Mad Men changed the TV landscape because of its brilliant script, endearing characters, and mid-century interior design. Don Draper’s office sparked inspiration all over the globe and was even showcased at an exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York.
Post-war America saw a change in interior design where natural shapes and materials reigned, creating perfect pieces to add to any room. If you’re seeking inspiration for your home or work office, we’ve got your back. Here are seven tips for creating a Mad Men office space.
- Use Cool, Contrasting Colors
Match warmer wood tones with cooler tones to bring out the depth of the natural wood. When you’re layering wood on wood, keep it simple for a greater impact. Also, don’t about matching shades as mixing tones gives it a more relaxed feel.
As you decorate your Don Draper office, keep the main pieces of furniture the same tone and then accessorize with every shade, from light to dark, to accent hues. Wood was all the rage in the mid-century era, clear from Don’s all-teak Mad Men desk that had a backside display shelf.
- Add Great Lighting
Don Draper’s office bursts with refinement, from the clean-lined coffee table to the abstract paintings, but it’s the lighting that was the priciest investment. If you focus on Don’s lights, you’ll find a 1960s brutalist table lamp and a glazed ceramic lamp that cost a whopping $1,000 each.
Not everyone can blow that much on a lamp but lucky for us, we can pick up a simple lamp base and customize it with vintage materials like burlap or silk. You don’t have to stick to table lamps either, why not use mid-century inspired sconces or pendant lamps to complete your office?
- Think Green
When you think about it, no room is complete without a touch of Mother Nature. Like clothes, plants have their place in history such as the Snake Plant that graced the doctor’s office back in the day and the ’90s favorite, bamboo.
To complete your Mad Men office, find plants that thrived in mid-century offices. You should get Spider Plants, potted Rubber Trees, and Fiddle Leaf Figs to channel your Mad Men inspiration and design the perfect office.
- Wall Art and Clocks That Make a Statement
Don’t hold back with your wall art, instead go for the loudest, boldest pieces. Mid-century decor embraced aesthetics and fun, so find wall art impossible to look away from. You can also channel this energy to the area rugs and throw pillows for an inexpensive way to change how your office looks. For example, find a rug that features an exciting pattern to tie the room together.
Another key feature of mid-century design is fun but functional clocks. You don’t have to fork out hundreds for a new clock, instead make over your current clock. For example, add in solid wood sunburst panels or groovy numbers. Funky clocks are often the centerpieces of the room, so hang yours above the desk or sofa.
- Keep It Functional
You may not have much freedom redesigning your corporate office so introduce smaller vintage items like Don’s standing ashtray or a coat tree. For those with more freedom, you should maximize your lounge area. Don’s boxy sofa and armchair are still about as many shops continue to reproduce these designs.
Browse eBay or Craigslist and attend auctions at corporations or universities for great deals. Try not to overload on mid-century though as it may end up looking like a rummage sale instead.
- Maximize the Finer Details
Mad Men is charming because the details aren’t overlooked. Remember the famous Mad Men bar cart? It’s these tasteful pieces of Mad Men furniture that makes the TV show timeless.
Find mid-century accessories like vintage ashtrays (otherwise known as “nut bowls” in antique shops) to add to your desk. If ashtrays aren’t appropriate in your office, then repurpose them as a paper-clip holder or fill it up with wrapped candies.
Also, give your stationery a make-over. You can find staplers with vintage curves in olive green, fountain pens, and tin pencil holders displaying enamel art. For example, Stan Rizzo’s one is embellished with a pinup girl.
- Focus on the Color of the Times
Color has its moments and Mad Men, which was approaching the ’70s, embraced burnt orange, avocados, golds, browns, and earth tones. A great way to do this is by buying a roll of bright, geometrically patterned wallpaper. You don’t have to cover the whole room, instead, frame it and hang it like a picture for a nice mid-century touch.
If you want your office to have a classic look, stick with neutrals and greys. But for the more adventurous, go crazy with mid-century colors to set the right vibe.
Are You Ready to Create Your Mad Men Office?
Redesigning any room is an exciting venture especially when you decide what to put in it. The Mad Men office is inspirational, and there are many ways you can recreate it without breaking the bank. As you search for pieces, think of time-related colors, how to incorporate wood and smaller pieces to bring back the mid-century era.
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