10 Spiffy 1950s Kitchen Ideas

Kitchen with hunter green cabinets

wildhairhome / Instagram

What's old is new again, and retro decor trends are popping up all throughout the home. When it comes to kitchen decor, you may think there's a stark difference between the homey and comforting kitchens of the mid-20th century and the streamlined modern designs we see today, but many elements have evolved over time and are now standard. Adding retro features to your kitchen can make it more inviting and personal in a way standard renovations may not.

Whether you're lucky enough to have a retro-style kitchen in your home or you're looking for a few ways to add some 1950s-inspired elements to your space, here are some of our favorite ideas for creating a throwback vibe. 

  • 01 of 10

    Bright Colored Appliances

    White kitchen with a retro blue fridge

    classic.marina / Instagram

    This kitchen from classic.marina features a lovely blend of modern and vintage. The streamlined white cabinetry and rustic wooden countertops feel very updated, but the retro-chic powder blue fridge gives it a major '50s vibe. Quaint pastel colors were a major element of kitchen design during the mid-20th century, but even sprinkling in appliances or accessories into an otherwise 21st-century kitchen can evoke the same feel.  

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  • 02 of 10

    Pastel Color Blocking

    Kitchen with pink and blue cabinets

    retrojennybelle / Instagram

    This space from retrojennybelle proves that sometimes a little pastel just isn't enough. We love the blue and pink palette that feels like the most welcoming '50s diner. Chrome was a popular material during the 1950s kitchen, and you'll see elements of it in this space in the breakfast bar chairs and throughout the cabinetry hardware.

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  • 03 of 10

    Kitschy (in the Best Way)

    Retro kitchen with bright colors

    hardcastletowers / Instagram

    If the unexpected is more your thing, you'll love this eye-catching kitchen from hardcastletowers. With bursts of bold colors, pretty tropical string lights, and an oversized faux cactus, this space is inventive and fun. It is the perfect blend of eclectic and vintage, with elements of both sprinkled throughout the space. Consider adding pops of bright color in exposed shelving, on countertops, or above the fridge to give any kitchen a more retro feel. 

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  • 04 of 10

    Checkered Flooring

    Pink kitchen with checkerboard flooring

    kissmyaster / Instagram

    Though the pink pastel cabinets and vintage stove are retro enough, the black and white checker flooring in this kitchen from kissmyaster really seals the deal.

    Linoleum is the original resilient flooring material and was introduced during the 1950s. Though it was largely replaced by sheet vinyl during the 1960s and 1970s, linoleum is beginning to make a comeback for consumers who like the fact that it is made from natural materials.

    If you have vintage-styling flooring, working with it—such as adding pastels to the kitchen—and not against it, can be a great way to freshen the look and keep it from feeling drab. Though compact, this kitchen feels happy and welcoming. 

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  • 05 of 10

    Bright Colors and Mixed Materials

    Kitchen with a yellow countertop

    thecolourtribe / Instagram

    While laminate countertops were the decade's material of choice, mixing materials, especially futuristic metals and plastics with hearty brick and wood, was popular during the '50s. This kitchen from thecolourtribe features a stunning tiled lemon yellow countertop that immediately draws the eye. The brick backsplash and natural wood cabinetry keep the space grounded, and give it a modern flair that doesn't lose the vintage feel. 

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  • 06 of 10

    The Breakfast Nook

    Breakfast nook with seating

    ryangloor / Instagram

    Most kitchens of the 1950s welcomed the eat-in vibe, adding breakfast nooks and large tables to the space. As seen in this updated space from ryangloor, the kitchen of the 1950s was all about utilizing the room in the most efficient way possible and adding a place to gather and share a meal.

    Whether you add a built-in eating nook in a corner or a large dining table off to the side, a 1950s kitchen always found space to share a cup of coffee or breakfast before a day's work. 

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  • 07 of 10

    Country-Inspired Kitchens

    Country style kitchen

    fadedcharm_livin / Instagram

    In many ways a countertrend to the bold, bright-colored kitchens commonly associated with the 1950s, the country-inspired kitchen also saw a wave of popularity during this decade. Like this beautiful space from fadedcharm_livin, rustic retro kitchens featured a lot of natural wood cabinets and country-inspired accessories.  

    As families moved into the suburbs and away from cities, they started to embrace the vacation feeling that knotty pine cabinets and cabin-inspired furniture can lend in a kitchen. Before you paint over those natural wood cabinets or that wood paneling, think about how to incorporate it into your vintage kitchen look. 

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  • 08 of 10

    Vintage Patterns

    Colorful retro kitchen

    sarahmaguire_myvintagehome / Instagram

    Whether it's gingham, polka dots, or floral, retro kitchens don't shy away from cozy pattens. This space from sarahmaguire_myvintagehome has a broad color palette ranging from neons to primary colors that all tie together with homey florals in the table cloth and curtains. When it comes to adding 1950s elements to your own kitchen, think "grandma chic" with quaint patterns and homey details, such as ruffles. 

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  • 09 of 10

    Cherry Red

    Teal kitchen with red appliances

    chadesslingerdesign / Instagram

    A firey cherry red is a great color to use if you want to evoke a retro feel in your kitchen. This unique space from chadesslingerdesign features a lovely blend of old and new, with chrome bar stools, bold red appliances, and teal cabinetry combined with updated and modern materials. While red may not be for the timid decorator, it's a color that rings of 1950s diners and cherry pie in the best way possible.

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  • 10 of 10

    Vintage Pyrex

    Vintage pyrex

    eatabananastarveamonkey / Instagram

    Want an easy way to channel the 1950s in your kitchen? Add a bunch of cute vintage mixing bowls, like these from eatabananastarveamonkey. Mixing and matching vintage accessories in your kitchen is a great way to get the retro feel without a full-on renovation. Other easy ideas include retro advertisements, vintage toasters or breadboxes, or new-to-you vintage plates and serve wear.