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Mid-Century Modern Kitchen: Designer Tips by Kata

Mid-Century Modern Kitchen: Designer Tips by Kata

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Kata Walters, a seasoned house flipper renowned for her expertise in restoring and reselling Mid-Century Modern homes, shares her insights on transforming kitchens into stunning reflections of this iconic design era. Today, she shares her journey and expertise in recreating the essence of this distinctive period. Despite the extensive renovations required for the house, Kata remained focused in her commitment to honoring its original time period.

From incorporating geometric lighting to carefully selecting the perfect Mid-Century Modern kitchen cabinets, Kata's attention to detail was unwavering. With CabinetNow's Turino slab cabinet doors and drawer fronts in Dolce Vita and Stratus Supermatte, she echoed the wooden cabinets typical of Mid-Century Modern homes from the 60s. Every decision was made with thoughtful restoration in mind, ensuring that each element harmonized with the home's unique character.

With Kata's expert guidance, you'll discover how to make a kitchen look Mid-Century Modern. Through careful consideration and a dedication to authenticity, you'll understand the features of a kitchen from this era with emphasis on what Mid-Century Modern kitchen cabinets to choose. 

Beginning the Journey

60's Style Kitchen

Kata's journey with her latest project began last summer when she stumbled upon a Mid-Century gem in need of rescue. Despite its daunting state, she saw beyond the deterioration and sensed the untapped potential hidden within its walls. With unwavering determination, Kata seized the opportunity, outbidding competitors to secure the property in a fiercely competitive market.

Teaming up with a skilled contractor, Kata embarked on a transformative journey to breathe new life into the house. The challenges were numerous and significant, requiring bold decisions and meticulous planning. One such decision involved the relocation of a window and the replacement of a structural wall to open up the space, transforming what was once a dark, closed-off kitchen into a light-filled, inviting haven.

Overcoming Challenges

gut construction

Navigating the restoration process wasn't without its hurdles. As Kata and her team began peeling back the layers of the old home, they soon encountered a cascade of unforeseen issues lurking beneath the surface. Like unraveling a mystery, each layer revealed new challenges that demanded swift action and careful consideration.

As with many old homes, hidden problems began to surface, presenting a series of unexpected "surprises" that threatened to derail the project. Undeterred by these setbacks, Kata made the bold decision to embark on a full gut renovation, stripping the property down to its bare bones and starting from scratch.

floor plan

With determination and resilience, Kata and her team reimagined the floorplan, meticulously crafting a layout that seamlessly blended modern functionality with the unique character that Mid-Century Modern homes are renowned for. Every decision was made with precision and care, with a keen eye towards preserving the essence of the home's architectural heritage.

Embracing DIY

Despite having the expertise of a skilled contractor at their disposal, Kata and her husband were keen to actively contribute to various aspects of the project. Their eagerness to participate stemmed from a deep sense of ownership and pride in the restoration process. With sleeves rolled up and a can-do attitude, they eagerly tackled tasks ranging from renovations to adding personal touches like meticulously painting the fireplace. Their hands-on approach not only ensured a more personal investment in the project but also allowed them to infuse their unique vision and creativity into every corner of the restoration journey.

What Kind Of Cabinets Are Mid-Century Modern?

Mid-Century Modern Cabinets

When it came to selecting the cabinets for her Mid-Century Modern kitchen transformation, Kata turned to CabinetNow for the high customization options and extensive range of materials. With a keen eye for detail, Kata found that CabinetNow offered the ideal solution to bring her vision to life.

Turino slab fronts

The decision to opt for a two-tone kitchen design was a pivotal one, and Kata knew that CabinetNow's competitive pricing and diverse selection made them the clear choice for this project. By ordering CabinetNow's Turino Slab cabinet doors and drawer fronts in Stratus Supermatte and Dolce Vita, Kata achieved the perfect balance of cream and rustic wood, capturing the essence of Mid-Century Modern charm.

"My goal was to make sure it was thoughtfully restored and that included choosing kitchen cabinets that felt modern but also mimicked the wooden cabinets used in traditional modern homes back in the 60’s. That is why I was so thrilled with the cabinets I chose with CabinetNow. -Kata Walters"

Furthermore, the utilization of  thermofoil material not only ensured durability and longevity but also provided a cost-effective alternative without compromising on style or quality. With CabinetNow as her trusted partner, Kata was able to elevate her kitchen design to new heights, infusing it with the timeless allure of Mid-Century Modern aesthetics.

