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17 Key Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Elements and Ideas

True to Form: Simple, Functional, and Stylish

Wood and white kitchen

Laura Brophy Interiors

Try as they might, other interior styles can't quite compete with the cult following of midcentury modern. Yes, cottage core and farmhouse have made proud names for themselves, but one look on your social feed and at the mood boards of designers, and you'll find that midcentury creeps in everywhere. The trend hasn't grown tired since its inception, but instead it just seems to get bigger.

What Is Midcentury Modern Design?

Midcentury modern design describes art, architecture, and design from the middle of the 20th century.

But how can you fully embrace midcentury modern style in your space? It's all in the foundational pieces and accents you choose. The following 17 styles will give you all the motivation you need to make similar changes—whether that's opting for wood panel cabinets, splurging on a Sputnik lamp, or settling on a modish color palette.

01 of 17

Bring in Nature

Mid century modern, wooden kitchen

Afro Bohemian Living

Flat-front cabinets and plenty of wood are solid indicators of midcentury modern style, but the addition of a jungle-like color palette and plants makes it feel super down to earth. It's a stunning example of how you can soften up the often harsher, sleeker lines of this particular trend with a few small changes.

02 of 17

Add a Pop of Bubblegum

Bubblegum pink kitchen

Dazey Den

A plentiful range of colors graces midcentury modern spaces. When a style spans that many decades, it's no surprise that you could find everything from red, pink, and teal to beige, brown, and black. If you're one who appreciates major saturation, try mixing in a pretty pink tone like this to play off the rest of your features.

Rosé season paint swatch
Clare Rosé Season $54.00
03 of 17

Go Warm and Modern

Brown kitchen

Design: Desiree Burns Interiors / Photography: Tamara Flanagan

On the other end of the color spectrum are ultra sophisticated kitchens like this one, comprised of warming neutrals. This particular shade of brown is cooler and looks stunning paired with the rounded gray bar stools. In terms of shape, modish spheres and oblong cylinders mixed with sharp lines are a classic midcentury modern move.

04 of 17

Be Bold With Show-Stopping Blue

Navy kitchen

Design: Michelle Boudreau Design / Photography: Lance Gerber

With Art Deco influence and an overall midcentury modern vibe, this kitchen is perfect for renters and owners that love sleek and chic spaces. Add in jewel tones, like deep blue or dark turquoise, for a space that will never feel out of date.

05 of 17

Add Beige for Days

Sleek beige kitchen

Liljencrantz Design

Simplicity is a core tenet of most midcentury modern rooms, and this kitchen is no exception. Its serene beige shade and clean cupboards and countertops are balanced by the pop of black from the range hood and the orb lighting.

06 of 17

Try a Bit of Everything

Black, brown, and white kitchen

Arbor & Co.

Do you love mixing your styles? Fortunately, midcentury can leave its mark in earthy, boho spaces, minimalist rooms, and even in more traditional homes. This kitchen's lovely lighting and wood cabinets with matte black pulls make it a viable cooking space that feels fresh but is also fit for the '60s, '70s, 2021, and beyond.

07 of 17

Get Inspired by Eichler

Blue and white kitchen

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors / Photography: Christy Q. Photography

Joseph Eichler was known for his contributions to midcentury modern design, and this fresh spin on his style gets everything right. If you're not already blessed with a ranch house dripping in this style, follow the footsteps of this kitchen, which uses clean cabinets, rectangular tile, and groovy colors to keep with the times but also transport you back.

Blue rectangular tile
Fireclay Tile 3 x 9 Slate Blue Tile $29.00
08 of 17

Think About Pairings

Sputnik pendant lamp

Maite Granda

Keep the theme going from kitchen to dining room by copying this gorgeously designed space, which encapsulates some of the best parts of midcentury modern. Acrylic furniture was major in the 1960s, and this, paired with a Sputnik chandelier and the kitchen countertops' moody color, makes for a stunning area reminiscent of the era, from cooking your meal to sitting down and eating it.

Gold Sputnik chandelier
2Modern Zanadoo Fixed Chandelier $2,365.00
09 of 17

Make Hardware Modern

White kitchen with gray tile

House of Chais

While this kitchen could pass for a more minimalist space, it's the semicircular knobs, wood, and matte finishes that give it midcentury modern flair. It's a great example of how easy it is to transform the overall feel of a kitchen (or any space, for that matter) without needing to take out a wall or whip out the paint.

10 of 17

Play With Shapes

Black and white kitchen

Jenn Pablo Studio

Curvy chairs and flat-faced cabinets in this kitchen make for a nice blend of styles—Scandi-meets-midcentury, to be exact. The room's quieter colors, mixed with the more severe black island, give it a calming energy that still has an edge to it.

11 of 17

Add Streamlined Finishes

Blue and white kitchen

Studio KT

The exposed bulb look has translated well, from Sputnik lamps to sconces and now hanging pendant lights. This, paired with the smoky blue cabinets and that stylish patterned rug, makes for a picture-perfect, modernized midcentury modern kitchen.

12 of 17

Go for a Moody Palette

Slate blue kitchen

Ashley Montgomery Design

Bright hues are a great option, but if you prefer your rooms to be on the quieter side, moodier tones are a must. Slate blue, avocado green, chocolate brown—any of these will match what you're going for. Just add in a geometric light fixture, like seen here, and you're golden.

13 of 17

Install Plenty of Paneling

Wood kitchen

Bespoke Only

Wood paneling is often associated with cabins and forest living, but midcentury modern took that idea and reworked it into a mega trendy use of the material. If you're open to a larger scale change when switching your kitchen from another style, deep-colored panels are an ideal solution. Might as well do your living room while you're at it, too.

14 of 17

Add Statement Textures

White, gray, and blue kitchen

JLA Designs

The orb lighting, modular chairs, and funky tile make this kitchen one for the books. It's light and airy but still holds its own as a midcentury modern space. You also can't admire this space without acknowledging its brilliant Sputnik pendant lamp.

15 of 17

Go For Cheeky Contrast

Green and red kitchen

Design: Michelle Boudreau Design / Photography: Lane Dittoe

Here, the shapes, colors, and matte finish make this a quintessentially midcentury modern kitchen fit for any color fanatic. While the palette is complementary at its core, the more muted, deeper versions of green and red make it ultra cool.

Matte black faucet
Build Newport Brass East Linear Pull-Down Spray Kitchen Faucet $846.00
16 of 17

Go Overboard on Wood

Wood and white kitchen

Laura Brophy Interiors

While kitsch is normally associated with the kitchens of the '50s and '60s, there are ways to ensure that your cooking space never crosses into that threshold if it's not your style. This gorgeous example proves how you can pile on the wood paneling that exploded late into the era of midcentury modern and still make it cut out for an updated home.

Black and brown barstool chair
AllModern Lesley Bar & Counter Stool $745.00 $640.00
17 of 17

Try a Fresh and Mod Vibe

Black and wood kitchen

The House on Hillside Lane

Wood and black will give you a kitchen that feels inviting but upscale and elevated. If you're opting for a dark shade, like seen here, try adding some contrast by choosing a lighter tone of wood. The inclusion of linear pulls and rounded pendant lights helps pull it all together.