Creating Your Retro Kitchen

August 9, 2017

Today it seems as if everything old is new again. This can be especially true when it comes to designing or remodeling a modern kitchen. The rage for retro has reached an almost fevered pitch with reproductions of vintage items that would have graced homes in the 1950’s and 60’s.

While some appreciate the smooth, clean lines of modern cabinets, there are those who simply love the look of the past. Today, it’s entirely possible to have a kitchen that looks like the one you grew up with or remember from your parents’ or your grandmother’s house and yet have all of the modern appliances and conveniences of today.

Going Back in Time

Today, appliances can be made to look as if they came right out of a showroom decades ago. Elmira Stove Works (  and Big Chill ( ) are companies that have created entire lines of appliances in retro color schemes to fit any style of taste and decor. These appliances offer all of the conveniences and safety features of today, and yet show off a vintage style on the outside. When sitting among retro-styled cabinets and vintage-looking countertop, a bygone era can be impeccably recreated.  

It’s also possible to lay your hands on vintage appliances that are still operable or reconditioned.  A vintage 1950’s stove (, for example, can be found online. Set inside a kitchen that is complete with an antique chrome table and matching chairs ( definitely gives a vintage feel.  Flooring can be done in polished hard wood or floor tiles made of PVC that looks like linoleum from the era of the 1940’s and 50’s.

Achieving the Vintage Look in Your Kitchen

Getting that retro look is fairly simple today because of the popularity of antiquing and auctions and because many of the color palettes, prints and looks are reappearing at home centers and big box stores.

It can be a blast from the past to be able to cook a meal made on a stove that looks like grandma’s old wood stove with just a fraction of the effort. Today, models that look like the nickel plated beauties ( )from the turn of the last century feature gas, electric or even induction cook tops.

Shaker style cabinetry, for example, is the most versatile of all cabinet styles. It can be made to look the way you want in order to suit your design taste by adding paint or finishes to suit the look you want. A single or double bead cabinet door can give a finished retro look reminiscent of the Craftsman era.  

No matter the base cabinet style, its entire look can be changed to suit the décor just by simply finding the right finish or even just by switching out the hardware. Half-moon or cup drawer pulls or stainless steel handles found in a salvage or second hand shop can complete the feel of a bygone era. Add touches such a collection of vintage tins, red-enamel handled kitchen utensils, brightly colored radios, clocks or other kitsch to suit the era and you’ve succeeded in bringing the retro look into your own home.


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