25 Midcentury Modern Kitchen Ideas

This interior design style became popular decades ago and shows no sign of slowing down. Here's how to design a midcentury modern kitchen.

Clean lines, organic materials, bright colors, and wood paneling are all iconic elements of midcentury modern design. This interior design style became popular during the mid-20th century and has remained one of the most sought-after aesthetics in homes everywhere. Whether you're looking to remodel your kitchen or start with small updates, our collection of midcentury modern kitchen ideas has decorating and design inspiration to help you add retro style to your space.

midcentury modern kitchen

Greg Scheidemann

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Install Wood Paneling

wood kitchen paneling

Emily J Followill

Nothing says midcentury modern quite like wood paneling. This design element adds a nature-inspired feel to any room in the house. Popular types of wood include teak or oak. Install wood paneling across appliances and cabinets for a streamlined midcentury modern kitchen design.

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Small Midcentury Modern Kitchen

small kitchen

Lincoln Barbour

This small kitchen optimizes its space with a mix of to-the-ceiling upper cabinets and floating shelves, a staple in midcentury modern design. Black and white two-tone cabinetry helps the small kitchen look taller, while wood countertops and seating warm up the cool tones. A statement midcentury pendant draws attention to wishbone seating.

03 of 25

Less is More

runner rug in kitchen


Minimalism is a key element in midcentury modern style, with the phrase "less is more" central to designs. Here, whitewashed wood cabinetry and a red vintage rug warm up sleek modern elements, like the stainless-steel vent hood and chrome faucet. Simple white subway tile arranged in a horizontal stacked bond maintain the clean lines of the midcentury modern kitchen.

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Eyes to the Sky

citrus colored mid-century modern kitchen
Kim Cornelison

From the colorful details to the twist on the Sputnik chandelier, there is so much to appreciate about this midcentury modern kitchen. Named after the first satellite sent into space in the 1950s, the Sputnik chandelier comes in all different sizes, finishes, and styles, usually with many arms extending from the center. Here, the white chandelier ties in with the cabinets and balances the bright kitchen color scheme.

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Add Interest to Your Island

midcentury modern kitchen

Michael Garland

Surrounded by Eames molded chairs, a midcentury modern furniture icon, this island features an angular wood countertop perfect for pulling up a seat. The midcentury-style kitchen is ideal for cooking and dining.

Natural materials repeat throughout, including three different varieties of wood used for the hardwood flooring, island, and ceiling panels. The midcentury kitchen opens up into a lounge area with a stone fireplace. The organic elements tie together with modern touches including stainless-steel appliances and lacquer cabinets.

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Mix Materials


John Gruen

A green counter-to-ceiling backsplash is the defining element of this midcentury modern kitchen. Metal chairs pull up to the peninsula, which features a wood countertop anchored by a gray base, while the second countertop is made from laminate. A green and brown kitchen color scheme and the use of natural materials make for the perfect retro touches.

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Palm Springs Paradise

breakfast nook with bright blue booth and pink flowers
David Tsay

Energetic colors are out to play in this breakfast nook. A crystal Sputnik chandelier and lacquered white kitchen cabinets add a touch of glamour to the midcentury modern-inspired kitchen. Tying the nostalgic color palette together is an iconic Slim Aarons Palm Springs poolside photograph.

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Clean Lines

midcentury modern kitchen

Greg Scheidemann

Clean lines are a mainstay of midcentury modern design. This kitchen's tile backsplash leads the eye up the streamlined range hood and to a paneled ceiling with exposed beams. The wooden cabinetry and open shelving warm up the midcentury modern kitchen and add a natural element that complements the green backsplash tile.

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Vary Wood Tones

midcentury modern kitchen

Erin Kunkel

This home's original wood cabinets were painted white to brighten up the space against the paneled walls. Black hardware ties in with the existing range hood. A walnut and black iron table creates harmony between the finishes. A sculptural white pendant hung above the eating area pulls together the midcentury modern kitchen.

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Use Orange as an Accent Color

midcentury modern kitchen

Greg Scheidemann

Give signature midcentury shades of brown a pop of earthy color by adding touches of orange. This retro hue found on seat cushions, groovy wallpaper, and natural materials like the stone fireplace gives life to this open-concept kitchen. Finished with eccentric lighting, this kitchen embodies midcentury modern interior design.

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Geometric Patterns

living room toy storage

Kim Cornelison

Geometric patterns are everywhere in this midcentury modern kitchen, from the repeating subway tiles to the fun area rug and even eye-catching lines in the built-in kitchen island shelving. Timeless globe lighting, along with plastic Eames chairs, contribute classic midcentury silhouettes.

