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.

 

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
Photography by Vanessa Weber, styling by Rachel Jacks

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.

 

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.

 

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
Photography by Molly Culver Photography

3. Use Pattern 

Starbursts, and diamonds, and boomerangs—oh my! The mid century brought us a plethora of amazing graphic patterns. Bring their retro goodness to your kitchen through dish towels, linen napkins, or wallpaper.

 

4. Laminate—Yeah, it’s Back 

Make it Mid Century has SparkleLam. Yes, you read that right—sparkly laminate countertops! Glistening with flecks of gold or silver and available in 15 colors, having a Jetson’s-inspired kitchen has never been easier.

 

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.

 

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. Having a focal point will anchor your kitchen’s design and help create a lasting (and decidedly mid century) impression.

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
Courtesy of AllModern

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 mid century touches.

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
Courtesy of Toro Kitchen Cabinets

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.

 

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