Ordering from a place like CabinetNow opens up a world of possibilities for creating your dream kitchen with very few limitations. Unlike stock cabinets or local options with more limited selections, CabinetNow offers a diverse array of choices in sizing, materials, and finishes. This flexibility allowed Kata to realize their vision for a two-tone kitchen design without compromise.

Kata knew that CabinetNow's competitive pricing and extensive selection made them the clear choice for this project. With the ability to customize every aspect of her kitchen cabinets, from the dimensions to the colors and materials, she could confidently bring her design ideas to life. CabinetNow's commitment to quality and customization ensured that Kata's dream kitchen would be both stunning and functional, tailored precisely to her preferences.

How Do I Make My Kitchen Look Mid-Century Modern? 8 Key Strategies

Mid-Century Modern Kitchen with orange chairs

1. Cabinet Selection

Incorporate the iconic elements of Mid-Century Modern design by selecting kitchen cabinets that evoke the era's distinctive aesthetic. Opting for slab-style cabinets with clean lines and a flat surface is essential to capturing the minimalist yet sleek look characteristic of Mid-Century Modern style. These cabinets, devoid of intricate detailing or embellishments, exude an air of simplicity and sophistication that defines the era's design ethos.

To further enhance the Mid-Century Modern vibe, choose cabinets in warm, natural wood finishes. Rich walnut or lighter white oak tones like our Modern Turino Slab in Dolce Vita not only add depth and warmth to the kitchen but also infuse it with a sense of organic beauty. The inherent grain patterns and textures of these woods create visual interest and depth, elevating the overall design while maintaining a timeless appeal. Kata expertly paired the wood with CabinetNow’s Stratus SuperMatte, a creamy white, to brighten up the kitchen and create a stunning contrast that enhances the aesthetic allure. Similarly wood veneer slab cabinet doors are another popular choice for Mid-Century Kitchens.

2. Countertops and Back Splash

Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing countertops and backsplashes is a crucial aspect of designing a Mid-Century Modern kitchen, and selecting materials like quartz or marble with minimal veining and subdued hues is a hallmark of this style.

Quartz countertops offer a sleek, uniform appearance ideal for Mid-Century Modern design, providing a seamless backdrop that allows other elements to shine. Opting for a neutral shade with minimal veining ensures a cohesive and understated aesthetic while adding sophistication. Marble countertops and backsplashes exude timeless luxury, with subtle veining and muted hues bringing natural beauty and elegance to the kitchen. Selecting marble with minimal veining ensures a cohesive look while enhancing the overall aesthetic with a striking focal point.

Guided by Mid-Century Modern principles of simplicity and functionality, Kata opted for a white textured tile backsplash and plain white slab countertop. These choices not only create a sense of openness and light but also maintain a cohesive look with the era's aesthetic of clean lines and minimalism. The white surfaces serve as a timeless backdrop, allowing other design elements to shine while ensuring the kitchen remains stylish and relevant.

3. Geometric Hardware

In choosing hardware for her Mid-Century Modern kitchen, embracing the era's characteristic geometric shapes is a paramount feature. Kata's selection of oval-shaped opaque white knobs and pulls added a touch of retro charm, seamlessly complementing the space's sleek and streamlined aesthetic. Beyond their decorative appeal, these geometric hardware elements offered both functionality and visual intrigue, a testament to Kata's meticulous attention to detail throughout the renovation process.

Other Geometric Hardware to Include for Mid-Century Kitchen:

  • Rectangular, square, and hexagonal knobs and pulls 
  • Trapezoid, octagonal, and diamond-shaped handles 
  • Circular, triangular, and pentagon-inspired hardware 
  • Oval knobs with angular designs

By incorporating geometrically shaped hardware with a distinct oval design, Kata achieved a harmonious balance between form and function in her kitchen. These carefully selected details not only contributed to the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic but also reflected Kata's thoughtful approach to design, elevating the overall look and feel of the space.

4. Vibrant Orange Accent

To fully embrace the Mid-Century vibe in your kitchen, consider incorporating vibrant orange accents alongside the rustic appeal. The bold use of color was a defining characteristic of Mid-Century Modern design, and infusing your space with pops of orange will instantly inject energy and personality while paying homage to the era's design principles. Opt for orange chairs or accessories to create focal points that catch the eye and add a playful touch to the room's aesthetic.

Moreover, sage green presents another excellent option for introducing color into your Mid-Century Modern kitchen. This serene and versatile hue was commonly used during the period to evoke a sense of tranquility and connection to nature. By incorporating sage green elements such as cabinetry, wall paint, or decorative accents, you can add depth and sophistication to the space while maintaining a cohesive and harmonious color palette.

