Vintage Kitchen Ideas

Whether inspired by a 1940s diner or an old-world scullery, vintage kitchens offer charm and contemporary convenience. See how these designs reference the past while beautifully accommodating modern needs.

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    Fetching Foundation

    This beautiful kitchen melds reclaimed building materials, architectural elements, and vintage graphics in innovative ways. Tin details spark interest on the ceiling and above the range. Chip-painted boards create an inexpensive, high-impact backsplash, while corbels support the island's breakfast bar. Symbols of a different time -- including a sugar-curing sign, stained-glass window, and assorted advertising tins -- supply era-apt colors and motifs.

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    Country Recharged

    Today's vintage kitchens need to work harder than ever before. Easy-to-clean painted cabinets, a deep apron sink, sealed wood countertops, and painted floorboards provide country style with plenty of function. Open shelves and glass-door cabinets show off vintage mixing bowls and serving pieces. A primitive shelf unit converts to a petite but purposeful island that rounds out the work core.

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    Defining Details

    Beaded-board cabinets and weathered-wood countertops set the stage for exhibiting collections that accentuate this vintage kitchen's period look. Bottles, baskets, and jugs displayed atop the cabinets pay tribute to the past. Counter-set canisters, crocks, and a bread box supply modern function in old-fashioned forms.

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    Fun Factor

    Captivating colors, vintage fittings, and scintillating surprises energize classic kitchen designs. Start with neutral foundations and sprinkle in upbeat details -- such as vivacious patterned dishes, bright barstools, and unexpected fixtures -- to build a vintage kitchen design with plenty of personality.

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    Easy DIY Open Shelves

    Incorporate open shelves into your vintage kitchen with our simple step-by-step instructions.

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    Recycled Goods

    Give new life to old fixtures and furniture to add collected charm to your vintage kitchen. In this room, pieces of salvaged marble serve as a counter atop a cabinet base built from reclaimed wood. French tiles create a colorful backsplash above a hospital sink set among an antique desk and aged office hutch that now holds cups.

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    Message Received

    This window-hung sign makes a clear style statement. Antiques and vintage kitchen decor combine to give this new kitchen a been-around-awhile attitude. Hooks on a meat rack hold kitchen tools near the range. A stainless-steel shelf contributes old-school diner shine. Door latches and painted knobs outfit cabinets with vintage profiles.

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    Weathered Perfection

    Stripped cabinets, a doorway trimmed in reclaimed lumber, and floors seemingly scuffed over generations bring a primitive feel to a kitchen equipped with modern stainless-steel appliances and countertops. A crystal fixture, shapely urn, and tarnished silver serving pieces elegantly counterbalance the room's time-battered furnishings and finishes.

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    Farmhouse Inspiration

    Bring vintage style to your kitchen by adding an island that ties together the new and old. This island base was built to fit a vintage wood top that was originally part of a farmhouse table. The beaded-board work space also features a counter overhang that provides room for simple family seating.

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    Curated Collection

    Shelves displaying handcrafted pottery, heirloom servers, and colorful antique glassware establish personalized appeal in vintage kitchens. This room's weighty woodwork, beamed ceilings, and hardwood floors add age-old substance, as do worn wicker chairs and a vintage chandelier.

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    Era Enhancements

    Employ tarnished patinas, tag-sale furniture, and old-fashioned kitchen textiles to weave vintage vibes throughout new kitchens. Any type of cart on casters -- whether meant for serving tea, holding cookware, or hauling machine parts -- deserves a place of honor in any vintage-style kitchen. Carts with weathered white finishes work well in shabby chic kitchens; vividly painted metal carts popular in the 1950s and '60s suit retro work spaces.

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    Pretty Patina

    Feminine touches, such as crystal chandeliers and ruffle-skirted slipcovers, create vintage designs that overflow with collected character and furnished-room appeal. Weathered boards and decorative brackets fashion period-apt partitions in this kitchen. An enamel-topped table on casters provides a prep and serving station. Flea market artwork contributes cheery color to the mix.

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    Ageless Appeal

    Layer in striking architectural elements to emulate the assembled-over-time appeal that defines vintage European kitchens. Here, rough-hewn ceiling beams provide rustic counterpoints to more elegant elements, such as ornate tiled walls and substantial painted woodwork. Round out the look with vintage-style chandeliers, faucets, and furnishings.

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    Luxe Luncheonette

    Although finely finished, this pretty kitchen bears a remarkable resemblance to old-fashioned soda shops and lunch counters. The checkerboard floor, tiled walls, beaded-board details, and pendant lights reference diners from days gone by, while too-cool Lucite stools sound a decidedly modern note.

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    Industrial Accents

    Industrial relics perfectly suit a kitchen's hardworking purpose. Styled after old-timey factory lights, a trio of chrome-and-glass pendants drops down to illuminate an island crafted from a repurposed mill table. Subway-tile walls, simple paneled cabinets, and a farmhouse sink further the kitchen's period feel.

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    Historic Homage

    Before remodeling, research period kitchens so you can choose kitchen decor from the proper era. These homeowners opted for a fresh take on Victorian. The room features classic backdrops, including subway tile and glass-door cabinets, to spotlight vintage-style fittings and fixtures, dark-stained woodwork, and painted island cabinets crowned with a thick marble slab.

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    Color It Charming

    Take a hue cue from your favorite collectibles when invoking a blast from the past. Jadeite dishware, which came onto the scene in the 1940s, inspired this kitchen's vintage design and color scheme. The color repeats in the backsplash tiles, on the beaded-board-clad island, and as retro accessories that pop against the kitchen's mostly white finishes.

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    Old-and-New Kitchen

    This kitchen owes its good looks to a mix of vintage finds and new industrial pieces. A hutch top from an old country store fits perfectly over the new sink and stainless-steel cabinets. The island, a 50-year-old bakery fixture, was cleaned, sanded, and put right back into use. To master a mix of old and new, buy vintage pieces first, then purchase new pieces that complement them.

  • Next Slideshow Kitchen Cabinet Details that Wow

    Kitchen Cabinet Details that Wow

    Distinctive kitchen cabinet details--from layered finishes and hip hardware to architectural embellishments--stylishly boost interest in traditional, contemporary, vintage, and cottage kitchen designs.
    Begin Slideshow »
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