How to recreate a vintage style kitchen

Design & Decor Ideas

Each vintage era brings with it a unique style; the 1920s were a time of simplicity and function; the post-war 1950s used pretty pastels and innovative technology; and the 1970s introduced strikingly bold colour and design.

In this guide, we'll look back at some of the best-loved trends from the past 100 years that you can implement into your vintage inspired kitchen – whilst maintaining the convenience and reliability of the modern kitchen, of course!

vintage two tone kitchen

Simply British: 1920s kitchen design

Whilst the Roaring Twenties may be best remembered as the era of art deco and stylish decadence, kitchens of the time were more simplistic. For the average British family, the kitchen was the main common room of the home, meaning it needed to provide plenty of space for socialising, as well as practicality for cooking.

Those looking to take influence from this era should aim to create a simple and streamlined design that focuses on the joy of cooking as part of family time.

Wooden units in shaker or inset design are a must, with cream or white being the best on-trend shades of choice. Worktops should also be wooden, with oak or walnut being a traditional option.

vintage kitchen with copper tap

Larder kitchens were a staple of the 1920s kitchen too, so consider installing one into your kitchen.

When it comes to recreating a vintage style kitchen of this era, a large ceramic sink is an absolute must.– Spacious and practical, the style is hardwearing, as well as being in line with the design of the kitchen overall. A range cooker is recommended for keeping the look of the kitchen consistent, as these appliances have maintained a traditional design throughout the years.

Kitchen accessories should be simple and practical. A copper or stainless steel stovetop kettle is a subtle touch that helps to keep the room on trend. Heavy-bottom pans are also in keeping with the design, whilst crockery should be simple and elegant.

A chalkboard, to keep track of ingredients needed or tasks for the day, is a classic touch to finish your vintage inspired kitchen, whilst wildflowers and home-grown herbs should sit on the windowsill.

Americana dream: 1950s kitchen design

1950s Americana is best remembered for its striking and bold design, which is best seen through the advertising and branding of the time. The kitchens were similarly eye-catching, with colourful units, counters and appliances – vastly different from the pre-war design of simplicity and function.

To recreate this look, consider coloured units in a gloss or matt effect finish. Blue quartz and China blue are particularly flattering, as a subtle nod to the trend without overwhelming the room. These colours can either be applied to all of the units, or to a kitchen island to create a statement.

two tone pastel blue and pink kitchen

For 1950s vintage kitchens, worktops should be bright and glossy; Aspen ice quartz will create a striking effect, while champagne ice in the same material will contribute to a consistent pastel effect throughout the room.

Choose cooking appliances in shades of pastel to help keep the room consistently on trend. 1950s style also focussed on modern and futuristic technology, so adding contemporary, technologically advanced cookers, microwaves and fridges will suit the room.

Decorations and accessories are an easy way to bring the vintage kitchen theme to the forefront. Retro posters for brands such as Coca Cola are iconic and instantly recognisable; pastel kitchen appliances are also a fun throwback, especially when showcased with electric whisks, standalone mixers, and baking equipment.

Funky retro: 1970s kitchen ideas

Perhaps one of the most iconic looks from the 20th century is the interior design style of the 1970s. Intense colours can be found throughout the homes of this era, especially in the kitchen.

To recreate this vintage style kitchen with a modern twist, take inspiration from the colour palette of the time across worktops and units. Wooden or gloss units in China yellow are a subtle nod to the decade, with American walnut worktops incorporating the deep browns of the trend.

vintage yellow and white kitchen

Alternatively, keep the majority of the room light with white or cream units, and make a statement with a raven or chocolate coloured kitchen island.

Tiling is a must for recreating this style. Choose a striking design that takes influence from the psychedelic designs of the time, with shades of cream, yellow and brown or, for a modern interpretation, in monochrome black and white. These look best when used minimally, ideally as a statement wall behind the main preparation and cooking area, such as around the oven and hob.

As with most vintage designs, range cookers are best suited to a 1970s themed kitchen, ideally in a shade of cream or soft yellow. Lighting design was just as bold as everything else in the era, so choose low hanging dome shades, placed over the centre of the room.

Accessories are the best avenue for adding the final retro touch to the room. Bright and colourful storage jars and crockery are great additions, whilst glass accessories such as a cafetière, teapot and pots and pans are on trend.

Vintage touches across the kitchen, whether through the units and worktops, or accessories and appliances, can make the room feel warm and welcoming. Kitchen design from the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s are still iconic today, and can be easily achieved using modern amenities and products, creating the perfect vintage kitchen – without the old-fashioned hassle!

Browse our full range of kitchens to get inspired and, if you need a little extra help from the experts, get in touch to book your free consultation. Alternatively, to bring your vintage kitchen ideas to life, try our free online kitchen planner.