When designing a kitchen, many people want to combine the comfort and nostalgia of a quintessential 1950’s kitchen with the convenience and materials of a more modern style. This is why the mid-century modern kitchen has become such a popular choice for homeowners. The possibilities to mix and match are virtually endless, as it combines the best features from both the past and present. Let’s take a look at how these styles and trends have evolved over the years.
A mid-century kitchen is almost immediately recognizable, but it might be hard to explain why this is the case. Even a quick scan of kitchens from the 1950s and 60s will show a great variety of designs and stylistic choices. Nonetheless, most mid-century kitchens share a few key features:
- A long, continuous countertop
- Overhead cabinets
- Geometric tile backsplash
- A kitchen island with barstools
- Laminated countertop/cabinets
- One or two eye-catching colors (turquoise and pink are common)
- Built-in appliances
Most of these features have stood the test of time, and for good reason. They are versatile, offering homeowners a way to express themselves without sacrificing functionality.
Modern styling is difficult to classify with just a few key features, as modern kitchens are often varied and unique to their owners. However, there are a few trends that are common among many contemporary kitchens:
- Stainless steel
- A kitchen island (with or without barstools)
- Ample storage space
- Minimalist design
- Rustic materials
- “Smart” amenities and appliances
By mixing and matching the features of the past and present, homeowners can have the best of both worlds. Now that you have an idea of how mid-century modern style can draw from both old and new, let’s take a look at a few specific materials and designs for your kitchen.
For most kitchen layouts, the countertop should be one of the most prominent features of the entire room. In many kitchens, the countertop serves as the centerpiece, where meals are prepared and/or served. This is why it is so important to pick a material that is both functional and stylish. Here are just a few of the best materials for your mid-century modern kitchen:
Granite countertops are the perfect way to infuse your kitchen with modern style, while also sticking to a budget. Since granite is sturdier than most other materials, you won’t need to worry as much about damaging your countertops while cutting vegetables or mixing ingredients.
If you’re interested in using granite in your kitchen, you can get a quote here.
While marble is generally more expensive than other materials, it is also one of the best ways to add more value to your home. This bright white material immediately draws the eye and is the perfect accent for any mid-century modern kitchen.
For more information on marble countertops or to get a quote, check out this link.
Since it is a non-porous material, quartz does not stain easily and is capable of maintaining the same shine for years after installation. Additionally, quartz pairs well with almost any color scheme, so it is a great choice for people who like to redecorate frequently.
To find out more about quartz countertop pricing and installation, consult this link.
Best Backsplash Design for Mid-Century Modern Kitchens
The backsplash is one of the best places in your kitchen to put your personal tastes and creativity on full display. There are hundreds of designs that mix both old and new, while still allowing you to tweak them with own your personal touch. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular mid-century modern backsplash designs:
Circular Mosaic Tile
Hexagon Mosaic Tile
Best Cabinets for Mid-Century Modern Kitchens
While countertop design is mostly concerned with durability, cabinets are all about spacing. You need to have enough storage space for your appliances and ingredients, but you don’t want to take away from the open space in your kitchen. Additionally, you want to have cabinets that complement the rest of your kitchen, without feeling overbearing. Here are a few mid-century modern cabinet designs to give you inspiration for your next remodel:
Wood Grain Cabinets
Stainless Steel Cabinets
Minimalist Shelving (in place of overhead cabinets)
Best Sinks for Mid-Century Modern Kitchens
When it comes to designing a kitchen, sinks often get overlooked. Generally, people see sinks as a necessity, but they can also be a great opportunity to throw some variation into your kitchen design. Here are a just a few sinks to consider for your dream kitchen:
Stainless Steel Sink
Finding the Right Look for your Kitchen
Just because you want a great-looking kitchen doesn’t mean you need to conform to one particular design. Mid-century modern designs allow for varied layouts that go off the beaten path, while still drawing inspiration from previous generations. Nonetheless, it can sometimes be difficult to envision your dream kitchen when there are so many choices out there. Check out our gallery for some inspiration or shop for more kitchen accessories here!
What the experts say
We asked local interior design professionals to give us their views and advice on how to get the most from these two styles of kitchen.
Sharon Flatley, owner of luxury interior design agency Flatley Design
The characteristics of a mid-century modern kitchen would be very clean, straight lines, wide expanses of glass inviting the outdoors into the space with a very strong connection to nature. Also an emphasis on spaces designed for use by everyone….”form follows function” came about during the popularity of Mid Century modern homes. Biophyllic design, which is a fairly recent development, can trace it’s roots back to Mid Century modern architecture; embracing organic forms and in tune to the colors of nature and light-filled spaces.
Appropriate use of countertops would include everything from granites, quartzite, marbles and engineered stone. Colors in Mid Century moderns started out as earthy but evolved to include bright pops of color in the ’60s but neutrals work equally well and are more timeless. With all of the beautiful choices in natural stone, it would not be difficult to find the perfect choice to update a classic mid-century modern home.
Jody Clarke, professional designer and owner of Jodell Clarke Designs
A modern kitchen in today’s home can be every bit as warm and inviting as a traditional kitchen. In fact, in my own new home, I chose a very modern style that is in complete contrast to all of my antiques and ethnic accessories. Clean, dark wood cabinets with gold hardware, creamy white quartz countertops with a geometric white backsplash creates a great counterpoint to the rest of the adjoining family room. Everyone loves it and it’s my favorite space in my home.
Patti Allen, expert designer and owner of Patti Allen Interiors
Granite slabs, while beautiful, are typically multi-colored and multi-patterned, and because they are naturally occurring, very individualized. The Mid-Century Modern and more contemporary design aesthetic often requires a calmer, quieter choice. Quartz can be a perfect countertop choice for this style. Because quartz is manufactured to specific characteristics, it gives clients the ability to have the color they prefer with no pattern, aligning their countertop choice with the simplicity, freshness and cleaner aesthetics of modern/contemporary style.