4 Steps to Getting Don Draper's Apartment


Sadly, 2015 brought the final season of the highly acclaimed Mad Men to our screens and when it went, so did everyone's favorite alpha-male, Don Draper, as well as our favorite décor porn. From Sterling Cooper's offices to the diner, from hotel rooms and family homes to Draper's luscious apartment, we spent half our time scrutinizing the sets!

It was one of the most popular shows of the last few years and we're sure we're not the only ones who are going to miss it. But, with a little effort and know-how, you can invite a little of the Mad Men magic into your home with these four ways to recreate the look of Don Draper's apartment.

One thing to note about Don Draper's apartment is that, although it was chock-full of Mid-century Modern eye-candy, it was also very spacious, with plenty of room to move around in.

While it could be tempting to go out and buy everything you see that looks like it could work, don't overcrowd the room – that will spoil the effect much faster than picking a table lamp from the 70s.

Mid-century décor prized multi-functionality and making the most out of smaller spaces, so unless your living room is big enough to host a party for forty people, stick to a few authentic pieces that create a feel, rather than going for an exact replica.

1. Pick a Room

Unless you're planning to recreate the apartment completely, it's best to focus on one room, so that you get a coherent look and overall effect, rather than just an item here or there.

For our purposes, we're going to focus on the living room and for two reasons: firstly, it's the room your guests are most likely to see, allowing you to show off your Mid-century Modern savoir faire, and secondly, it's the room you're most likely to spend the most time awake in, allowing you to enjoy your new look.

This allowed for a classic Mid-century Modern look to be built around these pieces, letting them be something great to relax on while enjoying the surroundings, rather than being the artistic focus of the room.

2. Large furniture

Large pieces of furniture are going to dominate the room, so choose carefully. One consistent factor of Don Draper's apartment décor was that his sofas were uniform in color, had sleek, clean lines and weren't overly decorative, while being clearly comfortable.

Medium tones of neutral colors, uniform fabric and just a few scatter cushions in various colors to break the lines up. Rather than get a matching set of sofas, consider one good sofa upholstered in fabric and a pair of leather-upholstered single-seat chairs to round out your seating needs.

3. Functional furniture

As we said before, overcrowding is a no-no, but you still need somewhere to put your scotch. A strong coffee table that screams Mid-century Modern will go a long way to cementing your look.

Metal and glass were the order of the day and shaking up lines by using a variety of geometric shapes keeps things interesting, so consider a classic round coffee table balanced out with square end tables, or vice versa.

4. Lighten up

Mid-twentieth century homemakers prized well-lit homes over dingy, dark rooms. This was the Atomic Age, after all, where modern advances in technology were sought after, pursued, as part of the American Dream.

Lighting is also a great way to add an artistic touch to your look. If we look at Draper's apartment, we'll notice that the majority of the illumination comes from downlights, while table lamps and a single accent swag light add to a rounded look.

Depending on the space you have available, a matching pair of table lamps in clean lines and a single highly decorative chandelier, or alternatively a pair of wall sconces can help channel the style of the period.

Done Draper's apartment relied more on space and clean lines than on overt decoration to make its statement, and the art was absolutely minimal, with just a few tasteful, cleanly-framed pictures on the wall, clean, undecorated carpeting and sedate, although well-patterned, curtains serving as finishing touches.

When rounding out your look, remember that simpler is better, and clean lines rule. If you have any doubts, read our article Mid-century Modern Décor for Beginners for inspiration and a brief history of this lasting staple of American décor.

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  • Matthew Pillet
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