Mid century kitchens are iconic—and for good reason. Their style stands the test of time, and their functional design is second to none. When it comes to updating an original mid mod kitchen (or replacing one that has long lost its retro charm) these are the design essentials to keep in mind.

1. Geometric Tile 

Turn your backsplash into a work of art by opting for tile that packs a stylish punch. Be it hexagons, penny rounds, or a dimensional wall tile, there are plenty of mod-friendly tile options for your mid century kitchen. Simply add these “wow-worthy” shapes to your walls and listen as the complements fly in!


What does it take to design a truly mid century kitchen? These 12 ideas will have you bucking trend and creating a space that celebrates the style's enduring appeal. Atomic Ranch
Photo Courtesy of Vanessa Weber, styling by Rachel Jacks.

2. Bold Color Choices 

It’s no secret that fun colors played a key role in mid century kitchen design. From pink stoves to blue refrigerators, bold use of color is as at home in a mid mod kitchen as the cabinets themselves. Are colorful major appliances not your style? Consider a splashy tile hue, paint an accent wall or opt for bright cabinets.

A mid century modern kitchen complete with a dark blue interior, diamond-shaped floor pattern, and cat laying on said floor.
Photo Courtesy of @sarahh7007 via Atomic Ranch.

3. Use Pattern 

Starbursts, diamonds, and boomerangs—oh my! Mid century style brought us a plethora of amazing graphic patterns. Bring their retro goodness to your kitchen through dish towels, linen napkins, or wallpaper. Nothing’s wrong with showing a little bit of personality with just the right amount of patterned spunk and funk!


What does it take to design a truly mid century kitchen? These 12 ideas will have you bucking trend and creating a space that celebrates the style's enduring appeal. Atomic Ranch
Photo Courtesy of Molly Culver Photography.


4. Laminate—Yeah, it’s Back 

Many companies are bringing back the iconic laminate countertops from decade’s past. For example, Make it Mid Century has SparkleLam, a laminate that glistens with flecks of gold or silver and is available in 15 colors. Having a Jetson’s-inspired kitchen has never been easier!

A mid century modern kitchen with a laminate countertop and wooden cabinetry.
Photo by Jim Brown.


5. Play with Pastels

Bold hues like orange and turquoise often get all the attention from fans of mid century design, but soft hues like buttery yellow, mint green and soft blue are just as period-appropriate. If a lighter kitchen palette is more your speed these are the colors for you.

A mid century kitchen complete with a muted blue, yellow, and pink interior.
Photo Courtesy of @buckminster_green via Atomic Ranch.


6. Make a Focal Point 

Be it your island, a bank of open shelves, or a vintage stove—pick one area and play it up. Not only will having a focal point will anchor your kitchen’s design, it also has the possibility to increase the depth of your spaces and help create a lasting (and decidedly mid century) impression.

The glass plated cabinetry of a mid century kitchen.
Photo Courtesy of Boone Brothers Media.


7. Light it Up

Don’t overestimate the power of good lighting. Take your time choosing pieces that marry form and function so that your mid century kitchen will have stylish fixtures as well as plenty of light. With these star-studded statement pieces, you’ll be able to control the shadows, brightness, and dimensions of your cooking space all with the flip of a switch!

A mid century light surrounded by a clouded glass globe.
Photo Courtesy of AllModern.


8. Minimal, Yet Mod, Accents

A cluttered counter is never a good idea, especially in a mid century kitchen. Finish off your space with a few well-placed accents that nod to retro style without overwhelming the eye. Display a vintage cookbook, salt and pepper set, or add a collection of mid mod glasses to open shelves.

A mid century kitchen featuring a geometric-tile backdrop and a vintage poster to complement the surrounding spaces.
Photo by Bret Gum.


9. Give it Personality 

Don’t forget, this kitchen is yours. Does red make you happy? Use it. Is that vintage art print what you want to look at while making coffee? Hang it up. Are your mom’s mixing bowls worthy of display? Set them out. A well-designed and perfectly styled kitchen isn’t complete until it features the people who use it.


A mid century kitchen with small elements that highlight the unique dotted tile-scheme.
Photo Courtesy of Joyce Reid Troost Architecture.


10. Celebrate Woodgrain 

Only craftsman style truly rivals the mid century in appreciation for and celebration of woodgrain, so play up your wood cabinets by choosing a palette that lets them be the star of the show. If you’re starting fresh with your mid century kitchen design, look for easily customizable cabinets. And if your willing to really spice-up your spaces, add a deeper woodgrain to really bring contrast to the room.

A mid century modern kitchen with a dark wood grain to highlight the contrast between the white countertops and decor.
Photo by Matthew Gallant.


11. Don’t Forget Vintage 

Be it a Gorge Nelson clock, a vintage art print, or a display of retro mugs—a mid century kitchen isn’t complete without a few proudly displayed MCM touches. Add whatever makes your heart content, all while further developing your mid mod spaces and remaining true to the design styles of the past.

A mid century modern kitchen with a dark-blue geometric tile scheme, dark cabinetry, and slight vintage touches.
Photo by Landon Wiggs.


12. Consider Metal Cabinets

Metal cabinets are the creme de la creme of mid century kitchen design. People drive cross-country to rescue original metal cabinets from homes being renovated—and for good reason. These beauties epitomize the era’s dedication to innovation through design. Luckily for you, they are available new and in a variety of sizes and colors.

A collection of mid mod cabinets colored turquoise, dark blue, and red.
Courtesy of Toro Kitchen Cabinets


Want more kitchen essentials to peruse? Here is a collection of mid-mod gifts sure to make any amateur chef swoon!

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