Whether you’re planning a full-scale renovation, or just want to spruce up your style, there are lots of ways to transform your space into a mid century modern kitchen. Here, we’ll give you 12 ideas on how to get the job done.
Mid century modern homes and designs are extremely popular, and retro touches in the kitchen are the perfect way to bring the concept to life.
Whether you’re thinking about complete renovation, or if you’re looking to make some effective and inexpensive changes to your space, you can add that retro style to your kitchen.
Although a large remodeling project can be tricky thanks to design features like small, galley-style spaces and outdated fixtures, materials, and finishes, there are lots of tricks you can incorporate to build out a mid-century modern kitchen that’s both functional and beautiful.
In this article, we’ll give you tips on how to create a mid century modern kitchen and bring a retro feel to the space without compromising on style or efficiency in the most-used place in your home.
What is Mid Century Modern Design?
Mid Century Modern is used to describe the style, furniture, architecture, and graphic design that was popular from the 1940’s to the 1960’s.
It features simple lines and structure, and favors things like geometric shapes and functional furnishings. You’ll also see a lot of bright, eye-catching color like pale greens, bright pinks, deep oranges, yellows, and turquoise.
When it comes to textures, the style uses a lot of wood, especially in deep, rich colors, and materials like tweed to add depth and warmth to the spaces.
Today’s homeowners are drawn to the style and concepts because it’s easy to do renovations that bring in some of these retro elements without needing to sacrifice functionality or completely gut the space to get amazing results.
Here are 12 tips on how to transform your space to give you an updated take on this classic style trend.
How to Create a Mid Century Modern Kitchen
If you live in a home with a mid century modern floor plan, then you likely already have a small space to refresh. Whether you’re starting from scratch or updating your existing space, these tips will give you the retro kitchen vibe you desire.
Update Your Flooring
In a traditional mid century modern kitchen, vinyl or linoleum was the material of choice for flooring. Although it’s extremely affordable, it’s also outdated and comes with some significant drawbacks.
Rather than using one of these traditional materials, opt instead for one that captures the vibe of mid century modern design, but that also boasts durability and quality.
One popular and trendy option is to install polished concrete floors. They are easy to care for, provide excellent insulation which can lower your heating and cooling costs, and they’re virtually indestructible.
You can opt to stain them a natural shade, or pull in colors like blue stone, terrazzo, or slate to give it a truly retro vibe.
Alternately, designers love the new ceramic tile choices that are fabricated to look like wood. They give you the versatility you’ll need in a kitchen but add a beautiful aesthetic that will complement the clean lines and bold colors in the rest of the space.
Pay Attention to Countertop Lines and Materials
Nowadays it seems like everyone wants granite or marble countertops, but they don’t exactly fit a mid century modern vibe. If you’re searching for an option that fits your kitchen design, you’ll want to choose one that has both the look and feel that matches the period.
Remember, this style is all about minimalism, so choose countertops that are simple, thin, and have square edges. Talk with your supplier to ensure that the material you like has options that meet these specifications.
Speaking of materials, modern options like concrete or quartz are popular because they incorporate the feel of a retro design but the functionality and durability of today’s products.
Alternately, you could search for a solid colored Corian countertop to give you a genuine look and feel that matches the time period perfectly.
Create Texture with Your Backsplash
Flashy, mirrored, or shiny tiles are at odds with a mid century modern kitchen. Rather, the style calls for clean lines and beautiful textures that will bring interest to the space.
Strip out tile backsplashes and replace them with stone or matte-finished options that feature accent colors or patterns that match your design scheme. This will give you a look that’s both on-trend, and also unique to your home.
Opt for Clean Lines in Cabinetry
The importance of clean lines and minimalist designs stands out when it comes to kitchen cabinets. Features like molding, panels, or trim will throw off the theme, and it’s important that you choose options without any embellishments.
Natural wood materials will fit best in a mid century modern concept, and minimalist hardware like pull bars instead of knobs will round out the aesthetic.
If wood doesn’t work for you, then you could always opt for a solid color to add some flare and a bright accent to the room. Make sure that you keep the rest of your palette simple so that the space doesn’t look too busy or cluttered.
Add Minimalist Furnishings
In addition to the many design features to consider, you’ll also want to choose furnishings that match your vibe.
Mid century modern furniture features minimalist designs, but also incorporates distinctive elements that make it both comfortable and functional.
Shop for a table for your kitchen nook or dining area that has a geometric, square, thin top and thin, tapered, unembellished legs to match the look.
Your chairs should also have these same simple, clean lines, thin legs, and use solid colors to work with the aesthetic.
If you’re working with a small area, one added benefit is that these minimalist pieces take up less space than some of the bulkier modern designs and will help the space to feel open and less cluttered.
Choose Lighting Wisely
When it comes to lighting, mid century modern styles go one of two ways. You can either choose a simple approach like pendant, can, or track lighting that’s functional and also blends into the background and doesn’t add a design element to the room.
Alternately, you could also pick an eye-catching option that adds an element of art to your kitchen.
Regardless of which you decide, it’s important to pick lighting that fits the style. Look for ones made from metal, wood, or glass and not anything with glass prisms or crystals to stay true to the retro vibe.
Keep the Galley Footprint
Spacious kitchens and open floor plans are on-trend right now, but it’s expensive to rip out a galley-style footprint and open it up.
If you don’t have the budget to completely gut and rearrange your space, then you’ll want to talk with a designer about how to maximize it with thoughtful design features. With proper planning, there are many ways to add storage and create a functional kitchen that has all of your appliances within easy reach.
Incorporate Both Modern and Retro Materials
It’s possible to achieve a mid century modern look while using 21st century materials. A lot has changed in construction and design since the 1940’s, and today there are an abundance of options available that homeowners couldn’t find affordably back then. This means you have more options than ever before.
Try incorporating modern materials like quartz with traditional ones like wood paneling to give you an updated look that stays true to your aesthetic.
Add Warmth with Natural Materials
One potential drawback of mid century modern design is that it can sometimes feel cold and impersonal thanks to the clean lines and minimalist feel.
Home designers recommend adding in natural materials in areas where they make sense to add depth and warmth to the space. Search for tables, sideboards, or furniture in a beautiful wood like walnut to bring that element to your kitchen, and to help connect it to the rest of your home.
Use a Floating Kitchen Footprint
Another popular design trend in mid century modern homes is the floating kitchen. This means the space is situated away from any exterior wall of your home, giving it an expansive feel while still maintaining the small footprint that was popular during that time.
Although it might feel counterintuitive because many of today’s designs feature the sink on an outside wall with a window above it, it’s an excellent solution if you need an island, counter space, and storage space all in the same area.
Incorporate Smart Storage Options
You can create the feeling of a large, open kitchen without needing to knock down walls. The best way to do it is to find creative ways to store the items that you only need occasionally, like your large stand mixer or pots and pans.
Designers recommend finding ways to make use of unused corners, and don’t be afraid of geometric shapes like diagonal drawers with built-in dividers to make the most of limited space.
Incorporate Nature and Light
Whenever possible, try to bring the outdoors inside your kitchen to make it both look and feel larger. Design elements like windows that stretch from your ceiling to your countertops give you loads of natural light and give you an indoor-outdoor feel.
The notion of carrying design themes and elements from the outside of your home to the inside is a very mid century modern notion.