How to Decorate Your Home in Mad Men Style

Glamour Reigns with Tufted Headboard

Glamour Reigns with Tufted Headboard

Like millions, I am obsessed with the AMC television series Mad Men.  Though it is filled with sexism and cigarette smoke, it also oozes a mid-century modern interior design style that can easily be adapted for today’s home interiors.  Here this Columbus, Ohio interior decorator will give you 7 simple steps to bring Mad Men style into your home decor.

For those of you not familiar with the series, it is set in 1960- 1962 New York City and follows the lives of the Sterling Cooper Advertising executives and their families.  The main characters are Don Draper and his ice-queen, blonde wife Betty.  The plot lines are complex and often cruel but the show’s fashions and interiors are inspirational.

If you too would like to experience a dash of Draper in your home decor, here a few tips:

1.  Upholstered Headboard: Though the Draper bed is curvaceous and blue – you can achieve this look with any shaped headboard – as long as it is deeply tufted and tall enough to allow one to sit up and read (not smoke) in bed.  For several interior redesign clients I have found fabulous headboards on Target’s website.

2. Stock the Bar: Though you may not be drinking scotch at 9:30 in the morning like the execs at Sterling Cooper Advertising, your home can capture the cocktail culture with a few pieces of vintage glassware.  Look for highball and lowball glasses rimmed in gold, glass decanters, masculine shakers and an ice bucket.

3. Abstract art: If you want to exude the feeling of power found in the conference room of Sterling Cooper – the secret is to go big or go home.  Opt for just one large piece and anchor close to your sofa – or should I say “Davenport”?

4. Uncluttered, simple furniture: The upholstered pieces on Mad Men are mid-century modern.  The American adaptation of Danish modern is right at home in today’s interiors and can be found at all price points.  Sofas show leg – metal if your modern – have clean track arms and straight backs.  Go for a neutral color and bring in the pops of color with your accent pillows.

5.  Lots of lighting: The seductive scenes of Mad Men have loads of lighting.  Look for porcelain table lamps with large drum shades, wall sconces in shades of gold with fabric shades and gooseneck desk lamps for a retro vibe.  To achieve the loungy feel from their restaurant scenes, try adding one or two small accent lamps with fabric shades to your dining table.

6.  Layered Window Treatments: Whether you’re in Betty’s traditional kitchen or Don’s office, you will find sheer window treatments, under draperies, under cornice boards.  Today’s selection of sheer fabrics offer endless alternatives to the boring ivory polyester of the 60’s but still illuminate a room with a soft glow that  flatters the skintone and offers privacy without the obstruction of blinds.

7.  Trellis Pattern: Like certain hairstyles, fabric and wallpaper prints can transport one back in time.  The geometric trellis pattern – similar to the one on Betty’s chairs in her redesigned living room – is experiencing a revival and can readily be found in local fabric stores and wallpaper books.

I have been so inspired by the glamorous Draper boudoir that I am trading in my Georgian master bedroom for a more transitional one, of course anchored by tufted headboard upholstered in a smokey velvet.  I’ll be sure to post photos as soon as the project is complete.

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