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A Fresh Look at Mid-Century Kitchens

Kitchens today tend to lean towards one extreme or the other; clean and minimalist or rustic, country-charm. As homeowners look to extend their homes or knock through walls to create open-plan kitchen-diners, the simple yet functional kitchen is a thing of the past. With this in mind, homeowners have more scope to get creative with their designs and styling, expressing their unique personalities and ideas.


A design somewhat overlooked in recent years; the mid-century has begun to make a comeback, with rich materials and colours no longer feeling overcrowded in a cramped environment. Characterised by dark, natural tones contrasting against stark white, the modern Mid-Century kitchen is the perfect bridge between minimalism and homely.


As the name suggests, the Mid-Century movement began between the 40s and 60s as the natural progression of modernism. It's rooted in ideas of functionality, elegance and simplicity together as one; however, furniture and kitchens were mass-produced in order to be widely accessible and affordable for the average homeowner.


After taking a long hiatus from the kitchen catwalk, making way for Postmodernism and subsequent trends, Mid-Century Modern has made a rapid comeback recently, thanks in part to shows such as Mad Men. Based in a similar era, the props and scenes are utterly Mid-Century, depicting a sleek and cool lifestyle for the charismatic and affluent.


Mid-Century Modern kitchens are clean and uncluttered, leaning more into a minimalistic style. The natural materials used such as walnut or cherry are left bare, allowing the grain of the wood to take centre stage. These rich tones bring a welcome warmth to the design, contrasting against the stark white of worksurfaces or walls, which are a classic staple of the style.

Contrasting is a classic Mid-Century feature, with designers often using two tones from opposite sides of the colour wheel to create a striking juxtaposition. Manufactured materials such as plastic and vinyl often make exciting appearances as furniture legs or, in a kitchen, as cabinetry handles. Multiple combinations are rarely seen; instead, two often surprising materials or colours are used together, and it's this simplicity which gives Mid-Century Modern its unique style.


Soft edges and smooth curves are a classic Mid-Century feature, with kidney-shaped furniture prominently displayed in every living room of the 50s. An oblong or rounded island is the perfect way to add a touch of Mid-Century magic to a kitchen, along with streamlined, one-piece stools, which are typical of this era (you know, the ones you don't entirely trust not to snap if you lean back).


Mid-Century Modern is making a powerful comeback amongst kitchen and home interiors alike, thanks to its strong ideas of functionality, simplicity and smooth curves. The warmth of the wood against the cold, man-made synthetics create beautiful contrasts of materials not seen in many other styles throughout the years.