Mid-century modern has never been more popular. And that’s because homeowners and renters want a modern style that’s also warm and full of personality. Add mid-century modern elements to your small kitchen design ideas to enlarge and brighten your small space and put fun back into cooking!

Small kitchen design ideas and elements

Cool, modern and with a touch of whimsy, this small kitchen looks larger than its footprint thanks to the high ceilings. Image: HGTV

Let’s review the basics on mid-century design and why it works for a small kitchen:

  • Pastels and bright, vibrant colors add life to a small kitchen by brightening it and giving it a cheerful vibe.
  • The minimalist open space concept of tall ceilings, fewer walls or open shelving makes a small kitchen look larger and removes some of the heaviness dark cabinets can create.
  • Wood adds value and a warm, earthy feel.
  • Fun, quirky retro or vintage accessories and appliances put fun back into a small kitchen design.

Check out these beautiful mid-century modern small kitchen design ideas:

Small kitchen breakfast nooks

Breakfast banquettes were big in their heyday. Take a small corner and create your own as a cozy breakfast and homework spot. Image: McKinney York Architects

Retro wallpaper that coordinates with the bench vinyl adds a spot for loved ones in this mid-century modern small kitchen. Image: Elle Decor

Bright colors for a small kitchen design

Turquoise, golden yellow and orange are striking and cheerful colors for a small mid-century modern kitchen. Images: Elle Decor

Add color to your small kitchen design via bold, geometric backsplash tiles. Image: Finch London

A two-tone combination of chartreuse green and turquoise works well with both wood tones and stainless steel appliances. Image: Loop Design

Pastels to brighten your small kitchen

Light buttercream yellow cabinets look modern and expand the space in this mid-century inspired kitchen. Image: Karen Garlanger Designs

High gloss cabinets in a retro aqua shade reflect light and expand the space in this small kitchen. Image: Interiors by Maite Granda

Small kitchen ideas featuring wood and bamboo

This mid-century modern small kitchen is sophisticated thanks to matte black finishes and bamboo cabinets. Image: Designed Space

The homeowners restored the original wood cabinets by stripping them from years of paint. Image: M3LD Designs

Grain matched walnut cabinets give this mid-century style kitchen a high-end look. Image: The Jack+Mare Design and Build

Light oak cabinets flow beautifully with the pale celadon tiles of this small mid-century modern kitchen design. Image: Freedom Kitchens

Small kitchen design ideas with an open concept

The most effective way to turn a small kitchen into an open, airy space is by raising the ceilings and getting rid of unnecessary walls and wall cabinets. Image: Becca Stephens

A minimalist galley-style kitchen opens up to the rest of the living area. Image: Plan It Green

Opening up a kitchen using wall cutouts and adding a small counter area can expand a small kitchen’s feel. Image: Monroe Design

When working with an open-plan kitchen space, continue the mid-century modern decor into the adjoining rooms. Image: NJW Construction

A custom floating shelf divides the small kitchen area and offers a place to display items. Image: General Assembly

Add fun with accessories and appliances

A vintage refrigerator adds retro personality to a contemporary kitchen. Image: Studio BMK

Bertoia inspired barstools and retro appliances in turquoise add the mid-century chic vibe to a minimalist grey kitchen. Image: Flipping Diaries

A collection of colorful glass vases and a sunburst clock give this small contemporary kitchen a mid-century vibe. Image: Creative Interior Designs

Red accessories are great additions in this turquoise and white kitchen. Image: Tammara Stroud Designs

Kitchen appliances in vintage colors and shapes reinforce the retro feel of the small kitchen. Image: HGTV

Turquoise is perhaps the most popular mid-century modern design color. Add some turquoise accents to your contemporary kitchen to personalize it. Image: Knock Knock

Want more small kitchen decorating ideas for a minimalist and modern kitchen? Check out How to Free Up Counter Space in Your Small Kitchen.