How to Get a Mid-Century Modern Vibe in your Kitchen without Living in the Past

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.

-Frank Lloyd Wright

Forget about the Brady Bunch kitchen with orange countertops and avocado accents. Mid-century modern is so much more than color. The lasting appeal of the iconic style is rooted in its simplicity and connection to nature. Clean lines, open airy spaces and natural materials give the popular movement staying power.

You’ll never go wrong when incorporating these signature elements of modernism into a kitchen remodel.

White modern kitchen with quartz countertops and floating shelves
To get this minimalistic look, ask about our Showplace kitchens.

NATURAL HARDWOODS GIVE STRENGTH & STYLE

Start with solid handcrafted cabinetry of fine woods that rely on grain pattern for ornamentation. Quarter sawn oak and cherry are timeless choices. Choose decorative drawer pulls and door knobs with simple geometrics.

Cherry cabinets with simple maple crownmolding and sleek bar pulls.Cherry cabinets with simple maple crownmolding and sleek bar pulls.
Slab cherry doors with sleek bar pulls point to mid-century modern style.

KEEP IT SIMPLE WITH THE CLASSIC SLAB OR MISSION DOOR

Flat, rectangular cabinet doors are hallmarks of the 1950s and 60s kitchen. However, if that’s too plain for your taste, opt for Mission style doors with stile-and-rail frames. The design is closely associated with the hand-crafted artisanship of American Shaker and Arts and Crafts.

Quarter sawn oak door in mission style
Stop at Swita Cabinetry to see our mission styles like this quarter sawn oak door.

INVITE ACTIVITY WITH OPEN FLOOR PLANS

Light and airy living spaces and kitchens create a comfortable atmosphere for cooking and entertaining. If you enjoy these activities, then eliminate walls like Frank Lloyd Wright did with his famous architecture that promoted floor plans with an uninterrupted flow.

Cambria quartz countertops showing a waterfall edge
Cambria quartz in Britannicca features a stunning waterfall edge.

ADD ISLANDS FOR MULTI-TASKING

Less walls could mean less cabinet space, but not if you introduce the island. You’ll gain a substantial workspace and lots of storage. If you really want to up the wow factor, consider the waterfall countertop. Cambria quartz has mastered this look with the waterfall edge that runs vertically down the sides, linking the floor to the cabinetry in a seamless, fluid manner.

Cambria quartz countertop on island showing the Bentley design
Wrap your island in a waterfall edge like this Cambria quartz surface in Bently.

HANG LIGHT AND FRIENDLY FLOATING SHELVES

Live edge wooden shelves have become a popular alternative to enclosed cabinetry. Used between upper cabinets or in corners, they can add a vibe of spaciousness or break up the monotony of a long row of cabinets.

Painted kitchen cabinets and floating shelves create modern feel
Dark navy cabinetry looks stunningly simple in Mayfair by Cambria quartz.

INCORPORATE A CONSOLE FOR MORE STORAGE

You can’t talk about mid-century modern interiors without mentioning the console table. The era of convenience and leisure produced furniture that made household items, like beverages and record players, readily accessible. So go ahead and add a stylish peg-leg console—a.k.a buffet table or sideboard—to your dining or living space. If you’re lucky enough to have one of these vintage gems in storage, upcycle it with a fresh coat of Chalk Paint®. Annie Sloan offers a beautiful palette of colors that’ll honor your mid-century style with Barcelona Orange, Olive and Napoleonic Blue.

Mid-century modern console painted in Napoleonic Blue Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
Upcycle a mid-century console with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan sold at Swita Cabinetry.

COMBINE COLORS AND MATERIALS

Natural woods and pops of color can create harmony in a kitchen just as gazing at a field of flowers  can. A navy blue island or painted lower cabinets with natural upper cabinets add visual interest. Walnut inset doors and drawers surrounded by painted face frames are distinguished looking. Bold flowing patterns in countertops like Cambria’s Luxury Series are in high demand right now.

WHERE TO GET MORE IDEAS 

Visit our Facebook page @switacabinetry or sit down with us at
our showroom in Mosinee. Call 715-693-2670 or email karla@switacabinetry.com.


BY KARLA SWITA

Karla has a degree in journalism, and while she loves writing, her passion is in transforming spaces for customers through the family business that she runs with her husband Pete.