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7 Tips for A Mid Century Modern Kitchen

It is no secret that the 1950s and 60s produced some of the best design.

Technology enabled designers to experiment like never before. The result? Some of the most uniquely interesting design techniques the world has ever seen.

Today, designers often incorporate midcentury modern elements into homes in order to give them a quirky and elegant spin.

When included in the kitchen, mid century modern themes provide a sense of organization, style & personality.

We will show you the tips and tricks to transform your space. Working with a network of design professionals, this article walks you through the process for transforming your kitchen.

By John Linden

Interior design, furniture design, lover of all things chic in home decor.

Before You Remodel, Some Food for Thought

For over 50 years, mid century modern design has been a popular and reliable choice for home decorators. Like all things related to design, however, its important to remember that styles and tastes change over time.

Alex Roth of Roth Architecture explains that

“…always remember is that while the design movement has had longevity and is still popular, too much of it can outdate a contemporary home very quickly.

When people over do the vibe it can result in a decrease in the resale value for the owners. This is incredibly important when it comes to kitchens as it is one of the most important rooms for a buyer.”

This is an important point. Remember, one day you may want to sell your home, so err on the side on subtlety to avoid narrowing that pool of buyers too much.

 Mid Century Modern Kitchen

Mid Century Modern Kitchen

Tip #1 – Open Floor Plans

Mid century modern design is about efficiency. As a result, many of its practitioners took to tearing down unnecessary walls in order to maximize the amount of space in a room.

As a result, mid century modern is a perfect design style for those with small apartments. It often allows its users to have a high-quality kitchen and dining area without sacrificing space.

Also, you may want to consider the benefits of tearing down the walls that divide your kitchen from the rooms around it.

Walls take up space and create visual barriers, so less is certainly more when it comes to space and open area.

We know tearing down walls can be an expensive proposition, so a more economical idea is to remove all visual clutter — including excess furniture, bookshelves, and other visual obstructions from your space.

Open shelving in Modern Kitchen

Kitchen with Open Shelving from Freedom Kitchens – www.freedomkitchens.com.au

Tip #2 – Open Shelving

Felicity Page from www.freedomkitchens.com.au provides some insight,

“Mid century modern vibes can be created with a minimalistic open
space concept: tall ceilings, some wall cabinets and use of open
shelving making the space feel larger.”

In other words, do away with the stores and opt for opening shelves.

 Modern Kitchen with warm wood tones

Warm Wood Kitchen

Tip #3 – Wood Veneer

Alex Roth from Roth.com.au explains,

“Use veneer or woods to highlight certain aspects of the kitchen, this can be done on your joinery, island benches etc and will pay homage to the veneer and timber furniture that the movement is so well known for.”

In any case, finding wood elements for your kitchen is a trusted way to give your space color, depth, and a mid century fee

 Modern kitchen

Accessories in MCM Kitchen

Tip #4 – Take Time to Find the Perfect Elements

A perfect midcentury modern kitchen doesn’t come together overnight.

You could go out and buy a midcentury-inspired set, but it won’t have that authentic vintage feeling you’re looking for.

Plus, part of the fun comes with searching through thrift stores and antique shops for the perfect elements.

When you decide that you want to decorate your kitchen in the midcentury style, just keep in mind that it may take a while for it to feel “complete”.

Start by picking out some wallpaper or paint, building some space-efficient cabinets and finding a table that fits the aesthetic you’re looking for.

“Visit secondhand furniture stores—do your research and pinpoint the mid-century look,” writes the Buchanan Group, an Australian design firm, “Focus on finding a key feature piece and build the remaining pieces from that.”

The firm also gives some advice on picking out kitchen furniture. “Think tapered timber legs, plastic moulded chairs, and rich, red-toned timbers,” they say.

Once you’re able to use large pieces of furniture as a framework for your kitchen, everything else will fall into place.

You’ll be able to build a nice collection of mid-century dishes, appliances, and adornments over time.

 Mid century Modern kitchen

Natural Material in Mid Century Kitch

Tip #5 – Wood & Other Natural Materials

Perhaps the best known tenet of mid century design is to use natural materials.

All the experts we talked with for this article mentioned this point. It’s a simple and timeless way to give your space a mid century vibe.

Gideon Lipnickas, President of New Concept 180

“Mid century kitchen is unimaginable without quality wood elements. So don’t be afraid to bring the real wood back. High-quality furnishings of the 50’s will create a unique feel to your kitchen.”

Tennille Joy of Tennille Joy Interiors explains,

“Mid-tone to dark timber creates warmth and depth. To avoid too many heavy tones, lift the cabinetry off the floor with open legs or keep the dark timber for the island bench and floating shelving only”

While Alex Roth of Roth Architecture mentioned

“Use veneer or woods to highlight certain aspects of the kitchen, this can be done on your joinery, island benches etc and will pay homage to the veneer and timber furniture that the movement is so well known for.”

In any case, finding wood elements for your kitchen is a trusted way to give your space color, depth, and a mid century feel.

Tip #6 – Retro Lighting Fixtures

Tennille Joy Interiors gave a great tip,

“Mid-Century lighting designs have really made a comeback. There are endless options to explore. An armed pendant light is eye catching over an island bench, especially if this is also the dining bench. Experiment with wall sconces for other task lighting.”

Below are some of our favorite lighting outlets

Favorite Mid Century Lighting

Staggered Glass Canhdelier
Staggered Glass Canhdelier
Vintage Industrial Glass
Vintage Industrial Glass
Sputnik Style Chandelier
Sputnik Style Chandelier

Product Recommendations by The Most Chic

 Mid Century Modern Tile Backsplash

Fire Clay Tile Backsplash

Tip #7 – Contrast Fun Colors

Last, Jane Wilson from modernhousewives.com.au explains how color can make all the difference,

“[use]…bright colours like turquoise, golden yellow or orange in walls or
furniture. The best combination is white walls with bright coloured
furniture, or the opposite – white furniture and coloured walls. The
contrast will work miracles for the interior.”

The MidCentury Kitchen Check List

Felicity Page from Freedom Kitchens summed it up nicely.

– Incorporate warm timber finishes
– Use patterned tiles for the splashback
– Try shades of green or orange for a mid century palette
– Work in fun and quirky retro/vintage accessories