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Vintage Kitchen

May 12, 2021 | Updated on: January 31, 2022

It’s a common theme for old things to become new again and the same applies to retro or vintage decor trends. Styles and trends repeat themselves at some point and for kitchen decor, you might believe that there is an obvious difference between a homey kitchen from the mid-20th century and one with a modern design that is often seen today. However, most design and decor elements have simply evolved over time and now they’re considered to be standard. This especially applied to retro vintage kitchen styles.

retro vintage kitchen

You can design a stunning vintage-style kitchen while incorporating some nostalgic touches like retro appliances, rustic furniture, and even floral accents. The term “vintage” when it comes to style can mean a few different things, depending on who you’re talking to since there isn’t an exact definition. Despite this, there are some guidelines that can be followed in order to aim in the right direction and master the style.


What Exactly Does ‘Vintage’ Mean?

When it comes to vintage kitchen Canada, you’re going to want to go for the feeling of nostalgia. This is the sense that will bring together your kitchen and the vintage style. The nostalgia will be looking back to more wholesome times, happy memories from your childhood, and more. This is what makes mastering the decor and final display so crucial. 

You might want to go with bold-colored and quirky appliances, have mismatched china, crates, rustic utensils, copper cookware, and other vintage kitchen accessories that can be displayed throughout to complete the look. These items can be placed in cabinets with glass-fronted doors so that they can be seen, on open shelving, and more. Some might even choose to have old crates that have been repurposed to serve as shelving. 

vintage look kitchen

People can easily get tricked into thinking “new is always better,” but that’s not the case, especially when it comes to home trends since they are always changing. There’s a certain kind of appeal to a vintage look kitchen and it can look great when it’s properly styled. While you might have creaking cabinet doors or other minor flaws that come with the vintage style, it’s the character that matters. 

Most vintage kitchens back in the day were smaller in size, but that doesn’t mean that your kitchen has to be small in order to incorporate this kind of style. You can reconfigure and redesign your kitchen to make it appeal more to you and your needs while still staying true to the retro style. 

You have full freedom to customize your vintage-style kitchen and below are some vintage kitchen ideas to consider for your project. 

The Right Cabinets for a Vintage Style

For a vintage kitchen, it’s only right to allow for the accessories to speak for themselves and that means that you might want to keep the cabinets simple. Having solid wood vintage kitchen cabinets that are left bare or even painted a pastel color can be just what you need. The hardware on the cabinets can be simple as well like rounded timber which will add that vintage charm without being too overpowering. 

You can take things further for an even more retro look with aluminum English Rose cabinets which was a classic design that was widely produced in the 1950s. These cabinets were made using high-quality materials after WWII. 

Old Finds for a New Kitchen

Try mixing the new with the old to get the perfect look. A vintage kitchen shouldn’t ever be perfect. Some wear and tear are highly encouraged as it adds to the charm. While you might not want to distress new cabinets, you can always incorporate some old or worn furniture, antique pieces, vintage kitchen faucets, and more. Mismatching chairs can also help set the vintage tone that you’re looking for.

Retro-style Appliances

vintage kitchen appliances

There are retro-style vintage kitchen gadgets and appliances out there with vintage looks inspired by the 1950s. They’re typically in pastel or bold colors with curved edges. You can purchase new vintage kitchen appliances or refurbish vintage refrigerators and other appliances in order to have them fit into your modern-day lifestyle. 

The Ideal Wall Decor and Color

Wallpaper screams vintage and it’s a great way to complete the overall look of the kitchen. You can choose a wallpaper with a print that is subtle yet matches the rest of your color scheme. A floral print is always a good choice for a retro or vintage look. Usually, a wallpaper with a neutral tone will look good and it won’t end up looking too busy with the rest of your vintage styles. However, a neutral tone doesn’t mean plain. You can still choose to have a more intricate wallpaper pattern. 

vintage kitchen island

A wallpaper island is always an interesting option, too. Having your vintage kitchen island covered in wallpaper was a trend in the 1950s so there’s nothing stopping you from bringing this back in your vintage kitchen. 

When it comes to painting, you’re going to want to strategically plan out your color scheme and paint colors beforehand. The paint color on the walls can transform the entire kitchen vibe, regardless of what kind of cabinets, floor tiles, and accessories you might have. For a vintage look, you can go for bright white, light pastel colors, and more that will help bring out the other old-fashioned pieces in your kitchen. 

Incorporate Stained Glass

Stained glass is the vintage kitchen decor that can make any two-tone cabinets look incredibly chic. It can also give life to a white space while enhancing the vintage vibe. You can find all kinds of stained glass pieces at flea markets or thrift stores so that you can incorporate them into your kitchen. 

Choose Tiled Walls

vintage kitchen decor

Before washable paint was a thing, most property owners would install tile in order to help protect their walls from spills and splashes. The installation would typically range from covering the entire wall’s surface to just the lower third of the wall. For a bit of extra decoration, contrasting boards would be used. 

To complete the look of your vintage kitchen, you can consider choosing a new wall tile that has a retro or vintage look to it. You can look at old kitchen photos for inspiration on tile shape, size, and color. 


Mixing and matching vintage interiors are key for this kind of kitchen design. From different colors to patterns and even new and old items like vintage kitchen stoves, the options are endless. Combining them all can leave you with a playful design. 

