Soft and sophisticated, the modern-style cabin uses the textures and materials of a standard cabin while keeping things classy and well designed.

Rethink your design beliefs. Midcentury modern style is often synonymous with Palm Springs ranches furnished with vibrant-colored pieces and funky décor. But that’s just one niche of MCM—even a cabin nestled in the mountains can reflect the modernism of the mid-20th century. The key to achieving an MCM cabin that does not look tacky against the nature landscape is sleek lines and a neutral, but sharp, color palette. Here’s how to achieve that look.

Monotone Color Palette

Stay away from loud kitschy colors and patterns. A wildcard here or there is fine, but you want neutral colors that will complement a cabin’s mostly wood interior. That doesn’t mean you should look towards beige furniture. Go for bold black and white pieces, like the leather sofa and leisure chairs pictured, that will pop against the flooring and muted walls. The white on plastic or vinyl chairs will especially create a sharper contrast against the walls versus a softer white on a linen chair.

Black and white also serves as the perfect bridge between the two generations separating midcentury enthusiasts and modern minimalists, two groups whose design principles you want to mix for a slightly retro, yet still suave, pad in the woods.

Furry Furnishings

Coziness can be achieved without quilts and overbearing blankets that will remind visitors of their Grandma’s cottage. You want to keep it simple for a true midcentury flare, so place faux fur throws over a few armchairs and a thin imitational animal pelt beneath the console. An abundance of faux animal furs strewn around a room is gimmicky and reminiscent of a hunter’s cabin.

Presuming that your cabin will have a fireplace and/or heater, the space does not actually need that many furry furnishings—it just needs to look like it’s warm enough.

Open Space

One of Midcentury Modern style’s main principles is to create an open space that connects the interior to the exterior (just take a look at renown midcentury designer Rudolph Schindler’s Florida homes). If you’re still in the renovating process of your cabin, remove any walls between the dining area and the living room. Switch out floor lamps for overhead lighting to clear up space, as can be seen above the dining room and kitchen above. The cabin should be one fluid, connected enclosure.

A main reason MCM enthusiasts strive for open spaces is so that their homes open to the nature outside. And in a cabin, you especially want an unobstructed view to the beauty outside.


Continuing from the note above, you need the right windows to have an obstructed view. Walls bordering the outside should basically be windows, a la Raphael Soriano style. Homes that were essentially glass boxes are a tribute to many of the original and progressive midcentury homes. You’re respecting history, and get to have a prettier view of that forest—it’s a win-win.