Retro Kitchen Trends Are Making a Comeback

Homeowners are doing more than just remembering the happy days; they're recreating them in their kitchens with retro styles from the '40s, '50s, and '60s.

green and white kitchen

The right choices for your kitchen floors and countertops can help create a retro look. For floors, consider authentic linoleum (an all-natural material) in nostalgic patterns, such as mod "atomic" patterns, colorful speckles, and earth-tone brick. For a retro diner look, a checkerboard pattern of black-and-white or red-and-cream tiles remains a classic, and hardwood floors (or less expensive wood-look laminate planks) are a timeless choice that suits every era.

For retro-style countertops, check out diner- or vintage-look laminates with fun and funky patterns like boomerangs, elongated diamonds, and mod geometrics. If laminate doesn't suit your tastes, stainless steel countertops meld beautifully with retro styles. Certain types of stone work well, too, especially terrazzo, which comes in colors as varied as pink and turquoise.

Kitchen backsplashes can be retro-cool, too. Re-create the classic look of simple white subway tiles with gray or dark grout. Other retro backsplash choices include beaded board, decorative tile, and laminate that repeats from the countertops.

Orange Kitchen

Retro Kitchen Color Palettes

Old-school rules when it comes to creating a nostalgic kitchen, and an abundance of paint and fabric products are available to make it happen. You decide whether to introduce just a few or go all out with a full-on retro redo!

No matter what retro look makes your heart flutter, there's an old-school color palette to launch a look you'll love.

Updated versions of classic retro color combos making a resurgence today include:

  • Turquoise with white, lime green, soft pink, or red
  • Soft pink with buttery yellow or seafoam green
  • Hot pink with lime green or orange

Incorporate these colors into easy-to-change elements such as painted walls, fabrics, and accessories, or be courageous with color on cabinets, backsplashes, countertops, floors, and even appliances.


Retro Kitchen Storage

There are a plethora of cabinet options you can use in your retro kitchen design. Steel, wood, or laminate cabinets with simple flat-slab doors help ease transitions between backsplashes, countertops, and flooring.

Traditional-style cabinets with rectangular recessed panels and beaded board are a good alternative that can add a touch of dimension to your retro kitchen.

For hardware, shiny D-shape chrome pulls, concave knobs with round backplates, and simple bar handles all add old-school style.


Retro Kitchen Fabrics and Patterns

There are plenty of retro patterns and fabrics to love, including barkcloth, brocade, and damask, and don't overlook the fun, glossy look of vinyl.

Kitschy reproduction prints are available with novelty names. Other prints that ooze old-school cool include retro grids, starbursts, tropical florals, and funky atomic patterns.

Search for reproduction prints in stores and online. To find authentic vintage fabrics, shop flea markets, antique stores, and garage sales.

Midcentury Modern

Retro Kitchen Furnishings

Reproduction and vintage dining tables and chairs are plentiful and come in designs to suit any retro era you desire. For example, if midcentury-modern is your style, check out the timeless Tulip table and matching Eames-esque chairs. Perhaps you'd love to bring the fun of a '50s diner to your breakfast area. If so, a crackle laminate tabletop with chrome edging and chrome chairs with vinyl seats are iconic choices.

Retro Kitchen Appliances


You won't have to sacrifice modern-day efficiency to gain retro flair. Refrigerators and ranges are available with vintage curves, fun nostalgic colors, and retro hardware. If you'd rather your appliances blend in with the surroundings, a stainless steel range remains a classic, while your refrigerator and dishwasher can disappear behind door panels that match cabinetry.

Retro Kitchen Fixtures and Accents

Kitchen Countertops

Finishing touches like dramatic lighting, the perfect sink, and assorted accessories will complete your retro kitchen redo.

Lighting options include everything from schoolhouse pendants to jazzy Sputnik chandeliers.

Brilliantly mix old and new by pairing a drainboard-style sink with chrome cross-handle faucets or porcelain levers.

Have fun shopping for old-school accessories such as vintage signs, framed advertising, and sunburst mirrors.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles