The idea of mixing something from the midcentury with something modern sounds absurd to most ears. But, as the current kitchen design trends, dominated by cool colors, silver-tipped light bulbs, and colorful kitchen tiles have shown us, this is something very much doable.

So, what is midcentury modern European kitchen design? This is a kitchen design pattern where the emphasis is laid on wide-open spaces, clean lines, splashes of wood and color or graphic patterns, and, in some instances, the integration of nature into your kitchen.

In its pure form, the midcentury modern European kitchen design employs the honest use of materials. This means that decorations and embellishments are kept at a bare minimum. Also, this is the design that birthed the open floor plan kitchen.

So, how can you tinker around with it? The possible designs of the midcentury modern European kitchen are not written in stone. Rather, staying true to the original, traditional European kitchen architecture, there are a lot of avenues through which you can add personality to your design.

Even better, midcentury modern kitchen design ideas can work well whether you’re building from scratch, or doing a remodeling of your kitchen.

How? That’s what you’ll find out in this piece. So, read on.

1. Go with Metal Cabinets


Metal cabinets were the first cabinets to be used in the midcentury modern design kitchen. This happened thanks to the surge in demand for steel after World War II. Demand for these cabinets faded towards the 60s when wood cabinets finally made a powerful entry into the market.

However, to date, some manufacturers still produce authentic, retro versions of metal cabinets for mid century modern design purists. Alternatively, you can hunt for vintage originals, which you can later recoat and repaint.

2. Try the Galley


Some historians argue that the galley was among the first midcentury modern European kitchen designs. These kitchens were not truly open plan kitchens. Still, the construction was done in such a way that the galleys provided a sense of connection between the kitchen and the rest of the interior space.

The galley style is also considered to be one of the most efficient kitchen designs. The long space and counters running along each side provide ample space and a nice flow from the kitchen to other spaces.

Despite not being the current in-thing, the galley can still look spectacular. You can still experiment with open floor plan kitchen options such as wood and marble, or neat patterns on the backsplash tiles.

3. Extend the Curves to the Furniture


One of the key features of midcentury modern kitchen designs is smooth flowing lines and curves. These are prevalent in cabinets, colors, and even accessories used in the kitchen.

What about the furniture? If you want to nail this design, you should extend these curves to the furniture too. You can shop for new furniture, or order new ones to be made that follow a line or curve pattern in your kitchen. This will allow the furniture to blend in with the rest of the place, creating a homogenous design feel.

So, where should you put these lines or curves? The arms, legs, and back of chairs, for instance, are perfect areas. However, you should be careful not to overdo things. Minimalism is a key aspect of this design.

4. Mix Wood and Marble


In the heart of midcentury modern kitchen designs is the authentic use of natural materials. And if you want to get an edgy looking kitchen, a mix of wood and marble is the way to go.

For instance, you can use Walnut veneer with a lacquer gloss finish on the kitchen cabinets, drawers, and other storage areas. The Walnut gives a natural feel to the space, with the gloss adding a modern touch to the entire design.

On the other hand, you can have the countertops made out of marble. Carrara marble, for instance, can be great for the island. Then, assuming you have an L-shaped orientation, the perimeter can have Absolute Black Granite for the countertops. Just make sure that the marbles are also honed so that they aesthetically blend with the glossy Walnut veneer.

5. Try Flooring with Natural Stones


In its purest form, the mid century modern European kitchen design featured natural stones for the flooring. This set the tone for the entire kitchen space, and thus the midcentury, modern design architecture of minimalism and authentic use of natural materials.

Ideally, your choice of flooring should be either slate, terrazzo, bluestone, or travertine. These are among the original stones used for flooring these kitchens. And yes, they can be quite expensive.

So, what other options can you explore? Cork and wood. These are still considered natural materials that can provide an authentic, midcentury, modern look to your kitchen. Plus, they’re more affordable compared to their stone counterparts.

The key thing to note if you decide to use either cork or wood is that the grain should be subtle. Plus, the tone should be something medium.

6. Get back to Flat Front Cabinets


Before the midcentury modern European kitchen design lost its popularity a few years back, flat front cabinets were the in-thing. Then, most interior designers swung away in favor of decorated cabinets with trim panels, as the mid century modern design lost its fame.

But now, the flock is coming back. Flat front cabinets are, according to midcentury modern kitchen design purists, the only style of cabinets that can work well with a midcentury modern kitchen design.

Otherwise known as slab door cabinets, flat front cabinets look sleeker, are cheaper to produce, and blend perfectly with the design theme of the mid century modern kitchen – natural, simplistic, and minimalistic.

You can even try some of the trending kitchen cabinet colors for 2020, including white, gray, blue, two-toned cabinets, and the more natural-looking option, wood stained cabinets.

7. Laminate the Countertops


Aren’t laminates tacky and ugly? 

Well, that was the perception. Today, with improvements in manufacturing processes, laminates are back bigger, better, and more stylish. Plus, they’re the material you should be going for in case you have little love for stones, or you find granite and marble as too expensive.

Laminates come in various colors that blend nicely with a midcentury modern European kitchen design. These include current, trendy kitchen colors such as sea green, black, and mixed wood tones. Plus, thanks to better manufacturing processes today, laminates are more durable than they initially were.

The design variations have also improved, with some companies offering laminates that mimic certain natural materials or stones, for a more authentic look. And for the ones that don’t, the colors are still perfect enough to blend nicely with wood, and tiles.

8. Try Glass Tiles for the Backsplash


The kitchen backsplash also plays a huge role in creating the overall tone of the kitchen. And for a midcentury modern European kitchen design, glass tiles can be the perfect choice for a natural stone-themed kitchen.

You can use glass tiles for the backsplash. The countertops can be made out of white quartz. To break the white monotony, you can incorporate a wood-plank ceramic tile for the floor. This floor is highly recommended in case you have a pet.

Given how white the kitchen can get with this design, you need a slight dash of colors on the kitchen equipment to tone things down a little bit. For instance, you can have an orange stove, and a simple wallpaper at the bar area to add color to the glass tiles backsplash.

Plus, since midcentury modern design is based on the idea of bringing nature into your kitchen space, you can add a green potted plant right next to the kitchen island as a final touch.

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Lisa Pogue
Lisa is a talented interior designer and writer with a passion for transforming kitchens into stunning and functional spaces. Her extensive experience in the home improvement industry allows her to provide readers with expert advice and creative ideas. Lisa's writing is both informative and inspiring, helping homeowners navigate their renovation projects with confidence. When she's not writing, Lisa loves baking and trying out new recipes in her stylish kitchen.