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.
This eccentric, colorful space from wildhairhome is just one example of how 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 11
Bright Colored Appliances
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 in the mid-20th century, but even sprinkling in appliances or accessories into an otherwise 21st-century kitchen can evoke the same feel.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
02 of 11
Pastel Color Blocking
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 in the 1950s kitchen, and you'll see elements of it in this space in the breakfast bar chairs and throughout the cabinetry hardware.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
03 of 11
Kitschy (in the Best Way)
If the unexpected is more your thing, you'll love this eye-catching kitchen from hardcastletowers. With bursts of bold colors and kitschy, tiki bar-inspired details like 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.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
04 of 11
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 in the 1950s. Though it was largely replaced by sheet vinyl in 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.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Bright Colors and Mixed Materials
While laminate countertops were the decade's material of choice, mixing materials, especially futuristic metals and plastics with hearty brick and wood, was popular in 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.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
06 of 11
The Breakfast Nook
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.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
07 of 11
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 could 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.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
08 of 11
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.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
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.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
10 of 11
Another staple of the 1950s kitchen that has all but disappeared today is steel cabinetry. As pictured in this kitchen from theres_noplacelikehome, steel cabinets were popular after World War II increased steel production, and the material was cheap and plentiful. Steel also felt futuristic and modern at the time, giving kitchens a space-age mood that is just as fun today as it was back then.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
11 of 11
Want an easy way to channel the 1950s in your kitchen? Add a bunch of cute vintage casseroles, 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.