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Every room has a focal point. In the living room, sectionals often occupy that spot. Why? Well, for one thing, their imposing size gets noticed. Also, a comfortable place to sit naturally attracts guests toward it. What all of this means is that your sectional’s style has a profound impact on the way people see the rest of your room’s design. If you want to give your room a new look or build one from scratch, starting with the sectional is a terrific idea.

Chances are you’ve heard the popular terms mid-century or mid-century modern tossed around in design circles or that a gorgeous layout you saw in photos or on TV contained elements of this dynamic style.

Mid-century modern refers to furniture created around the 1950s. It’s easy to identify furniture from this time period because of its emphasis on simple lines, functionality and interesting geometric shapes. Pouf ottomans are a superb example of simplicity mixed with comfort and art.

Mid-century sectionals express this laid-back vibe with clean lines and a comfy profile. Ample back cushions allow for maximum relaxation. Instead of complicated or ornate details, the focus is on striking layouts. Large furniture like sectionals accentuates right-angles, whereas smaller pieces might play around with orb shapes or graceful curves. If this is your favorite style, it makes decorating very exciting, almost identical to creating a work of art.

A big part of the 1950s and early 1960s had to do with vibrant colors and using lots of different elements like leather, wood, metal, glass and even man-made materials. Don’t be afraid to do the same in your living room as pendant lights, metallic floor lamps, sleek console tables and the odd leather chair all work well together. When it comes to adding strong pops of color, things like throw blankets, vases and other home accents are really helpful.

At west elm, we believe that, like any artist, your creation is your own. In other words, it’s OK to be inspired by mid-century modern design, industrial styles and even Japanese influences, and then combine parts of them all in a signature fusion style. You don’t have to be limited to one time period only. Instead, your living room is your canvas. Sectionals with removable backrests, for example, go from mid-century to minimalist in a heartbeat. Sofa pillows also make it easy to include exotic patterns and 1950s-inspired textures in your design vision.

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