I am a hopeless maddict, a fan of the award-winning television show Mad Men. What's not to love?  Stellar acting, fascinating plot lines, poetic dialogue, sexy wardrobes, authentic period details, and oh yeah, the mid-century decor.

Designing a set for television or movies is very much like staging your home to sell. You're creating a backdrop, one that sets the tone and draws in the viewer, just the way home staging draws in a buyer.

What makes MCM work

Most interior design from the '50s and '60s, with some exceptions, is especially suitable for home staging. The furniture design features sleek lines, the fabric patterns highlight handsome geometrics, floor plans accent open spaces, textiles boast both smooth and nubby textures, and accessories emphasize clean shapes.

If your home is a ranch, or if your next home is likely to be a ranch, investing in mid-century furniture makes sense. Originals are still available, and reproductions are common. But furnishings from this period work well with other architectural styles as well.

Best tips

Not every idea from home decor in American mid century design will enhance your home on the market. It's important not to look like your home is stuck in another era. 

So, avoid the tacky, the small, the too-colorful. Look for classic shapes exemplified in the pictures I've chosen. Look for soft colors and soothing shapes. Look for furniture with simple legs and either boxy or organic, amoebic shapes.

Clean lines and interesting textures make MCM a winner.

Say no to ruffled cafe curtains like Betty Draper had in her kitchen. Say no to the deep orange carpeting in the Draper living room. These styles just don't suit staging's low-personality purposes.  Ignore the dark paneling and plaid couches, and go for subtle fabric patterns like those pictured below.

Often MCM colors are bold and contrasting, but for home
staging,more subtle like this is best. Photo: Decoist


Hunt for items like the kind of classy barware you'll find in Don Draper's office -- glass decanters, ice buckets and cocktail glasses.  Maybe you'll find a handsome gooseneck lamp or swing arm desk lamp.

Look for large abstract oil paintings, or make your own by imitating the kind of art popular at the time.  Look for sectional furniture, upholstered chairs, credenzas and cabinets with clean lines. The popular period colors were warm browns, dulled greens, and murky blues, with accents of turquoise, orange, and yellow.

Get the look, get the book 

No matter what type of furniture you're using to stage your home, if you are adding to the mix, add something from the last century.  Because these designs are classic and because people are appreciating their retro appeal right now, your home on the market will look fresh and ever so slightly naughty, just like those Mad Men characters. 

Don't leave here before downloading my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. Whether you are getting ready to sell, already have a home n the market, or are just looking for new ideas to efficiently and economically refresh your home, you will find this 150-page pdf loaded with helpful hints, techniques and professional staging secrets.