Welcome to the Mid Century Modern Kitchen [Design Interior Guide] (2024)

Function + Style

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Form w/ Function

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In crafting a mid-century modern kitchen, the mantra of ‘form follows function’ guides every design decision. This often results in open-plan spaces, flush construction, and uncomplicated, geometric forms. Cabinetry is typically sleek, without ornate details, often featuring flat-panel doors with simple hardware or no hardware at all.

The Materials

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Mid-century modern kitchens employ a range of materials such as wood, metal, and glass, with a particular emphasis on showcasing their natural beauty. The rich grain of teak, walnut, or rosewood is celebrated through careful craftsmanship. Countertops in this style opt for sleek and non-fussy materials, like Formica or polished concrete, that offer a clean and uncluttered look.


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While the color palette of mid-century design is expansive, it’s known for its expertly balanced mix of neutral tones and bursts of color. Subdued hues might dominate the space, with pops of deep oranges, vibrant yellows, or tranquil blues creating visual focal points. Backsplashes or countertop accessories can provide these splashes of color against a more understated background.


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Keeping with the mid-century modern theme, appliances often have a retro design but are equipped with the latest technology. Iconic features like rounded edges and analog knobs paired with contemporary performance standards are a hallmark of this style. Integrated appliances that meld into the cabinetry contribute to the clean, unbroken lines cherished in mid-century modern design.


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The mid-century mod kitchen often incorporates seating that is not only comfortable but also sculptural in form. Iconic chairs, such as the Eames Eiffel or the Saarinen Tulip, make a statement around a sleek dining table, serving as functional art. These pieces are a nod to the pioneering designers of the era who saw household items as an opportunity for beauty and innovation.


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Lighting fixtures in the mid-century modern kitchen are more than mere utilities—they reflect the design trend’s love for unique, statement-making shapes. Sputnik chandeliers or pendants with globular or geometric shades, often in metals or colorful glass, hang above dining areas or kitchen islands as shining examples of the period’s groundbreaking design philosophy.

Windows and Walls

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Oversized windows and sliding glass doors are significant elements, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces and flooding the kitchen with natural light. Wall decor stays true to the mid-century ethos, with abstract artwork or prints of notable period designs complementing the room’s aesthetic.


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Ground the mid-century modern kitchen with flooring that echoes the clean, simple lines of the design. Polished concrete, terrazzo, or vinyl tiles arranged in patterns or plain bold colors provide a base that reflects the era’s unpretentious elegance.


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Open shelving or neatly arranged upper cabinets keep items accessible and contribute to the airy, open feel of a mid-century modern kitchen. Glass-fronted doors or small, clever storage solutions maintain cleanliness and order, ensuring that every object has its place.

Transition and Continuity

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The mid-century modern kitchen is a warm heart to the home that pays homage to the past with its eyes on the future. It’s a place where each meal is a celebration of simplicity and where the space itself is interactive artwork.

Personal Touches for Mid Century Modern Style

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To give a space its soul, personal mementos that reflect a love for mid-century design should find their home within the kitchen. A vintage clock, a classic radio, or a collection of mid-century ceramics are perfect inclusions to add a touch of individuality to the kitchen.

Transitioning to a mid-century modern aesthetic doesn’t necessarily require a full kitchen remodel. For example, maybe you already have a kitchen that follows the design philosophy for a Scandinavian or transitional kitchen, it’s possible to make subtle yet impactful changes. Simple swaps like replacing chairs with mid-century models, such as the Eames or Saarinen chairs, or introducing a vintage-inspired Sputnik chandelier can instantly evoke the era’s vibe. Updating hardware on cabinets with sleek, understated designs or adding a pop of color with a vibrant backsplash can infuse mid-century modern charm. Such strategic updates allow for a seamless blend of styles, imbuing your kitchen with mid-century flair while preserving your home’s existing character.

Other common elements found in a Mid Century Modern kitchen included, but are not limited to; Floating shelves offer a clean and spacious vista while serving as display space for mid-century dinnerware. Bar stools at a kitchen island, with organic curves and tapered legs, hark back to the design era’s affinity for form meeting function. Minimalist drawer pulls and cabinet handles, often in brass or brushed metal, exemplify the period’s sleek look. Even small appliances, like toasters or mixers, can contribute to the ambiance with their vintage lines and modern capabilities. Among the most iconic elements is the boomerang or kidney-shaped form, which may influence the kitchen’s table design, countertop edging, or even pattern choices for the floor or walls.

Incorporating a few of these timeless designs can effortlessly transport your space to the celebrated mid-century modern era.

Welcome to the Mid Century Modern Kitchen [Design Interior Guide] (2024)


How to design a mid-century modern kitchen? ›

Contrasting shapes throughout the space are a key component to a mid-century modern kitchen. To achieve this look, blend curved light fixtures with angular furniture, or rounded appliances with a sharp faucet or countertop.

