Joanna Gaines' living room is a masterclass in 'updated' mid-century modern style – it's set to be the big trend for 2025

The '50s are back again and looking fresher than ever

Joanna Gaines mid-century modern Lake house living room
(Image credit: Courtesy of Magnolia Network)

The style tag 'mid-century modern' is now ubiquitous, loosely describing simple, functional furniture with organic or geometric shapes, made from around 1940 to 1960. The term was popularised in the US after the publication in 1984 of Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s by art historian Care Greenberg. However, everyone is once again talking about mid-century modern design. 

During this period of rapid change, homes were all of a sudden more expensive and less spacious. People wanted a fresh aesthetic but didn't always have large budgets. A sense of flexibility and a yearning for a new way of life was in the air. No, we're not talking about the mood of the past few years, but of the 1950s, when the mid-century modern style was first created as an answer to the zeitgeist. And with so many clear similarities in the collective consciousness, it’s no surprise that pieces from that era feel exactly right for now, and it is perhaps also unsurprising that design duo Chip and Joanna Gaines have chosen the mid-century modern decor trend for their latest project 'The Lake House'.

The highly-anticipated Lake House renovation is a mid-century modern one-off, designed by the dream team behind Magnolia, the Gaineses have given this popular interior design trend an updated feel – beautifully reimagined for its Texan location. With its peaceful palette and carefully curated collection of antiques and modernist pieces, this handsome, mid-century modern living room is a balm for the soul.

Joanna Gaines' mid-century Lake House living room

(Image credit: Courtesy of Magnolia Network)

For Joanna Gaines, it was important to honor the original 1965 bones of the home. It just so happens that the original homeowners sought to blend mid-century modern style with Spanish Revival – two of the Gaineses' favorite trends. The key, Gaines decided, was removing its circa-1990s renovations and starting completely from scratch. 

The Gaineses leaned into mid-century modern style furniture and incorporated plastered walls, arches, and terracotta tiles to bring out the Spanish Revival side of the abode. When it came time to choose a color palette, they decided to mimic the glorious landscape surrounding their property on Lake Waco.

Decorating with neutrals, inspired by colors from the natural world, adds a gentle and soothing touch to interiors that can be layered with textures and tones to ebb and flow with the seasons. This 'new neutral' color palette has become synonymous with Gaines' aesthetic, as seen in this cozy living room space. 

Joanna Gaines' mid-century Lake House living room

(Image credit: Courtesy of Magnolia Network)

Elsewhere, well-built pieces of furniture, built and designed to stand the test of time, lead the way with their iconic good looks – a key factor for mid-century modern décor. 

Despite the development of innovative new materials – such as plastic, fiberglass, and laminates – timber sustained popularity throughout the mid-20th century. Furniture designers favor durable hardwoods; teak, cherry, maple, and beech continue to be popular choices for homeowners wanting to replicate the look. Exuding warmth, and famed for its timeless beauty and durability, solid wood is still one of the most popular materials to recreate an authentic mid-century modern living room. 

In this case, Gaines ensured the arches and curves of the Spanish Revival style are still ever-present. Each beautifully curved piece of furniture was made to fit the space – and for lounging. The result is a home that’s loved equally by Joanna and her family. You can immediately feel the rich history and beautiful bones of the house. And the new design gives it a fresh, yet timeless and comfortable feel.

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Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.