Kitchen Decorating: Designing a Retro or Vintage Style Kitchen

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While some decorating themes go out of style, many come back in with a vengeance!  Today, a retro 1950’s style kitchen is back and better than ever.  Known for a clean look and bright colors, the look brings to mind those old diners like those featured in the television show Happy Days and the movie American Graffiti.  If you are looking to give your kitchen a vintage look, the tips and ideas below will help.

First things first

Before you get down to the details, your retro style kitchen should be open, bright and airy so you want to avoid clutter.  Remove those things you do not use on a regular basis, and put the knick-knacks away.

Instead of wooden cabinet doors, replace them with glass fronts so that you can put your old or vintage dishes on display.  A checkerboard pattern on the floor designed with black and white tiles is appealing and adds to the retro look.  Consider adding a mezzanine so that one area of your kitchen is elevated, complete with two or three steps for easy access to that level.

The dining room is plain and simple

The dining furnishings used in a 1950’s setting are simple and often crafted of vinyl, Formica and chrome.  If you have a bar area suitable for eating, add red vinyl stools for sitting.  A Formica topped table flanked with vinyl seating and chrome tube legs adds further authenticity to the look.  The look is modern and clean.  If you want to cover the table with a tablecloth, vinyl in a checked red and white pattern or solid color adds to the look.  Top with a white vase filled with red and white flowers, and an old-style chrome napkin holder.

Appliances may be hard to find, but don’t despair

Finding those appliances that were actually made in the 1950’s may prove a difficult task, and it would be especially hard to find them in condition to work and that you can depend upon.

There are plenty of vintage-style pieces you can find that were made in recent years but designed to look like those from the 50’s.  To really accomplish the retro look, find stoves and refrigerators in bright colors such as red or yellow.

Decorate the walls to complete the look

For the walls, nothing is better for achieving a retro 1950’s look than a chalkboard, complete with the menu for the day.  Old tin signs add further to the appeal; find some large black and white photographs or prints and frame them in black or chrome.

Accessorize your kitchen with a vintage inspired toaster, blender and canister set.  Display clear milk shake glasses in your cabinets, along with a few clear glass coffee mugs on a hanging rack.  If you have the money, go all the way and invest in a juke box!

Always keep in mind that black, white and red are the basic colors when it comes to giving your kitchen a 1950’s retro look.  Have fun with it!

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