How do you blend modern and mid-century modern? ›

Mid-century Modern vs Contemporary Design: How to Mix these...
  1. Muted tones or vibrant colors (avoid the in-between)
  2. Clean furniture lines.
  3. A mix of both natural and manmade materials. ...
  4. Geometric shapes or lines.
  5. Mixing indoor and outdoor themes (for example, a chaise lounge in the living room)

How to make your furniture look mid-century modern? ›

To affordably achieve a mid-century modern look, swap out furniture legs with hairpin or peg ones. Shop for reproductions of mid-century pieces at more affordable retailers like Ikea and Target. Use small accents like pillows, blankets, lights, and clocks to get the look.

What kind of cabinets are mid century modern? ›

Consider Red Oak, Cherry, Rustic Hickory, or Quarter-Sawn White Oak materials. Mid-Century Modern kitchen cabinetry will commonly have an artistic contrast of color typically featuring two tones of cabinet finishes throughout the design.

What is the difference between mid century and mid century modern interior design? ›

There are some distinctions between the two, though: Mid-century modern furniture refers especially to furniture designs that are contemporary and utilitarian, with clean lines and basic shapes. Mid-century furniture often refers to furniture pieces that were developed and produced during the mid-20th century.

What does mid century modern interior design look like? ›

Mid-century design is an uncluttered style that combines clean lines, gentle and organic curves, and a poppy and fun color palette. It has a “form follows function” approach—aka, functionality is key when it comes to furniture and layout.

What style mixes well with mid-century modern? ›

Two of those unexpected styles that look amazing together are rustic and midcentury modern. It turns out that a room covered in reclaimed wood looks just right when it also has Sputnik chandeliers and a Jonathan Adler couch. Bringing these two styles together makes it unique and unlike other rooms out there.

Can you mix modern with mid-century modern? ›

By mixing some mid-century modern pieces into the design, modern interiors can stop being so stuffy, and start feeling like fun again. Now, I hear what you're thinking, “Mid-century modern and modern are not the same thing.” You're absolutely right.

What to pair with mid-century modern? ›

Midcentury Mix

Perk up midcentury modern design by blending the minimalist style with lively accessories. Here, colorful patterned pillows update a sleek midcentury sofa, while deep teal walls introduce bold color. A blue geometric rug anchors the oval-shaped, retro-inspired coffee table.

What color is most mid-century modern furniture? ›

White, gray, dark, and olive greens, browns, deep browns, and muted, mustard yellows and oranges are often featured in midcentury modern designs as well as natural wood tones.

What are the best colors for mid-century modern furniture? ›

The best colours for mid-century modern houses are earthy and bold. If you're decorating with a mid-century modern theme, choose warm tones of beige, orange, ochre yellow, mustard and brown. Combine these with a mix of punchy, playful colours like teal, burgundy red, mustard yellow and moss green.

Can I mix mid-century modern with traditional? ›

Yes, you can absolutely mix modern and traditional furniture to create a unique and interesting interior design. In fact, blending different styles and eras of furniture is a popular trend in interior design known as "eclectic" style.

What color cabinets in mid-century modern? ›

Popular painted cabinet colors in the midcentury would have been pale blue, green and yellow. These cabinets are best accented by a muted backsplash and wood floors in order to keep the design unique rather than overdone.

What color wood is mid-century modern? ›

Teak. According to Livingetc, one of the most common wood types used in mid-century designs is teak which is a dark, durable, and high-quality material. It pairs well with bold colors like red, yellow, and orange, and its sturdy nature lends well to stately desks, tables, and storage cabinets.

What wood is most mid-century modern? ›

Oak is widely used in mid-century modern furniture and is still hugely popular today. One thing you can be certain of when you buy oak furniture is that it'll be in your family for generations so long as you give it the right care. There are two varieties of oak, namely red and white.

What does a mid-century kitchen look like? ›

What Is a Midcentury Modern Kitchen? Kitchen designs circa 1950s and 1960s were all about light-colored walls, pastel design accents, flat paneled cabinets, and appliances with rounded corners and shiny metal handles.

What makes a dining table mid century modern? ›

Mid-Century Modern furniture is characterized by its clean lines, gentle curves, and organic shapes. This style originated mid-20th century, hence its name but thanks to its elegant simplicity and timeless aesthetic, Mid-Century Modern MCM furniture is still highly popular in contemporary interior design.

What is the mid century modern design style? ›

The MCM design aesthetic is modern in style and construction, aligned with the Modernist movement of the period. It is typically characterized by clean, simple lines and honest use of materials, and generally does not include decorative embellishments.

What do mid century cabinets look like? ›

Mid-century modern kitchen cabinets are characterized by their clean lines, lack of unnecessary details, and use of real wood. This results in a sleek and timeless look that will never go out of style. In addition, the use of natural materials ensures that your kitchen will be warm and inviting.


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