, that may not bother you, and could even add to a “lived-in” look.

Bonded leather is basically made of shredded scraps of leather held together with a plastic-y polyurethane adhesive. It is to real leather what particle board is to real wood. Depending on how much abuse your furniture takes, the bonded leather material may end up worn down all the way to the backing fabric in just a few years. Not only is that hideous, but trying to repair it may be more trouble than it’s worth. If it’s going to end up looking like fabric anyway, it might be better to just get a fabric-upholstered sofa in the first place!

Sources for new retro furniture

There are a few furniture companies out there that continue the original mid-century modernist tradition of more affordable stylish design aimed at Jane and Joe Public. The pricing on some of the better-quality items may be considered “mid-range,” for example, somewhere in the $600s to the $1,300s or so for a sofa, depending on what you find. This is still significantly less than what you would pay for, say, brand new Herman Miller products.

While it may seem cliché, Ikea’s mid-century Scandinavian heritage is very apparent in certain items. For those who are particular about a specific period look, Ikea’s more retro-looking stuff might fit in better with a 1960s “mod” look than a more “atomic” 1950s setting. For example, take a gander at the “Landskrona” sofa: Click here.

Ikea’s “Lovbacken” side table is very affordable at only $59.99 and is closely based on one of their original designs from the 1950s: Click here. They have sometimes reissued other designs from those years, so keep an eye out for some spiffy retro stuff.

Crate & Barrel has a wide selection of furniture that could fit with a mid-century aesthetic. While much of it is at a more premium cost, you can find some attractive items among their offerings that are available at a more mid-range price. This isn’t too shabby for $800, right?

If you are in the northwest, Moe’s Home Collection, based in Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC, has some very stylish pieces. Some could be described as more ornamented “Hollywood Regency,” while others are more typical mid-century modern. Their “Madison” sofa can be found for less than $800 at retail:  Click here.

Here are just a couple stores on the West Coast that feature new furniture in retro-modernist design (check web sites for hours and contact info):


Kasala Furniture: https://www.kasala.com

Check out their outlet location located here:

1948 Occidental Ave S

Seattle, WA 98134

Los Angeles:

The Hunt Vintage Home Furnishings: https://thehuntvintage.com

Their “Mid century style custom day bed sofa” goes for $925 and is available in a variety of colors.

5317 York Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90042


Thank you for joining Living MCM on this three-part overview of mid-century modern decor and furniture on a budget. Hopefully this gives you a good starting point, as well as ideas of the types of sources to search for locally in your area.

Now that the obligatory discussions of interior decor are over with, we will turn our attention to some other aspects of mid-century living. First of all, how does a mid-century modern person stay in shape? Stay tuned!



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