Get a Drainboard Sink

vintage kitchen sink

This kind of sink should feature built-in drainboards on either both or one side. Incorporating this kind of sink into your design is a great way to give your kitchen the vintage charm that it needs. In most cases, these sinks are larger than your average farmhouse sinks despite having similar exposed front aprons. They can be mounted to the wall either with or without decorative front legs. In most cases, a drainboard vintage kitchen sink can be found in thrift stores, flea markets, and even salvage yards. 

Checkerboard Flooring

When you picture a vintage or retro kitchen, checkerboard flooring might come to mind. Having the bold flooring combined with some bright red furniture and even glossy appliances, the vintage look will be complete. While you might be a little skeptical trying to plan out your vintage kitchen design, there are all kinds of ways that you can incorporate retro accents and combine them with more modern aspects. This can be done with checkerboard flooring and maybe some modern appliances for a well-balanced mix. 

vintage kitchen tiles

You don’t have to fully commit to checkerboard flooring. In fact, having checkerboard vintage kitchen tiles for the backsplash instead can be an ideal alternative and it will give your kitchen a more muted look if you match it to your cabinets.  

Wood Paneled Cabinets

In most vintage kitchens, wood paneling was everywhere. You can embrace the look of wood paneling by adding it to your kitchen. You can use clean white countertops and appliances to balance the rest of the look. 

In a kitchen that is equipped with modern appliances, you can have stripped cabinets, hardwood floors, and door trim that will enhance the retro vibe. 

A Mix of Old and New

An old kitchen likely won’t be as functional as you might want it to be. That’s why mixing some old and new pieces can complete the vintage style and still leave your kitchen fully functional and convenient to cook in. This can be done by adding an old or country-style sink, having modern stainless steel appliances, or even hanging up some vintage kitchen signs

Have a Breakfast Area

Back in the 1950s, most kitchens add breakfast areas or even eat-in aspects. The kitchen layouts would utilize the space in the room in extremely efficient ways and that would oftentimes include adding an area where people can gather and eat. 

vintage kitchen table

You can have a breakfast nook or eating area built in the corner of the roof or even add a vintage kitchen table to the side. This can be where you have your morning cup of coffee or a quick lunch. 

Country-style Appeal

A country-style or vintage farm kitchen was a popular design back in the 1950s. It oftentimes featured brightly colored kitchens, natural wood cabinetry, and a lived-in and rustic charm. If you have natural wood or wood paneling in your kitchen, don’t jump into painting over it just yet. You might be able to incorporate it in a creative way in order to get the ideal vintage look for your kitchen. 

Steel Cabinetry

Steel Cabinetry

Steel cabinets were incredibly popular for kitchens post-WWII due to the increase in steel production. Steel was easily accessible and it was cheap. This is what made it yet another staple in kitchen designs in the 1950s. While now it has a vintage look to it, steel cabinetry made a kitchen look and feel modern and futuristic back then. By adding it to your existing kitchen, you can master the vintage look perfectly. 

Vintage Cabinet Hardware

There are all kinds of vintage kitchen cabinet hardware options for your cabinets and these typically include bronze, pewter, or brass pulls or knobs. Another common choice is wrought iron since it works with practically any color scheme and kitchen design. Matching your cabinet hardware to your vintage design can help you achieve the ideal look. Whether it’s an Art Deco style or Victorian, the options are endless. Complete the vintage look by having matching shelving materials, door hinges, door racks, and more. 

Cabinet Knobs

While we touched base on cabinet hardware, having vintage kitchen cabinet knobs is taking things a step further into the vintage style. If you have bold cabinets, you’re going to want to choose your hardware strategically in order for them not to overpower the look. Crystal cabinet knobs are a top vintage-style choice as they can hold their own and let the color of the cabinets stay prominent. 

vintage kitchen cabinet knobs

Colorful cabinet knobs on the other hand are a more brave and bold option to go with. A yellow shade, for example, can create a cheery mood. If you want to have everything blend together, you can choose to have your cabinet knobs the same color as your cabinets. Silver cabinet knobs can add a modern taken to your vintage kitchen. 

To some, vintage can seem like it’s outdated or not in style, trendy, or fashionable. However, that’s not always the case. Now, vintage has become more functional and it doesn’t have the same definition that it once did. Retro or vintage style typically refers to at least 15 or 20 years prior. With this being said, the 1980s or 1990s-style kitchen would be considered vintage today. 

You can either fully commit to the vintage style for your kitchen or go with minor aspects that will simply give off the retro vibe. Whatever you choose, it’s important to keep coziness and elegance in mind in order to achieve a more pleasant atmosphere. Play with some vintage decorations, incorporate special lighting, add touches of natural wood, and bring your retro kitchen to life. A vintage kitchen can give off a warm and inviting feeling that people will love. What are some of your favorite vintage kitchen decor ideas? Have you thought about incorporating any other vintage or retro-style ideas for your kitchen design?


Article by:

Valentina Melnikova - Lead Designer at Cut2Size

Office 403.366.7411

Hi there! I’m a millwork designer and an owner of a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company. With a team of professionals, I work on designing and manufacturing high-end millwork. Combining professional designing and manufacturing skills is what allows us to develop and translate our plans into a reality through our uniqueness and exclusive ideas. Our employees are highly skilled and creative thinkers that also utilize their professionalism and experience to take millwork to the next level. I’m very familiar with the industry and I take on each project from the design to the final product. With that said, if you’re looking for design advice or technician help, you’re in the right place.