What Realtors® Need to Know About Midcentury Modern Homes

By MNR News posted 10 days ago

When you think of the term midcentury modern, do you picture yourself lounging on a leather sectional couch with a tumbler of amber liquid in hand while listening to vinyl records? You may be watching too much Mad Men, AMC’s hit TV series set in the late 1950s and early 60s. But midcentury modern architecture and aesthetics are much more than the nostalgia of wall ovens, oversized teak desks, and lunchtime happy hours.

In recent years, the midcentury modern (MCM) style has surged back into the consumer consciousness. Demand for MCM furnishings is frenzied in commercial and private marketplaces. Buyers are also flocking to midcentury-built homes, which are known for the longevity of their craftsmanship, open living spaces, and hip accents. 

As a Realtor®, what do you need to know about mid-century home design when your clients ask? From the architecture’s post-war origins to fresh takes on dreamy decor, below are notable facts and features bound to make your clients flip out about MCM.


“Mid-century modern” is often used as a catchall term to describe the style and materials found in the architecture, furniture, technology, and accessories that became popular in the United States following World War II—right around the middle of the 20th century. At that time, the housing market was booming, and home builders were eager to marry design innovation with livable functionality for growing American families. Home builders adapted ideas from famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who is sometimes considered the father of mid-century modern architecture.


Mid-century homes were built to last in style. Materials used in many 50s- and 60s-era properties were selected not only for their appearance but, most critically, their durability. These one-story craftsman homes feature layouts that encourage togetherness and often include large multipurpose living spaces, glass partitions, and welcoming fireplaces. For instance, the kitchen and dining area might blur into the family room. Floor plans were designed with the potential for expansion in mind. Natural light is another emphasis in these homes, which often have ample windows to welcome the sun and provide calming views of the property’s exterior.

Key benefits:

  • Quality craftmanship
  • Multipurpose livingspaces
  • Natural light
  • Potential for expansion

Furniture & Decor

Rolling bar carts aren’t the only way to dress up a mid-century home, though they may help keep guests entertained. Built-in shelving is a staple of interior layouts, which can free up space for simple but eye-catching furnishings. Wood, metal, vinyl, and glass are frequently highlighted textures.

Remember that simplicity is a virtue in MCM design, and every piece in a room should serve a specific or dual purpose. For example, two or three focal pieces of furniture, perhaps paired with a tasteful area rug, can really tie a room together in this style. The colors of your furnishings and decor can also make or break the good vibes in a room. 

Key elements of MCM home decor:

  • Add furniture that’s equal parts form and function
  • Highlight wood, metal, vinyl, and glass textures
  • Enhance and accent the home’s open spaces, don’t crowd them
  • Retro and modern colors: Ochre, teal, rust, burnt orange, and salmon


Pockets or whole neighborhoods of mid-century homes are primarily located in the first-ring suburbs of larger cities, as is the case in the Twin Cities. Suburbs like St. Louis Park, St. Anthony Park, and Golden Valley are rich in this type of architecture. However, mid-century gems can be found dotted sporadically in both large and small cities throughout Minnesota. Due to recent demand and inventory shortages, Realtors® and buyers must exercise patience—but stay vigilant—when their dream mid-century home hits the market.