Retro kitchen designs are a popular option for those looking to create a fun look featuring sleek cabinetry with splashes of colour and homely feel that comes with the familiarity of nostalgia. In any modern kitchen design, little touches are often enough to give a retro twist to a contemporary style without sacrificing usability. Make your cook-space stand out with mid-century zing with the ideas below.
A fridge freezer can be an integral part of a kitchen redesign and – especially if you are going for the retro look – you might have seen one of Smeg’s 1950s-style refrigerators. This Fab50 model is available in a suite of colours including pastel blue, green, cream and black, and is an easy way to add jet-age gloss to your kitchen. Add to the look with a matching kettle, toaster or citrus juicer.
If a wantonly retro 1950s look is too bold, why not combine shiny white kitchen units with smaller, brightly coloured additions such as clocks, tea and coffee jars or knife blocks. Pastel shades and vibrant hues work equally as well, and a contrasting monochrome scheme provides a stylish backdrop for a retro-inspired look, as shown in the image here.
A lick of paint
You might decide that brightly coloured kitchen utensils or appliances do not fit in with the rest of your home, but still want a modern kitchen design inspired by retro styles. Looking instead to the walls is a fantastic way to inject some character into your kitchen– a pastel colour combined with subtler retro details can create a striking overall look without going all-out with the accessories.
There is one type of sink that will suit all retro kitchen designs – a traditional Belfast sink. A practical addition to any kitchen, the ample size and sturdy construction has made these stylish sinks a popular choice for a number of styles. This kitchen combines contemporary pastel blue cabinets and contrasting white laminate worktops for a fun take on a classic retro look. The addition of red accessories creates a bold style that works incredibly well for a young, family home!
A popular inclusion in modern kitchens is a set of subway or metro tiles, so called because they resemble the tiles fitted in vintage tube and metro stations. They will look great utilised as a splashback or as wall tiles throughout the kitchen. A selection of different colours and finishes of subway tiles can be found from various suppliers for a kitchen look completely tailored to your individual style with a subtle nod to years gone by.
Vintage signage looks fantastic in a modern kitchen and is readily available due to its popularity. This ‘99’ ice cream sign is a reproduction – costing just £9.99 – but its vintage style will add suitably old-school appeal to your kitchen or diner and creates a talking point. One sign may be sufficient to achieve the style, but a handful of themed vintage signs can heighten the look – though be warned, if you are after a real, salvaged vintage sign, you can expect to pay a lot more.
The full diner experience
Create an authentic old American diner feel by incorporating a booth and classic fast food-like chairs. Diners were designed for socialising, so this stylish corner adds another dimension to the seating in a kitchen that provides much more than a practical space for eating dinner. This booth looks incredibly inviting thanks to its comfy seating, but you could further the vintage appeal with striped upholstery and matching bar stools. The table in the centre enhances the look with its cast iron table legs – recreate the look by ordering a solid oak restaurant table top and a cast iron table base from our sister company, Worktop Express.
A truly gorgeous modern kitchen
Add some of these ideas together and this could be the end result – a stylish, modern kitchen design with retro in all the right places. Recreate the kitchen shown here with our Shaker cabinet doors, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Pitch Black, and pair with a timeless solid oak worktop. Mint-coloured appliances – large and small – add a zip of fresh colour into the room, and the subway-style tiles and contrasting flooring make the kitchen stand out. With the colour injected from the appliances, the dark cabinetry contrasts perfectly against the grey walls – we recommend a neutral grey shade such as Farrow & Ball’s Elephant’s Breath or Manor House Grey.