How to MadMen-ify an Office or Event Space

Creating the perfect Mad Men Space would be difficult, not to mention expensive (the show has over a $25,000 weekly budget for set decorations). If you’re willing to sacrifice a little period authenticity, however,  there are a lot of compromises that you can do to make your space “MadMen-esque” without having to mortgage your kidneys. From the resurgence of cocktails to Banana Republic’s Mad Men Collection, it’s obvious that the show has had a significant influence on contemporary style and culture.

Instead of spending your day at the thrift store or cruising ebay, you may be better off stopping by your local retailer and find something that approximates the Mid-Century Modern Style. Of course, you have to know what you’re looking for. Start a collection of 1960s Sears and Montgomery Ward Catalogs, as well as issues of Better Homes and Gardens. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert on the period in no time. Furthermore, you’ll know what to look for when you make that trip down to your local thrift shop.

The Art of Mad Men

If you really want to go all out, you’ll want to decorate your space with art from the period. If you want a comprehensive look at the kind of artwork that gracing the walls of Sterling Cooper’s offices and the homes of their employees look no further than the Art of MadMen Blog.

While the art in Mad Men isn’t all from the 60s, a good portion of it reflects the minimalst abstract style that was popular then. While it would probably be prohibitively expensive to get original of minimalist art, it should be easy enough to find prints to give your space that extra touch of authenticity. For inspiration, check out this image gallery.

Art pic from: http://papculture.com/2010/08/01/mad-men-op-art-in-roger-sterlings-office/

Sweating the Small Stuff

Of course, it’s not just furniture and art. In order to really make your space evoke the Mad Men period, get old 1960s issues of Life or playboy and set them on the coffee table. In place of a computer or laptop, get yourself an IBM selectric. Also, and this should go without saying, get yourself a nice liquor cabinet and stock it full of gins, whiskeys and vodkas. You don’t have to get these things all at once, but if you’re really intent on bringing the early 1960s back to life, every little bit helps.

Recreating Don Draper’s Office

If price isn’t a concern, it might be fun to go all out and see if you can recreate Don Draper’s office to the letter. This can be a challenge because a lot of the set decorations are, according to the set decorator Amy Wells, very rare thrift shop finds, but this list below should be helpful getting you started. (Note: We couldn’t identify everything precisely, so in some instances we gave our best approximations.

1. Time Life Executive Chair
2. Hvidt/Mølgaard-Nielsen FD 146 Chair
3. Office desk – The wooden paneling and metal desk legs are suggestive of Knoll and Steelcase designs of that era. Your best bet would be to do a eBay search for Knoll/Steelcase and use the category filters to limit your search to the correct period.
4.  Boxy Sofa (A reproduction by Futurama Furniture). Pretty cheap when you consider that the comparable Florence Knoll Two Seater runs for close to $10,000!
5. Lounge Chair/Coffee table from Futurama.
6. Crosley Kettle Classic Desk Phone
7. Underwriter’s Laboratory desk lamps come pretty close, they aren’t as fancy as Draper’s desk lamps but at least they’re period appropriate.
8.The orb-like object near the front left corner of the desk  is actually a roulette cigarette dispenser. While you might be hard pressed to find one of those, ebay certainly has plenty of alternatives. Personally, I think this brass world dispenser might give the roulette ball a run for its money.
9. Painting by Michal Shapiro called Butternut.
10. Find something we missed? Feel free to let us know in the comments and we’ll edit the list!

More Inspiration

Need some more inspiration for MadMen-ifying your space? Check out our Mad Men Pinterest Board and be sure to repin the stuff you like!

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