Essential Tips For A Mid-Century Modern Inspired Patio Upgrade

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If you're in a mid-century home, make the most of it! Don't just keep the retro decor indoors, though. This summer, using earthy colors and minimalist design, you can turn your patio into a mid-century masterpiece. 

When it comes to mid-century modern home architecture, two of the biggest elements are open spaces and being one with the outside world. A patio naturally has those down, so you're already halfway there. It also doesn't hurt that mid-century modern furniture is usually crafted out of outdoor-friendly materials. Per National Design Academy, substances like plastic were synonymous with the era, which means that you can fill your patio with durable pieces, all while staying true to the style. 

The really great thing about mid-century modern home decor, though, is that you don't need too much of it. Simplicity is the name of the game, so once you have the basics, you really want to avoid putting much else into the space. Great for anyone trying to kick a habit of hoarding, a little easier on the pocket, and totally true to form. With that said, let's get into the ways you can transport your patio back in time. 

Pick nature-inspired colors for your patio

First, think about the colors you'd like to use in the space. In the 1975 book, "In the Cause of Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright: Essays," the famed mid-century modern architect was quoted as saying, "Go to the woods and fields for color schemes." In particular, he recommended using warm hues inspired by the fall, as he found that they brought hope into a space. It's not exactly surprising, then, that most throwback pictures of mid-century homes feature similar color palettes.

Of course, that doesn't mean you need to drench your patio in autumnal shades, or any hue, for that matter. However, to get a really authentically mid-century feel, it's worth bringing nature-inspired shades into the space in creative ways, using colorful chairs, or a statement table in a bright yellow or red. Bold furniture a bit much for you? You could also bring the colors in more subtly, with easily swappable soft finishings. 

Try hanging pool towels that coordinate with the cushions on your outdoor furniture. Amazon stocks fun beach towels featuring four petal flowers in turquoise, with small olive green details that could be tied in elsewhere in your retro outdoor space. One option could be to play up the olive green by using waterproof cushion covers in the same hue. You can get a set of two of these covers on Amazon, starting at $11.99. They offer a variety of colors, though, so play around with what you like best.

Opt for retro seating

Once you have a color scheme down, you can start thinking about seating. For those who love the idea of bringing color into the space in bold ways, picking out a retro chair and table set in a shade of green or yellow is a fun way to bring an old-school feel to the aesthetic. Snag a set for under $140 on Amazon for something both theme-appropriate and weatherproof. 

Having said that, the great thing about mid-century modern's focus on nature is that neutral pieces work just as well. Opt for a set of sleek, leather-look chairs ($139.99 at Walmart) for something weather-resistant. They're a great way to commit to the overall decor theme without going overboard. Plus, if you move to a non-mid-century home at some point, they won't stick out. 

One thing that's definitely worth bringing into your patio, whether colorful or not, is playful seating — another element that mid-century modern decor is famed for. That could come in the form of a hammock ($206 at Walmart for a chic wooden-framed option), sleek deck chairs (under $104 at Amazon), or an Acapulco set (less than $90 on Amazon). For lower prices, take a look at local estate sales. You could even turn antiques like clawfoot baths into stunning patio pieces for a style straight out of the 60s. The bottom line: keep things sleek, but don't be afraid to have fun with it. 

Keep the space relatively minimal

Speaking of keeping things sleek, it's worth reiterating that when it comes to mid-century modern design, minimalism is key. For that reason, avoid trying to jam a ton of knick-knacks into the space, and opt instead for as clean a setting as possible. 

Of course, that doesn't have to mean keeping the space completely sparse. For starters, the fact that mid-century modern prioritizes a connection to the outside world means houseplants are the perfect add-on. Just be sure to check that the plants you pick can withstand sunny balconies and patios. 

Other than the greenery, to keep things as authentically mid-century as possible, be sure to keep the patio clear of clutter — and you can do so in creative ways. Walmart stocks moisture-resistant mid-century modern cabinets for just $63.99. Just be sure to keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid tarnishing. Alternatively, go for something completely weather-resistant with a brightly colored, plastic storage ottoman. These cost just $40.14 at Walmart, and if you use a small bag or liner in a neutral color inside them, they should hide your things pretty well. If you're a true minimalist and don't love the look of storage pieces, regular tidying is all you need. Just like that, your patio is ready for summer 2024 — but anyone would be forgiven for thinking it came straight out of the mid-century.