From geometric tiles and graphic prints to metallic pendant lights and retro appliances, mid-century modern design manages to combine contemporary flair and functionality with vintage charm and comfort. With its simplicity, clean lines, and focus on convenience, this kitchen style is ideal for heavily used spaces, and its blend of old and new style elements give it a timeless feel.
Here are 10 essential elements to include in any mid-century modern kitchen makeover.
1. Flat-Front Cabinets
While raised-panel and shaker-style cabinets may be perfect for farmhouse and traditional kitchens, mid-century modern designs almost always call for flat-front (or “slab”) cabinets. Their sleek, uniform appearance gives them a contemporary look and feel and allows the other elements in the room to shine. Because of their simplicity, they’re often paired with bold, metallic hardware.
2. Patterned tiles
Mid-century modern design is known for its clean lines and minimalist details, but this contemporary sleekness is juxtaposed with fun and playful elements like bold pops of color, retro accents, graphic prints, and geometric patterns.
3. Wood Grain
Natural elements became extremely popular during the 1950s. Wood was used on just about every surface, from floors and ceilings to walls and cabinets — and this trend continued into the late 70s. Wood grain slab cabinets have made a major comeback in recent years and are featured front and center in many mid-century modern kitchens.
4. Clean Lines
Boxy islands, integrated appliances, and sleek flat-front cabinets. Nothing says mid-century modern like clean lines and minimal fuss.
Mid-century modern style prioritizes functionality, so it’s generally characterized by open, uncluttered spaces that are designed to actually be used in addition to just looking good.
5. Pops of Color
Bright, bold pops of color are essential elements in any mid-century modern kitchen. If you’re feeling brave, consider neon cabinets or pastel appliances. If that’s not your style, you can still incorporate pops of color in more understated ways. Paint an accent wall, choose a neon backsplash, or opt for something that’s easy to change if you decide you don’t like it — like stools or a set of kitchen towels.
6. Open Shelving
Incorporating open shelving into your mid-century modern kitchen instantly opens up the space, making the ceilings feel taller and the entire room appear lighter and brighter.
Floating shelves in particular look contemporary, yet welcoming, and can create a pleasing contrast with the boxy cabinets and other minimalist elements often found in mid-century modern kitchens.
7. Breakfast Nooks
Before World War II, kitchens were small, closed-off rooms that were designed for one purpose: preparing food. Meals were enjoyed in a separate dining room and kitchens weren’t viewed as gathering spaces. It wasn’t until the 1950s that the concept of an “eat-in kitchen” emerged.
Nowadays, nearly all kitchens have an eating nook, a kitchen table, or an island with seating. A cozy little breakfast nook, nestled under a window in the corner of your kitchen is a great way to incorporate a bit of retro charm into your space, while also offering you a convenient and adorable spot to enjoy your morning coffee or a bite to eat.
8. Pendant Lighting
In keeping with the classic mid-century modern trend of juxtaposing sleek lines and contemporary features with playful, colorful elements, pendant lighting can add character and eye-catching flair to an otherwise sleek, but sterile kitchen.
9. Integrated Appliances
From stacked wall ovens and built-in microwaves to fridges hidden behind uniform walls of flat-front cabinets, integrated appliances can help you achieve that clean, streamlined aesthetic that’s so characteristic of mid-century modern design.
Integrated appliances can also be a great option for small or awkwardly-shaped kitchen layouts since they can be placed in unique or unconventional locations.
10. Graphic Prints
Nothing says retro like bold, graphic prints. Even in small doses, graphic prints are eye-catching and can change the entire aesthetic of a room. Whether you choose to incorporate them through patterned wallpaper, a tile backsplash, canvas wall art, or dining-chair upholstery, graphic prints are a great way to bring mid-century charm into any kitchen.
Interested in incorporating these elements into your mid-century modern kitchen makeover?
Whether you want to makeover your entire kitchen to embody the sleek retro aesthetic of a mid-century modern kitchen, or you just love the idea of incorporating some of the design elements featured here, we have the skills and design know-how to help you realize your vision of the perfect kitchen space. At L. Evans Design Group, we offer unique, intelligent design solutions, tailored to your preferences, needs, and lifestyle.
We would love to discuss your project with you. Whether you have questions about our kitchen remodeling services or are ready to set up a consultation, we’re here to help! Give us a call at (971) 404-1241 or contact us online today to get started.