5. Retro Appliances

Mid-Century Modern Appliances

Consider adding retro-inspired appliances to further evoke the spirit of Mid-Century Modern design. Look for appliances with sleek lines, chrome finishes, and vintage-inspired details to complement the overall aesthetic of your kitchen. Retro appliances not only add visual interest but also offer modern functionality with a nostalgic twist.

6. Statement Lighting

Two Tone Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Cabinets

Invest in statement lighting fixtures that reflect the iconic designs of the Mid-Century Modern era. Look for pendant lights or chandeliers with geometric shapes, clean lines, and brass or chrome finishes to create a focal point in your kitchen while enhancing its overall aesthetic.

One striking choice that exemplifies Kata's design approach is her use of sphere-shaped lights. These spherical fixtures not only pay homage to the geometric motifs prevalent in Mid-Century Modern design but also add a touch of whimsy and sophistication to the space. Hung strategically above the kitchen island or dining area, these spherical lights serve as captivating focal points, drawing the eye and enhancing the overall ambiance of the room.

7. Open Concept Design of the 60’s and 70’s

open concept kitchen design

Embracing the open concept design characteristic of Mid-Century Modern homes is essential for creating a space that not only looks stylish but also feels spacious and inviting. One key feature of this design approach, prevalent in homes from the 60s and 70s, is the incorporation of a see-through fireplace as you can see Kata installed between the kitchen and living room.

By installing a see-through fireplace, Kata not only added warmth and ambiance to both spaces but also created a visual connection that enhances the flow between them. This architectural element, characteristic of homes from this era, allows for a sense of continuity, breaking down barriers between rooms and promoting cohesion within the home.

Other Elements To Enhance the Open Concept Design Of Your Mid-Century Modern Kitchen

  • Remove Walls: Take down non-load-bearing walls to open up the space and create a seamless flow between the kitchen and adjacent areas like the dining room or living room. 
  • Install a Pass-Through Window: Incorporate a pass-through window between the kitchen and dining area or living room to facilitate communication and create a sense of openness. 
  • Use Sliding Doors or Room Dividers: Install sliding doors or room dividers that can be opened up to connect or close off the kitchen as needed, maintaining flexibility in the layout. 
  • Create a Kitchen Island: Integrate a kitchen island that doubles as a casual dining area or a workspace, providing a central focal point while keeping the space open and airy. 
  • Opt for Minimalist Furnishings: Choose furniture with clean lines and low profiles to maintain sightlines and prevent visual clutter, contributing to the overall openness of the space. 
  • Maximize Natural Light: Incorporate large windows, skylights, or glass doors to flood the kitchen with natural light, enhancing the sense of spaciousness and connection to the outdoors. 
  • Use Consistent Flooring: Extend the same flooring material throughout the open-concept area to create visual continuity and a sense of cohesion between different zones. 
  • Integrate Built-In Storage: Incorporate built-in cabinets or shelving units that blend seamlessly with the surrounding architecture, providing functional storage solutions without encroaching on visual space.

By embracing the principles of open concept design in your Mid-Century Modern kitchen, inspired by homes from the 60s and 70s, you can create a space that not only looks stunning but also fosters a sense of connection and harmony, making it the perfect hub for gathering, entertaining, and everyday living.

8. Minimalist Design Elements

Embrace the minimalist design principles of Mid-Century Modern style by incorporating sleek, uncluttered surfaces and minimalist decor. Choose furnishings and accessories with clean lines, simple shapes, and organic forms to create a cohesive and harmonious look in your kitchen.

By incorporating these key features and design elements into your kitchen, you can create a space that beautifully captures the essence of Mid-Century Modern style while reflecting your personal taste and style.

Thoughtful Restoration

Mid Century Modern Cabinet Doors

Despite the extensive renovations, Kata was devoted in her commitment to honoring the home's era. Incorporating elements like terrazzo tile in the bathrooms and carefully selecting kitchen cabinets reminiscent of traditional Mid-Century aesthetics were pivotal in maintaining authenticity. The choice of two-tone cabinets from Cabinets Now perfectly encapsulated the modern yet timeless vibe she sought, adding depth and character to the space.

Kata's dedication to preserving the essence of Mid-Century design shines through in every detail of this project. While it may have been a laborious endeavor, the result is a testament to her passion and expertise, ensuring that this piece of architectural history remains a vibrant part of the community for years to come. 

Ready to start your kitchen remodel journey? If you are interested in getting a free quote and working with a CabinetNow designer, please fill out our  Free Quote and Design Consult form. For all other questions email us at or give us a call at 1-855-669-5222. We look forward to helping each customer create the space of their dream with our custom cabinets!