Trends in Mid-Century Modern Kitchens

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.

Mid-Century Style

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 Style

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.

Countertop Materials

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:

Brick Tile

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:

Retro Cabinets

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:

Undermount Sink

Apron Sink

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 design professionals to give us their views and advice on how to get the most from these two styles of kitchen.

Mayan Metzler, CEO of  German Kitchen Center

Of course modern style kitchens are a style which is usually associated with cleaner lines and more specifically flat/ slab doors and quite often no handles (handle less kitchens). However, modern is actually not only a style, but also means more advanced in terms of technology. Some examples of modern kitchens which are made in more advanced factories in Europe are electronic components like built-in lighting, electric opening cabinets and drawers, higher level hinges, drawer glides interior hardware and organizer accessories.

Sharon Flatley, designer and 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.

Juliana Oliveira, designer and owner of Beyond Interior Design agency 

Modern kitchens have a very clean aesthetic, think “less is more” less detail, less trim, simple to no hardware, clean backsplash (go with countertop material wrapping up on to the backsplash instead of small tile with lots of breaks or grout in between). Midcentury modern, however, is a bit more playful- still go with the same key elements of a modern kitchen (flat panel or frameless kitchen cabinets, fewer details) but go for one big pop- maybe one colored appliance, or a patterned backsplash or an atomic looking quintessential. Not sure about going all out on such bold accents? You can’t go wrong with a walnut cabinet solid countertop and matte brass details.

Patti Allen, 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.

Kim Armstrong, designer and owner of Kim Armstrong Interior Design

Countertop materials commonly used in these kitchens are typically very simple. So if you are unsure I would stick with a fairly solid Man made quartz product.  Safe colors being in the whites, grays or black. Although you could pull off a midcentury look with a Calcutta stone, with its simple white base color and soft veining.  Another option would be a honed Absolute Black granite. Keep the Edge profile simple with a mid-century kitchen and go with a flat polish edge detail.

Cristie Schlosser R.I.D and A.S.I.D, designer and owner of SDG|Schlosser Design Group

Form follows function is the staple characteristic of Mid-Century Modern design. Simplicity at it’s best. With that being said, woods were warm and natural showing the grain as in vertical plain sewn Teak and White Oak, or book matched vertical grains. Pairing these looks with honed soapstone or Quartz is ideal. Single color back-splashes allow the natural and semi-natural materials to take center stage.

Related articles

Why Faux Marble is a Material Best Avoided

Many Dallas homeowners are partial to the pristinely elegant appearance that natural marble affords, with its classic beauty and a timeless feel that elevates just about any interior. However, due to the periodic re-sealing it…

Click to call us