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Retro touches in the kitchen

Maia Devereux Maia Devereux
eclectic  by Decorum, Eclectic
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Retro styles have made a bit of a comeback in the kitchen. Some kitchen designs, utensils and furniture just have a style that's enduring, whether because they remind us of our childhoods, or because they're design classics. Retro appliances—like kettles, mixers and toasters—are a fun way to add some vintage touches to a kitchen if you don't want to remodel; as are bits and pieces of crockery or glassware picked up at fleamarkets. Kitchen retro isn't restricted to sixties and seventies styles—reach back further into the past for classic sinks, rustic industrial tables, or deck your floors out in black and white tiles. It's perfectly acceptable to take a magpie-like approach to adding retro touches to your kitchen—so mix and match Formica with antique crockery; vivid sixties prints with old fashioned mason jars. You'll be amazed at the results!

A classic sink

For a retro kitchen, think first about materials: wood, porcelain and ceramics for a real vintage look, or PVC and formica for a more sixties or seventies atmosphere. Here's one option: an old-fashioned, Belfast-style sink, which will add an instant vintage vibe. Add in some wooden cutting boards and a wooden worktop, along with glass mason jars to create a cute, old-style atmosphere. 

Old fashioned pantry

To complete the mood, you can use small items of complementary furniture—like this mesh pantry, where you could store dishes, kitchen linen or even cookbooks! An old-style ladder an be used to hang pots and pans, or to create a vertical herb garden with hanging plants. 

Formica rules

DUPLEX APARTMENT ON THE CANAL Modern dining room by Atelier UOA Modern
Atelier UOA


Atelier UOA

Who can forget Formica tables? This material, abandoned and scorned for a while, is very much back in vogue today. Formica tables and chairs can be easily found at flea markets (or maybe there's even one in your attic?!) and will fit beautifully into a contemporary kitchen. Go for light or pastel colours to keep the retro vibe from being overpowering (though if you wanted to get a vivid orange Formica table don't let us stop you!). Add in some retro, industrial style overhead light fittings for even more retro goodness. 

Set a vintage table

This beautifully decorated table shows how retro can be especially warm and welcoming: tea towels used as placemats, those vintage-look white dishes with their blue borders, bistro-style glasses, a wooden cutting board hosting a rustic loaf of bread… With retro dishes, the atmosphere is immediately transformed into a convivial one!

Old-fashioned utensils

eclectic  by Decorum, Eclectic

Classic vintage cutlery


For those who love the vintage dishes but don't have time or patience to go to fleamarkets or antique shops, Decorum offers a range of old style utensils that will fit right into your retro kitchen

Vintage glassware

eclectic  by Decorum, Eclectic

Laksha glass


Don't forget the glassware—this Laksha glass, also by Decorum—would make a lovely wine or water tumbler; the slightly smoky glass is brilliantly retro. 

Upcycled eggcups

Going for a retro style can be a simple design choice, but it can also be an ecological one. Upcycling Deluxe remakes old, discarded items into new ones, reducing landfill and creating some super-cute items into the bargain. Here old vinyl records are transformed into cute, retro egg cups.

Old-fashioned appliances

Retro appliances—coffee makers, kettles, mixers—are too pretty to hide away in a cupboard, so make them part of your kitchen decor. Style and function all in one—perfect! Here a vintage-style mixer gives charm to an ultra-contemporary space.

Styles that endure

The classic Le Creuset casserole dish comes in all sorts of colours; and piled up on a shelf they'll give your kitchen a lovely retro feel. Not only that, but they last forever, so even if you get sick of them, the next generation can pull them out of the attic to create their very own retro kitchens when the time comes!

Is a retro style something you'd consider for your kitchen? Or do you prefer something more contemporary? Let us know in the comments!
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