Mid Century Modern Furniture and Design

6 tips to blend contemporary and MCM in your kitchen |

Hello beautiful friends,

It was raining that afternoon in Massachusetts; I was looking out the kitchen window, staring at the backyard, trying to find inspiration for my next blog post, when I remembered that I had been recently asked the following question: “What do we need in our kitchen to blend contemporary and MCM?” 

This couple had a medium size kitchen, they were looking to do some renovation and didn’t know where to start. All they could think was Mid Century Modern kitchen = avocado green tile and appliances. And that is not what they wanted.

So if you are also looking for guidance here are my 6 tips on how to blend contemporary and MCM styles in a kitchen. 

  1. Cabinet style: even though there are a lot of options of cabinetry styles I would suggest simplify with these 2 options:
  • Shaker style
  • Flat front (Foto Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116690207/)


2. Cabinet color: here there are infinite options and even though recently we have seen that people are taking more risk with color in the kitchen. I can say with confidence that the MCM period did it all first. In the 40’s cherry red cabinet kitchens were in vogue, in the 50’s pastel pink, baby blue, mint green, yellow and lilac were the best, in the 60’s and 70’s bright yellow, orange and greens. Anyhow, you get my point.  Since this post is to help you simplify your decisions and not a custom design, the foolproof options are:

  • If you like wood cabinets go for medium tone of wood or a light tone of wood, think maple, honey, pine, and oak.
  • If you like dark wood like walnut, rosewood, or cherry, choose one or 2 cabinets to be an accent in a light color kitchen. If you do the entire cabinets in dark wood it will feel like a dark hole.
  • If you like 2 tone cabinets go with wood and white
  • If you like color cabinets go with a warm yellow (even though I would have to see your particular kitchen to recommend something specifically, I believe that a warm yellow can brighten any kitchen)



Photo credit: (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116918071/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116667533/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116667542/)

3. Backsplash: to me the backsplash is the most playful area out of all the kitchen surfaces. Because even though it is something that you attach to the walls and it could be considered “fixed or permanent” the average size of a backsplash for today’s standards is between 25-65sqft so it could be many things depending on how much attention you want to call to it. And if you go overboard and choose bright and bold colors for it, in a few years you can always change it with “minimal investment and disruption” compared to new cabinetry, appliances, etc.

Here are your options for the backsplash:

  • As an accent: choose a bold pattern in bright colors
  • As a neutral area to rest the eye from colorful cabinets; here I would definitely go for a white or cream color tile in a matte or low shine 
  • As part of the countertop: I absolutely love this look, the current trend is in marble but in the MCM period it would have been in tile with tile countertops or in metal or wood paneling. 

Photo Credit: (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AQjf6yiMvvk98vtxoJ3vxYnasvqmHv9SRbyYTcaQH_hid7LoAfQtXI0/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116592696/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116558407/)


4. Countertops: Here I would say the Mid Century Modern preference would be tile, formica or wood. But in order to bring the design up to date a little bit more I would say go with quartz. You can have durability, great aesthetics and almost none of the maintenance in comparison with other materials. For example:

  • Compared to granite: it doesn’t require to be treated
  • Compared to marble: looks like it but generally less expensive and it doesn’t require as much maintenance
  • Stain resistant

Photo credit (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/703756180998778/)

5. Flooring: One of the surfaces that they put a lot of attention to in the MCM period was the flooring options of the kitchen. If you remember I have mentioned before that linoleum was one of the hottest trends back then and this allowed the options of pattern and color to be greater than before. There are tons of options out there to create a unique look for your kitchen, however, one of the favorite ones is still hardwood or vinyl planking that looks like hardwood or ceramic. I would recommend a medium tone wood or marble.

Photo credit (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615105637778/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615115963301/)

6. Accent walls: I love finding that one wall in the kitchen that would allow you to incorporate pattern or color. Take a look around and think, can I add some color to this wall? If so, then add a contrasting color to the rest of the walls. 

Photo credit: (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116520783/)(https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116520730/)


Below are 3 examples of updated kitchens that successfully blended Contemporary Elements with MCM style.

Photo credit: (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/350014202291249863/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116839907/) (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/497225615116520754/)


And that is all she wrote! 

I hope you found this post useful, if you need help to refresh your home I am here for you. I can help you create a color pallet, a new furniture layout or just a different perspective on your space. As always if you enjoyed this blog please subscribe and share it with your friends. Even if they are not into MCM they will get something useful out of it. And we will love to see them here. My opinions and suggestions are based on my experiences and are not meant to be offensive or mean.




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