I have a soft spot in my heart for colorful retro kitchens. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, it makes me nostalgic for our first house we moved into as newlyweds. It was built in the late 1950s and everything was original to the house. The bathrooms were never updated and the kitchen wasn’t either. But I was okay with that because they had absolutely pristine white powder-coated metal cabinets manufactured by a company called Youngstown (see an interesting history here of industrial steel kitchen cabinetry). We painted the walls yellow and it all felt very fresh and retro. It was where my blog began, in fact!
The retro kitchen trend is probably best known for its style and color appeal along with some personality-laden details. Here are a few favorites to get your ideas flowing.
This all white kitchen is brought to life with the red floral hardware, a more colorful spin on the traditional checkerboard floor, scalloped vent hood, and vintage-inspired modern appliances. Design by Alison Kandler.
European brand Smeg is maybe best known in the US for their line of refrigerators, providing major vintage style appeal in a wide spectrum of hues. But, they’re maybe not the most practical as their European size is substantially smaller than what most Americans are used to. I like how Joy Cho of Oh Joy integrated this mint one into her studio kitchenette.
A pretty pink option (notice how everything else is kept pretty simple, allowing the color to pop).
In this kitchen below, the vintage theme is carried through with other accents such as the pastel dishes and glasses, bread box, and icy blue refrigerator.
Sugar & Cloth brings color to an all-white kitchen through the retro fridge as well as a few other appliances.
I love the Rocketeer feel of these stand mixers, also by Smeg. I caught a glimpse of one of their toasters over in our local West Elm and these are a great way to get the look without doing a total kitchen remodel. Dualit also offers a classic line of small appliances (this toaster has been on my must-have list for awhile).
A moody retro-inspired black kitchen is kept interesting and not too serious with the addition of a little aqua and cream.
Two great classic kitchens above and below (via BHG) with great monochromatic texture and style.
Elsie Larson’s kitchen tour at A Beautiful Mess features loads of vintage details. A colorful KitchenAid stand mixer is a classic appliance that can add a pop of unexpected color.
This beachy kitchen is chock full of vintage details, including the enameled vent hood and matching toaster oven in the corner. I’m also really intrigued by the French door refrigerator as I haven’t seen this particular option in the US before. (Via House of Turquoise)
I love seeing modern interpretations of classic designs. This kitchen (via Big Chill) has the pastel retro colorscheme, but it’s softened and modernized.
A few tips on sources to help you get the look: so many manufacturers are bringing back the retro style (but with modern guts). A recent perusal of a few local kitchen showrooms locally turned up some pretty awesome options. Smeg is probably the best known in the US for their colorful refrigerators, but Big Chill is another company that offers everything from small appliances up to the major items like fridges, washers, dryers, and stoves. US retailer GE’s Artistry Series is fun (although only in black and white) but also a little more subdued overall to fit a more mainstream audience.
Happy shopping! Share in the comments your favorite vintage appliances!