Adding retro elements to your kitchen is a smart way to give it a unique look. If you want your kitchen to stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, going retro is the way to go.
In this blog, we’ll share some eye-catching retro kitchen ideas you can try for your next home renovation. By the end, you’ll know exactly how to design your dream space.
1. Experiment with colors
Modern kitchens are often painted in neutral colors. By comparison, retro kitchens can be in pastel shades or vibrant hues. Maintain visual balance by using a neutral color for 60% of the room, then a statement color for 40%, and then an accent color for the last 10%.
2. Go bold with the patterns
Same with colors, don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns. You can pick patterned window treatments, unique backsplashes, and more.
One suggestion is to use patterned vinyl tiles. These scuff-resistant tiles are great at giving kitchens an authentic retro feel. Pair the tile flooring with a graphic wallpaper to create an even greater visual impact.
3. Use retro furniture and appliances
Retro furniture is a must for retro-themed kitchens. One suggestion is to add chrome-edged tables with matching chairs. This will create a cool 1950s diner vibe.
Aside from furniture, try adding retro-style kitchen appliances, as well. These appliances usually come with rounded corners and a candy shade. Toasters, kettles, and refrigerators are usually available in these funky retro styles.
4. Recreate an old-school kitchen
Recreate a quintessential English Rose kitchen by using red laminate countertops and cream cabinets. This design was common in the UK as a way to make use of excess aluminum that the British had stockpiled during World War II. If you can find and restore original units, the better. But a cheaper alternative is to look for anything similar and try to imitate the retro icon.
5. Add a classic breakfast bar
Building a breakfast bar can be a great way to make your kitchen feel like a classic 1950s diner. Pick tile for the countertop material to give it a more evocative retro vibe compared to natural stone. Complete the look with padded stools with polished chrome bases. A skilled draftsman can help you design the space.
6. Get creative with the backsplash
Modern kitchens often have a muted backsplash fitted with subway tiles set horizontally or in a herringbone pattern. Retro kitchens, on the other hand, favor boldly patterned tiles.
Feel free to choose from a variety of patterns: arabesque, diamond, hexagons, mosaic, and more. If you want to get a little more creative, you can try using hand-painted designer tiles, as well.
7. Install old-school shelves
Nothing exudes a nostalgic vibe like rounded cabinets and kitchen islands. These rounded edges give kitchens a softer look and feel, perfect for people who hate bumping into hard edges. This is a sharp contrast to modern kitchens, which often come with harsh and clean lines.
Don’t forget the little details, either. Add chrome cabinet pulls and drawer knobs to give your kitchen a more vintage retro feel.
8. Decorate with sentimental prints
Decorating your kitchen with framed art pieces from yesteryears is sure to help you achieve the retro look. Consider adding old movie posters, vintage advertisements, or anything that helps you remember the good old days.
9. Use melamine dinnerware
Going for a complete retro kitchen vibe means you have to carry the theme from the fixtures down to the pots, pans, and dinnerware.
With that said, consider using melamine dinnerware and crockery in fun colors like pinks, reds, or blues. Not only do they look and feel wonderful, but they’re also extremely lightweight and durable. These delightful products were popular in the 1940s through the 1970s because of the low cost of production during that time.
10. Go for granny chic
If you want to give your kitchen a traditional feel, how about decorating with rustic furniture, fine china, and floral fabrics? This classic granny chic combo will bring out the best in a traditional-style home.
To prevent the combination from feeling dated, consider mixing old and new. One suggestion is to repaint an heirloom dresser with a trendy new color like dark blue or gray.
11. Use old-school clocks, scales, and timers
Retro clocks and food scales can give your kitchen a charming personality. Try to look for ones that complement or match the color of the rest of your appliances.
Design your retro kitchen today
A retro kitchen has a distinctive feel and personality. Make your kitchen the highlight of your home by adding the elements we mentioned above.
Check out: 7 Budget-Friendly Kitchen Renovation Ideas