Picking mid-century modern paint colors usually takes longer than the painting itself. But if you choose the right palette from the start, you can save yourself a lot of grief.
A defined color palette would have been nice back when I repainted my guest room not once but twice to get the color right…
To create your color palette, it helps to look for inspiration in other mid-century modern homes and see how colors look together.
So today I’m sharing eight classic MCM color palettes, from neutral to bold, with the coordinating paint colors. I hope you find something to inspire your home makeover!
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Mid-Century Modern Paint Colors
Neutral Color Palettes
Mid-century modern design is known for bringing the outdoors in with big windows, atriums and natural elements. A neutral, earthy color palette will fit right in.
For the bedroom, try a light taupe or white wall paint, with dark gray and wood tone accents. This modern color palette will create a relaxing atmosphere.
Add a contemplative cat whenever possible.
For the bathroom, aqua blue has always been a popular choice in mid-century homes.
Benjamin Moore’s Robin’s Nest is the perfect neutral shade of aqua. It’s light, airy and not too bold. Pair it with bright white and moody gray details.
Bold MCM Color Palettes
Don’t shy away from bold colors, too. While I prefer to keep my walls fairly neutral, these bold palettes are fun for furniture, art and other accessories.
For starters, why not try an orange couch?
Orange, avocado green and bright yellow were common in mid-century homes, especially in the mod 1960s.
Any of these colors would make for an eye-popping front door, paired with neutrals like white or brown.
My favorite bold mid-century color combo is turquoise and orange.
This guest room uses shades of orange and turquoise with black and white accents. Turquoise works wells with bright orange as well as red orange, like Benjamin Moore’s Tawny Day Lily paint.
Retro Pink Color Palettes
From coral bathrooms to rosy bedrooms, pink was a big deal in the mid-century, and it’s still a showstopper.
Try using pink and mint green for a classic 1950s look. This color palette was just right for my I Love Lucy themed craft room.
Pink also pairs well with pretty hues of blue. For my master bathroom, I painted the walls light pink and taupe, complemented by the aqua blue details in this window valance.
Bonus points if you can throw in some sassy mermaids and mer-kitties.
When it comes to exterior paint, mid-century modern houses typically have a main neutral color—like a shade of gray, brown/beige or white—combined with a pop of color.
Picture a gray split-level with an orange door, or a white Eichler with a yellow door.
Pull from your interior color palette to create a cohesive exterior color combo.
I used Sherwin Williams’ Shagbark solid stain to create a lodge vibe, along with Cooled Blue to tie in with the turquoise accents inside the house.
I’ve also seen beautiful MCM houses painted navy blue or brick red with white trim. Check out the original Eichler paint colors for more mid-century palette ideas.
All the MCM Paint Colors I Use
These are all the paint colors I’m using in my home right now.
Note: The Pratt & Lambert paint colors are no longer available, but I shared similar options in the palette ideas throughout this article.
What I Wish I’d Done Differently…
I love how my exterior paint colors turned out! But for the interior, it would have been easier to stick to a smaller palette.
If I was starting over, I would choose fewer interior colors. And I’d probably stay on the lighter side, with a single light taupe, a single white, and a couple of pastel accent colors.
Then I’d pile on all the bold decor accessories, like orange couches, turquoise bedspreads and pink curtains.
Some trial and error and repainting might be hard to avoid when you’re renovating a mid-century modern home. But I hope you can find the colors that will brighten up your home and create your happy place.