Joanna Gaines just gave us a lesson on bringing the modern to mid-century design

Joanna Gaines's take on mid-century modern design is giving us endless interiors inspiration – balancing classic furniture pieces with contemporary, on-trend items

Headshot of Joanna Gaines
(Image credit: Getty Images / Rob Kim / Contributor)

Joanna Gaines took to Instagram at the weekend to announce the twenty-year anniversary celebratory event for her home and lifestyle brand, Magnolia, alongside co-founder and husband Chip Gaines. 

As to be expected with Gaines’s visually-led Instagram content, the background in the video is much like the rest of her social content: full of home decor ideas and inspiration. 

The room where the couple stands, shown above, looks to be a living room area, and the overall style very much nods to mid-century modern design. A style that’s seen a rise in popularity recently, with the likes of Emma Chamberlain’s LA home mastering the look, it’s a timeless style that celebrates the understated nature of design from the 1940s – '60s era, while elevating and upgrading with more modern pieces. 

The sofa shown in the video is very typical of mid-century design: low to the ground with an angular wooden frame, and complete with rich, forest-green upholstery. Whilst the sofa feels very representative of last century's iconic design movement, we love the way that Gaines has uplifted the space with the addition of bold, modern pieces, most notably the coffee table. 

Heather Humphrey, principal at interior design agency Alder and Tweed approves of Gaines's choice of furniture, explaining: 'This neutral living room blends modern pieces with traditional elements, creating a captivating juxtaposition that adds depth and character to the space.'

'The interplay between sleek contemporary lines and the timeless charm of the classic design evokes a sense of intrigue and sophistication, adding personality to the room.' 

Heather Humphrey

Designer Heather Humphrey founded Alder & Tweed Design Co. in 2010 with her brother Reed Humphrey. The firm creates curated luxury 'home away from home' experiences in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. 

The marble coffee table, pictured in the video above, is a key trend piece this season, sculptural in form and to some extent a statement piece to center the living space around. Although bold and heavy, the addition of this piece offsets the sofa perfectly, ensuring the room doesn't feel dated or too traditional.

The addition of a houseplant, in Gaines’s case a fiddle-leaf fig, brings the outdoors in and uplifts the space thanks to its rich and bright green color. When designing a room in a mid-century style, making sure to bring in plants such as this ensures the space feels bright, in comparison with the heavy, dark-toned wood that's synonymous with the design era.

Shown above is another example of the designer's interior styling and the use of lots of indoor greenery, this time one of the rooms in the married couple's 'The Castle' project.

Our top mid-century modern picks

Whether you’re a keen lover of mid-century furniture design, or instead just looking for some inspiration to upgrade your living space with a modern twist, we’ve got you covered. Shop the links below to elevate your home.  

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.