Guest Post – Mid-Century Modern Kitchens

Another guest poster today, guys!  Aimee Claire has written a great article about my favorite design style – Mid-Century modern.  LOVE IT!  I’d like every single one of the things pictured below.  So Aimee…take it away!!!

‘Mid-century modern’ refers to a specific design style that became prevalent after World War II and was evident in much of the prevailing high quality furniture, architecture and accessories of the period 1933-65. Now recognized worldwide as a significant design movement, Carla Greenberg celebrated the style in her book Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s, which was published in 1983.

With the war over, the mood worldwide was generally exuberant and like everybody else designers experienced a renewed sense of hope and freedom, which translated into homes that could be built quickly and simply and were attractive with clean lines, and furniture that was strongly defined and relatively cheap to produce, with curves or geometric shapes rather than ornate detailing and decoration.

European influences

Danish modern

It happens that Scandinavian design was very popular mid-century and one style in particular, ‘Danish modern’, became part of the mid-century modern vintage style of furniture. Presently enjoying something of a revival in the US, it was developed initially via collaboration between cabinetmakers and architects. Manufacturers in America were first licensed in the early 1950s to mass-produce Danish designs, retaining the same high standards of skill and craftsmanship. Iconic tables, chairs, cabinets, tableware, glassware and lighting were blended together to create stylish décor for every room in the house.

Kitchen preferences

Mid Century kitchens

To create a mid-century modern kitchen, there are a wide range of options depending on personal taste and preference. Furniture made from wood, for example, can often be light colored. Although walnut, teak and oak were popular choices from which very smooth and stylish kitchen cabinets were manufactured, post-war supplies were not plentiful and many kitchen cabinets were made from teak plywood on a beech frame. In fact, manufacturers and designers used a wide range of wooden material, including bamboo.

Alternatively, bright pastel shades or bold primary colors were also used for cabinet doors and kitchen tables and chairs, and dressed with appropriate accessories to great effect.

With sleek clean lines mid-century modern kitchens often have showpiece features, such as ‘floating’ wall cabinets or partly transparent room dividers for an open-plan effect. Countertops are sometimes white or a pale sandy beige to complement darker wood. Kitchen chairs tend to be minimalist with slim lines and curved backs and are sometimes stackable.

Accessorize your kitchen

Pendant lights

To get the look and feel of a mid-century kitchen try hanging pendant lamps to soften the glare of overhead lighting. Poul Henningsen famously designed a range of lamps with curved shades – the PH lamps – that remain popular today. Add splashes of color with table linen, tea towels, oven mitts, aprons and potholders in shades from the same palette as the central features such as cabinets and tables.


Wall-mounted kitchen clocks in a sunburst or star design are an attractive addition, as are brightly colored trays and tumblers sporting diagonal stripes or other geometric shapes. Artwork should also focus on straight lines, square and circles, perhaps picking up the colors of the floor or ceiling. Classic storage jars lined up on the countertop will add a lovely finishing touch.

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 7, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

    Love this post and I want everything in those pictures too.
    Thanks for sharing Lizzie and for having guest Aimee Claire describe they style we all love these days.