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Design & Inspiration

Tile by Style: Midcentury Modern Kitchen Tile

By Ted Ryan

Tile by Style: Midcentury Modern Kitchen Tile

Tile Shown: Dafodill 2x4 Sheeted // Design: Whit Preston

If names like Knoll and Saarinen get your heart racing or if your drink of choice is a martini, you’ll doubtless love Mid Century Modern kitchen tile. But even if none of these ring a bell, chances are you’re no stranger to this iconic design style that’s come back today in full force.

mid century kitchen with wood cabinets and wood floors

Tile Shown: Tempest 2x6 // Design & Image: Tera Janelle Design

Making waves in the 1940s and reaching the height of its popularity in the 1960s, the staying power of Mid Century Modern design is rooted in nostalgia while still feeling fresh and new. Mid Century Modern architecture is an eclectic mixture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic architecture, the Arts and Crafts movement, and the International and Bauhaus movements.

white and yellow mid century kitchen

Tile Shown: Mustard Seed 2x8 // Design & Image: High and Tight Design

Taking various elements from these movements such as the truth to materials, simplicity in form, and transparency in design, it also incorporates trends of the period like bright colors, bold patterns, and “modern-day” (at least for that time) amenities to achieve an aesthetic that is both contemporary and eclectic.

Mid Century Architectural Elements

open concept mid century modern home with brick fireplace

Tile Shown: Haystack 3x3 Sheeted & Columbia Plateau Standard Brick Tile // Design & Image: Claire Thomas

In order to create a strong relationship between the indoors and the outdoors, Mid Century Modern homes will feature floor-to-ceiling windows and open floor plans to create a seamless transition between the home’s interior and exterior. Held up by post and beam structures, the home will be topped with low sloping gable roofs that appear to echo the surrounding landscape.

open concept mid century kitchen with pendant lights

Tile Shown: Adriatic Sea Scalene Triangle // Design: Gatling Design // Image: Gail Owens

Mid Century Materials

mid century kitchen with velvet counter seating

Tile Shown: Calcite Chaine Homme // Design: Lily Spindle Design // Image: Michele Thomas Photography, Joe Atlas Photography

A blend of industrial building materials and natural elements common in the Arts and Crafts movement are frequently found in Mid Century Modern exteriors and interiors. Exposed steel beams, sheet metal walls, concrete slabs, and stone foundations might comprise the exterior, while wood floors are finished to highlight the natural beauty of the grain.

Tile for the Mid Century Modern Kitchen

kitchen dry bar with mid century accents

Tile Shown: Jade Ogee Drop Design: Jared Zimmerman & Shannon Badiee // Image: Aerial Canvas

There are a variety of ways to put your stamp on Mid Century Modern kitchen. Despite Mid Century Modern’s sleek lines and minimalist details, its beauty lies in its versatility. By mixing in a hint of pattern and a splash of color, a beautiful mid-century modern kitchen tile installation can incorporate just the right amount of retro flair while still staying true to the iconic design’s core principles.

Color

What’s Mid Century Modern without a little mod-inspired funk? When it comes to color, really anything goes. Kitchen backsplashes are the best place to showcase our personality, especially when it’s contrasting with seamless, unframed cabinetry.

mid century kitchen with yellow honeycomb backsplash

Tile Shown: Tuolumne Meadows Hexite // Design: Next Stage Design // Image: Scott Dubose

Patterns

For purists who want to stay true to Mid Century Modern’s sleek and streamlined aesthetic, a straight set design maintains order and echoes modular silhouettes. An extension of the surrounding cabinetry, this kitchen’s white backsplash feels like an extension of the straight lines found throughout the home.

eichler kitchen with petrol blue backsplash

Tile Shown: Tempest 2x8 // Design & Image: Destination Eichler

A splash of color can lighten the mood and keep a Mid Century Modern kitchen from feeling too rigid. We love how our tile in Daffodil brings a sunny air to this sleek space.

white and yellow mid century kitchen with counter seating

Tile Shown: Daffodil Hexite // Design: Method Homes // Image: Alex Farrell

Straight-set can also come in different shapes like squares. Here, it accentuates the retro look of this vintage-inspired kitchen without feeling dated.

midcentury kitchen with terrazzo counters

Tile Shown: Haystack 3x3 Sheeted // Design & Image: Claire Thomas

Mosaics

Reminiscent of Bauhaus cubism, mosaics feel right at home during the Mid Century Modern era.

white mid century kitchen with bold blue backsplash

Tile Shown: Azul Small Diamond Sheeted // Design: Destination Eichler // Image: John Shum, Destination Eichler

A diamond Escher pattern gives a three-dimensional effect to the backsplash with high contrast grout and a bold glaze color.

Go Graphic

grey mid century kitchen with retro hand painted tile

Tile Shown: Neutral Motif River Rock // Install: Amie Neff - Capable Design

Graphic design took an innovative turn from the 1930s onwards, and its influence can be seen in Mid Century Modern’s bold shapes and high-impact hues. So don’t be afraid to hold back when it comes to pattern and color--you’ll be staying true to Mid Century Modern style while breaking up the straight lines that dominate its structural elements.

AIH_Development__Kitchen__Ogee_Drop__Photographer_Shooting_LA__White_Wash_1049_700.jpg

Tile Shown: Ogee Drop in White Wash // Design: AIH Development // Image: Shooting LA

We love how this Escher pattern in blue simply pops against the kitchen’s neutral cabinetry.

bright eichler kitchen with floor to ceiling windows

Tile Shown: Tiki Blue Small Diamond Sheeted // Design & Image: Destination Eichler

Flooring

With backsplashes making such a big statement, you’ll want to keep things rather calm underfoot. Large format tile, concrete and hardwood are all great choices for your mid-century modern kitchen.

skylit mid century kitchen with aqua backsplash and orange oven

Tile Shown: Glacier Bay Hexite // Design: Lindsey Engler Interiors // Image: Kelly Ann Photography

Ready to order tile for your Mid Century Modern kitchen? Order free tile samples now. Need some help? Simply call, chat, or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly.

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