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Vintage Breakfast Nook

midcentury modern coffee table

John Bessler

This breakfast nook nestled near an open-concept kitchen shows off its midcentury modern style with organic shapes, gentle curves, and wood tones. White contemporary vases tie in with the iconic PH5-inspired pendant that hangs above the table.

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Midcentury Galley Kitchen

midcentury modern kitchen

David Land

The original inset trim in the living room floor subtly defines this open space that was once a galley kitchen. The stainless-steel range hood matches the counter stools for a touch of modernity. Splashes of green via houseplants and vintage jadeite glassware complete the earth-tone color palette.

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Organic Silhouettes

small circular kitchen table
Hector Sanchez

In this eat-in kitchen, vintage upholstered chairs cozy up to a tulip table topped with a new piece of marble. A curved red pendant light juxtaposes the muted, relaxed colors in the breakfast nook. Black-and-white checkered floors complete the retro look.

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Wood Furnishings

built in china cabinet
Jay Wilde

Glass-front doors on a wall of maple cabinets showcase an artisan dishware collection. White walls and white quartz countertops brighten the room yet keep the kitchen design simple and unfussy.

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Midcentury Modern Backsplash

colorful modern kitchen

Kim Cornelison

Not all midcentury modern kitchen ideas have to follow tradition. For a twist on a classic MCM color scheme, go for jewel tones. This blue-green tile backsplash adds unique character and texture and allows wood cabinets and floating shelves to pop against its dark color. Funky artwork dresses the shelves in more bright hues.

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Midcentury Breakfast Nook

Bright breakfast nook

Edmund Barr

This primarily white breakfast nook is accented with cheery bright colors. With ample seating between the built-in bench and two curved armchairs, the whole family can enjoy the most important meal of the day together. A Nelson saucer pendant and tulip table inspired by the iconic Eero Saarinen design adds a subtle midcentury modern edge to the pastel color scheme.

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Functionality Over Everything

Wood island w/ white counter edge


Midcentury modern design is all about functionality. After all, the style was catered to benefit the nuclear family unit. This MCM kitchen has ample storage, plenty of prep space, and a dining area right at the end of the island.

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Add Pops of Color

midcentury modern kitchen

Virginia Williams

You can't go wrong with a white kitchen; they are a staple of modern kitchen design. To add a touch of midcentury flair, introduce colors into your decor but stay within the same color value. This kitchen uses bright jewel tones throughout to keep the space energetic rather than one-note.

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Farmhouse Meets Midcentury

midcentury modern kitchen

Stacey Zarin Goldberg

Blending different interior design styles can give your kitchen a one-of-a-kind look. This kitchen marries rich navy blue with elements from modern farmhouse designs, including white Shaker cabinets and dark stained butcher-block counters. Open shelving and two domed pendant lights complete the midcentury modern kitchen.

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Take Advantage of Natural Light

midcentury modern kitchen

Amy Webb

Becoming popular in the 1970s, skylights provide natural light in hardworking areas of your home, like the kitchen. This space features skylights that accentuate the clean, angled lines of the ceiling, acting as an aid to the large island pendants.

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Glamorous Midcentury Modern Bar

orange bar area with credenza
Kim Cornelison

This home bar features a thrifted credenza showcased against terracotta-colored walls. A gold starburst sconce ties in with Art Deco hardware and metallic bar accessories. Open shelving keeps most-used barware close at hand and easy to reach.

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Contemporary Twist on Midcentury Style

black kitchen cabinetry

Emily J Followill

This midcentury modern kitchen features natural materials that warm up black base cabinets gilded with Art Deco knobs. The ceiling features preserved tongue-and-groove wood, and the open shelves are magnolia. Complete with potted plants and ample natural light, this kitchen has a warm and cozy feel while nodding to the past.

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Blue Backsplash

modern kitchen with blue vertical tile

Edmund Barr

Blue subway tile installed in a vertical stacked bond pattern creates a contemporary twist on the clean lines of midcentury style. The backsplash pairs with organic materials, like stone countertops and wood cabinetry, to nod to nature. A vaulted ceiling and large windows above the range let in plenty of light.

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Midcentury Kitchen Lighting

functional modern kitchen

David Land

This basement kitchen in a guest suite nods to the past with midcentury-inspired pendant lighting. The black domed fixtures coordinate with sleek black countertops and open shelving. Easy-to-clean purple industrial stools add color while maintaining practicality.

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