Though there’s inspiration to be found in ultra-modern kitchen designs, there’s no denying the inviting charm of a beautifully realized retro kitchen in any home. After all, there’s always joy to be found in the familiar and tried and true. That said, if you’re on board for the latter, creating your own retro kitchen will come with ease with these savvy retro kitchen design ideas that are sure to delight.
And even better, we turned to Décor Aid interior designers to share their wisdom to help you create the retro kitchen of your dreams with some sage advice to keep in mind. Discover our takes on the best retro styles so you can create the perfect retro kitchen design with ease. From a return to wood paneling to graphic checkerboard kitchen floors to the best colors to evoke a vintage feel, here’s a look at everything that you should consider when looking to create your own unique retro kitchen in your home that you’ll enjoy for years to come.
When you think about old-Hollywood films and the rockabilly era, it should come as no surprise that a graphic checkerboard floor is one of the first things you think of when you think of a stylish retro kitchen design. One of the best things is that a checkerboard floor brings with its timeless appeal.
Checkerboard flooring keeps cycling back in popularity, but in general, it always boasts a fresh visual appeal. And since it’s always best to start with flooring in any room refresh as it’ll work as the foundation for the space, you should consider ways to make it unique to you. Checkerboard floors don’t always have to be black and white, so think about interesting color combinations to make yours different. A combination of muted pastels paired together will elicit a fresh feel for years to come.
Pastel Kitchen Cabinets
You can’t claim to have a retro kitchen, without pastel kitchen cabinets to really evoke the romanticized spirit of a bygone era. Pastel kitchen units and cabinetry will add to the vintage feel of your kitchen space, whether you go for blue, green, yellow or pink. Don’t be afraid of subtler, feminine color as it’s a recurring theme when exploring retro kitchen decor ideas.
That said, if you think its too far removed for you, or if you want to make sure that your property retains its value, you can always paint an accent wall in a pretty pastel hue, or you can go for something like a contrasting kitchen island so you won’t have to commit too seriously. Plus, this way, you’ll save yourself the risk of tiring of a single shade used everywhere in a room.
Chrome Finishes And Details
Chrome is often overlooked in retro kitchen design, but it makes for a great way to bring in some much-needed high-shine for some seriously enviable everyday glamor. Chrome chair legs and table legs are an integral part of retro design, as well as chrome details on your appliances and accessories.
But for a more modern and luxurious take, we love how the cabinetry in the kitchen featured above is meticulously lined with elegant chrome for a handsome, grown-up look. This will also work to add strength to the pastel colorways and saccharine prints that lend a retro kitchen its spirit.
If you like the idea of going for a retro kitchen but aren’t sure if its worth the long-term commitment, or are looking for a more transitional design direction, then choosing vintage-style appliances will make for a savvy compromise. Make vintage-inspired appliances a key feature of your kitchen and style the rest of your kitchen to make your appliances the center of attention.
Dark kitchen units look great with a colorful retro-inspired fridge and checkerboard flooring. We’re particularly fond of Smeg’s iconic ’50s inspired range of kitchen appliances that come in a variety of unique, inspiring colors with matte finishes.
If you want your retro kitchen decor to really sing, then you consider investing in well-designed quality lighting that boasts timeless appeal in case you want to refresh your kitchen with a different style. Retro lighting is the perfect way to add bonafide vintage flair in your home.
And while modern lighting will look great juxtaposed with retro-inspired finds, if you are able to source styles inspired by iconic vintage designs, there are plenty of retro-inspired lighting options available at the moment that are affordable to boot. But for an authentic feel, scour local secondhand shops, antique marts, and online dealers for vintage pendant lighting options in vibrant colors and styles from the ’60s and ’70s. Just remember that a retro kitchen calls for ultra-bright lighting, so make sure yours ins’t too moody, and yet, not too clinical either.
Pink isn’t often a color you see in kitchens, but when thinking about a retro kitchen, salmon and sandy pink make for stunning kitchen wall paint colors. A refreshing will pair well with retro kitchen tiles to set a tone that reflects the charm of the mid-century era.
Pink also pairs well with plenty of other colors and its also timeless when its not bright. And it’ll look great teamed with light colored cabinetry and a checkerboard floor.
Wood paneling was so popular throughout the ’40s to the ’70s and is a great way to channel retro kitchen decor. A cult favorite, wood paneling boasts retro appeal to this day. Choose a medium tone wood (nothing too light and nothing too dark) and panel the walls, the kitchen island, and have matching cabinet doors too for a complete look.
When it comes to designing a retro kitchen, do research materials, colors, and finishes to really build a complete look and story with authority.
Small Retro Kitchen Appliances
With stylish small appliances, you can still achieve a spirited retro kitchen without having to go fully old-fashioned decor. Accessorize with a vintage radio and retro-inspired small kitchen appliances, like the chic ones pictured from Smeg above.
