Mid-Century Modern Kitchens: 12 Key Design Elements

It's no secret that mid-century modern style has been enjoying a huge revival. It’s a design era that dates back to the 1940s, 50s and 60s and features simple, clean lines and organic shapes. Kitchens that adopt this style showcase simplicity, functionality, and a nod to the iconic Scandinavian designers of that time. The modern mid-century kitchen marries original design elements with all the mod-cons we’ve come to expect in a kitchen today.

1. Wood cabinetry

Wood was popular in mid-century design due to its rustic simplicity. Wood veneers, as in this kitchen, are now becoming popular. They are a more affordable option than solid wood and there is an enormous variety of wood species and color from which to choose.

2. Glass cabinetry

Mid-century design often featured glass-fronted cabinetry, which is a great way to display your collectibles. This design has glass on both sides, enabling the pieces to be viewed from both the kitchen and living area.

3. Exposed brickwork

Mid-century kitchen design goes beyond cabinetry – look to the walls of your home for inspiration. Are there bricks underneath the plaster that can be exposed? Brick or stone cladding can also be added to a wall to give texture and another dimension. Here, the exposed brickwork makes a real statement, along with the mid-century chairs, lighting and splashback.

4. Architectural flow

Mid-century design featured architectural elements such as sloping ceilings, wood panelling and large windows. If these features are already present, installing a kitchen that reflects this era will increase the home’s cohesion and flow.

5. Bold backsplash

A feature backsplash is a good way to incorporate mid-century style into a kitchen design. Bright colors and organic shapes suit this theme. These are Dimensional Oval tiles by Heath Ceramics, and are reminiscent of mid-century pottery.

6. Whimsical wallpaper

The wallpaper in the dining zone of this kitchen features mid-century lighting, including the Artichoke pendant light by Lois Poulsen. This fun and whimsical wallpaper is Harlequin Illuminate, available in a range of colors.

7. Functional furniture

Bar stools are another way to incorporate mid-century style, and there are many choices on the market by original Scandinavian designers. These are Bertoia bar stools, a functional and practical option.

8. Eat-in dining area

If your kitchen includes a dining area, such as this one, carry the mid-century style through to the dining table, chairs and lighting. This is the Eero Saarinen Tulip dining table, Eames DAW dining chairs and Kartell light.

9. Statement lighting

Lighting is an important consideration in kitchen design because it determines the feel, functionality and style of a space. These George Nelson Bubble lights add to the mid-century vibe in this kitchen.

10. Mint green

Consider your color choices when adopting mid-century style. Mint green, for example, was a popular color, and in this kitchen the cool of the mint-green island contrasts nicely with the bright orange front door.

11. Burnt orange

Orange was also a popular mid-century color – this kitchen includes splashes of orange in the Panton dining chairs and glass splashback.

12. Cool accessories

Don’t forget some gorgeous accessories. This vintage copper Krestline Speco storage unit - including bread box - adds both sparkle and genuine period style to the countertop.


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