A retro kitchen remodel can be anything you want it to be, since retro just refers vaguely to something in the past. So you can do a 1930s farmhouse kitchen or a 1950s black and white design or a 1970s style with stained wood cabinets and still call it retro. Pick your era — maybe start with remembering visits to Grandma’s for cookies or for a holiday dinner, or think back to the first house you bought with what was then a stylish kitchen. Start planning when you’ve chosen a target.
Watch movies from your chosen period to recall what was fashionable in the post-war building boom of the 1950s and 60s, the flowery look of the 1970s or the colored cabinet faces and tile countertops of the 1980s. Look at design manuals, especially from your era, and ask friends what they remember about kitchens of those years.
Use black and white as the basic colors for a 1950s-60s kitchen, with accents of bright red or yellow on some walls or inside white-faced cabinets. Design a breakfast nook or counter, with chairs or stools of chrome with colorful plastic seat covers. Look for vintage appliances, like Chambers or Roper stoves or Mixmaster mixers, and include a white refrigerator with rounded doors and the freezer on top.
Recall “flower power” for a 1970s style, with towels, place mats and other accessories accented with flowers. Keep cabinets with natural wood or paint them harvest yellow or lime green. Hang lots of plants from hooks in the ceiling and use decorative pottery to hold cooking supplies and snacks. Get appliances like stove and refrigerator — always a side-by-side — in yellow, avocado or bronze.
Tile and Appliances
Shift into the 1980s with built-in breakfast seating, countertops of granite or ceramic tile — and, of course, ceramic tile floors. Replace brass or gold-colored drawer pulls and door handles with brushed nickel. Look for a brushed nickel finish on a refrigerator and set a multi-use food processor and a microwave oven on the counter. Use lots of fluorescent lighting.
Haunt flea markets, resale shops and used appliance stores for ideas and supplies. Many vintage appliances, such as old stoves, are still available and prized by top cooks. Other appliances, such as mixers, are available with all the modern updates but the traditional shape and look