Retro-style coffee machines, kettles, and toasters make for great additions to your retro kitchen decor – you can even get hold of retro style blenders and stand mixers easily online. Best of all, they pair well with just about any design style, from the minimal to the traditional.
Retro Kitchen Cabinets
Retro kitchen cabinets may evoke memories at grandmother’s home, and yet they still look timeless thanks to their naive simplicity. And even though they may appear straightforward and a tad basic, they often boast clever amenities like built-in Lazy Susans, sliding doors, and kitchen organizing liners. Making retro kitchen cabinets the perfect option for accessing your most-used kitchen items with ease.
Recreate the look with kitchen cabinetry that features a retro spirit in matte painted colors like mint and a soft pink for the ultimate take on retro kitchen design ideas.
Soothing muted yellow is definitely a color that won’t lock you down in specific retro kitchen ideas that’ll dictate how you style your kitchen. From muted yellow tiles to accessories to kitchen appliances, there’s an endless array of options to consider introducing the color with.
Introducing a lemon yellow vintage-inspired fridge and accessories is a great way of adding retro elements without going overboard with retro design. Plus, it also pairs well with just about any color for a timeless look full of energy.
A Refreshing Muted Green
A popular color throughout the ’50s to the ’70s, muted and lime green is a color were standard colors at the time thanks to their vibrancy and boldness that’s the perfect choice for a kitchen. Muted green cabinets team well with both a black or white countertop with polished chrome edging and white tiles, making for an on-point retro kitchen decor option, as is a terrazzo worktop with contrasting white kitchen cabinetry.
You can also bring in extra color through linens and decorative accessories for added personality.
Retro Kitchen Appliances
By now, you must have noticed sleek retro kitchen fridges rising in popularity, and they add a seriously chic and well-judged note to any home. But retro-inspired flair doesn’t just end with fridges.
You can also easily source affordable retro microwaves, stoves, exhaust hoods, and even dishwashers so you can create the perfect retro kitchen design. And they look even better in unexpected colors for a seriously stylish statement and they’ll double as conversation starters.
As soon as we see a leather bar stool or diner chair in radiant cherry red, we can’t help but think of vintage inspiration. Adding these to your dining space will create an undeniably unique retro feel in your kitchen. Nothing beats cherry red leather and chrome paired together, especially if they are placed on top of a classic checkerboard kitchen floor.
And since it is a bright, energetic color, again, you can opt for a quieter take by bringing in cherry red accessories like mixing bowls, pots, and pans.
Retro Kitchen Accessories
Sourcing genuine vintage kitchen accessories is a sure-fire route to create an enviable retro kitchen – you’ve got all the big items sorted, but now it’s time for the little ones. Keep an eye out for vintage bread bins, tea and coffee storage, weighing scales, cake tins, biscuit tins, and anything else you can think of to help evoke the retro feel, real.
Look out for retro dishes and crockery as well, so you can entertain in grand well-judged vintage style. Make sure you have space to display your retro tableware, especially if you were lucky enough to get your hands on a full set of elegant vintage china.
Vintage-Inspired Patterned Wallpaper
You might not know it just yet, but thanks to technological updates, printed wallpaper has come along way. And for your retro kitchen, we suggest going for a charming printed wallpaper on even just an accent wall for added personality. Wallpaper was very fashionable back then and when creating inspired retro kitchen decor, it’s good to try and be as accurate as possible.
The great thing about wallpaper now, is that you can get it coated in Teflon, so it’s resistant and easy to clean. Available in so many styles, you’ll be able to find the perfect lively retro print for your kitchen. And since its an investment that takes time and money, you should also make sure that you’ll be happy with your selection for years to come.
Pastels were everywhere when it comes to retro kitchen design and a countertop is a great area to introduce soft colors for a modern look. Forgo predictable white marble and solid wood countertops to make your kitchen feel all the more unique.
Make your kitchen memorable with a soothing pastel countertop that’ll pair well with just about any color or finish.
Pull Out Cutting Boards
We have no idea why they aren’t around anymore because it’s certainly a great idea for space saving and using areas neglected, but the pull-out cutting board seems to have stuck firmly in the past. Reinvigorate this idea in your very own retro kitchen ideas – you can’t deny how pleasing it is to slide a cutting board out from under the worktop.
Just be sure that you can easily remove it to clean it so you can avoid any unsightly mold and the ilk.
Kitchen Cabinet Curtains
Kitchen cabinet curtains are the epitome of charming vintage allure and they’re a much more affordable option that cabinet doors when it comes to inspiring retro kitchen decor ideas – they are a fun way of updating your kitchen and they can be done on a budget.
Choose some vintage fabric for your cabinet curtains, like a checked material or a busy floral print. And best of all, as the seasons and your tastes change, you’ll be able to update them for a quick room refresh that just takes minutes. They also save floor space as you can slide them open to retrieve anything needed.
Images via Pinterest