Every trend always comes back in style and retro kitchen design is no exception. Taking its cues from the 60s, 70s and the decades of yesteryear, retro kitchens combine a mix of styles, objects and materials that are sure to infuse colour and life into a space. But when it comes to designing a modern retro kitchen, you’re going to want to choose wisely to create a space that both fits into the rest of your home and also stands out on its own.
So, what are some hallmarks of retro design? Think cool, mint-blue cabinets, pops of pink, touches of timber, and fabulous floral wallpaper. While there are some elements that are distinctly retro, there really are no limits. You can go completely old school or you can add a vintage touch to your modern white kitchen. The choice is yours!
To help you get started, I’ve put together 30+ retro kitchen ideas, including tables, chairs and fun retro decor.
1. Blue with pops of colour
This is a fun little kitchen to start with. It’s ever so slightly modern, yet it combines a whole lot of retro elements for a fabulous look. First, there’s the lovely blue cabinetry, which is cool and clean. And then there’s the gorgeous brass hardware. But the real hero of this kitchen is the fun floral-printed wallpaper, which makes this space pop! Lastly, the quirky decor adds pops of orange, pink and yellow for a stunning finish.
2. Muted tones
If you’re more of a minimalist, the good news is that you can still embrace retro style – just choose more muted colours. The key here is to embrace timber and combine it with either a light blue or green shade. Little touches of yellow and orange decor will add all the brightness your space needs to stand out.
3. Orange and monochrome
How’s this for fun? This design uses black and white as its base, and layers on orange for colour. I love the circular white tiles on the back wall – they add so much interest to this space. And the orange pendant light is a whole lot of awesome!
4. Retro kitchenware
While your kitchen design can be entirely retro, you could also incorporate it more subtly by choosing retro-style jugs, mugs and pots and pans. Take inspiration from this kitchen, which includes plenty of bright yellow pieces. And don’t they stand out beautifully against the white backdrop?
5. Country style
Retro doesn’t have to stand on its own. It can be combined with other styles, like the country kitchen design in this image. Think timber cabinetry, pastel decor and well-worn furniture.
6. Colourful glasses
Create a retro feature area in your cabinet with colourful glassware, candles and mugs. I love the fun yellow, pink, red and orange pieces in this glass shelving. If you want to recreate this look, think about a small space in your kitchen where you can infuse colourful pieces.
7. Old school splashback
This retro kitchen has so many interesting aspects. First of all, there’s the circular neutral-coloured splashback, which draws the eye. And then there’s the peg-hold island, which provides a handy place for hanging bags, dustpans and other kitchen items.
I think it’s amazing how a kitchen splashback can really transform a space. Without these specific tiles, it could have been a totally different style in this kitchen. It also means that if you fancy a change up, you can always simply get a tiler to change the splashback tiling to refresh your home.
8. French style
How adorable is this blue-and-pink kitchen? It’s modern with the sleek pink cabinetry, yet totally old school with the ornate carving in the ceiling. This truly is old meets new again, and I think it’s amazing to see old concepts incorporated into modern kitchen design.
9. Hang your plates
If you have cute, floral-patterned china plates, why not hang them on your wall for all to see? These gorgeous pastel blue and green plates really add a lot of character to this retro kitchen.
10. Teal green
Teal green is a barely-there, soothing colour choice for the person who wants to go a little bit retro but also wants to keep it subtle. And this is a very modern twist on the retro kitchen. This kitchen includes stunning, carved white cabinets and wall panels, a beautiful bold black glass cabinet, marble-style benches and the most gorgeous cream Smeg appliances.
11. Mint green
If you’re looking for something a little bit out of the box, then you can’t go past mint green. This colour has shot to popularity over the last few years, and it’s no surprise why. It’s an easy shade to pair with. Take this kitchen, for example. It includes natural stone tiles, a timber countertop and rustic brass tapware.
12. Pink chairs with gold
Want to make a statement? These pink velvet chairs pack a punch, and they’re all you need to make your modern white-and-grey kitchen instantly retro. And don’t they look fabulous with gold hardware? Beautiful!
13. Modern with retro touches
Here’s another example of how you don’t need to go all out on retro design to make your kitchen retro. Fill your floating shelves with colourful glassware, bowls, mugs and vases. If you don’t have any of these pretty items lying around, head to your local second-hand store. You’re bound to find plenty of fun pieces that you can purchase for a steal!
14. Retro light
Dress your kitchen up with a fancy retro light fixture like this one. This multi-bulb brass piece adds so much character to this small kitchen. And it ties in nicely with the quirky sun-shaped clock on the wall. The timber cabinets make this kitchen the perfect mix of old and new.
15. Use your shelving space
Do you have open shelves? If you do, then this is the perfect space for displaying all of your retro pieces from books to vintage tea sets and so much more.
16. Eclectic mix
Instead of keeping things streamlined by choosing one colour, why not incorporate a mix of colours, textures and prints? This kitchen design does this so well. It includes a fun white-and-black geometric print feature wall on the left, as well as a simple black wall on the right. And then there are the hanging light fixtures, which are infused with old-school character and contemporary flair. Not to mention the simple modern marble countertop.
I really love the gorgeous burnt orange velvet stools with brass hardware. On the far side, you can see the traditional-style blue oven peeping above the benchtop. And lastly, there are the quirky pieces of decor – spot the hand-shaped fruit bowl, the little elephants, and so many other interesting pieces dotted around the space.
17. Retro fridge
One really simple way to retro-fy your modern kitchen is to swap out your boring stainless steel fridge for a fun white Smeg alternative. This high-end fridge will give your kitchen all the life it needs, while still keeping it modern and fresh with its simple white design.
18. Bright blue cabinets
So, we’ve covered off on mint green, but we haven’t touched on bright blue… until now. While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no doubting it adds life and vibrancy to this small kitchen. Plus, the checkered-style tiles create the perfect foundation for this retro kitchen. And I love the black wall light on the right side – it’s super fun!
19. Black and white
In this kitchen design, we have more of those classic Victorian checkerboard black-and-white vinyl tiles, which first originated in Europe in the 15th century. Since then, they’ve been a staple in many kitchens, and always add a retro flair to a space. Plus, this glossy black fridge looks incredible in this mostly white kitchen. It provides the perfect contrast against the surrounding white cabinets and clean white walls.
To find out more about different vinyl tiles and other options, check out my article on kitchen flooring ideas.
20. Retro farmhouse kitchen
If you have a farmhouse-style home, there’s good news for you! You can implement a retro-style too. How? By adding quirky pieces from yesteryear.
This could be memorabilia from your family tree, or it could simply be something you’ve picked up from the op shop. Play around with different colours and textures. I really like the all-blue wall at the back of this kitchen. The splashback is filled with little blue finger tiles in all different shades, and the open white shelves hold an array of blue glasses, bowls and storage solutions.
21. Hang a print
Have fun with a bold print from the 60s, 70s or 80s. Personally, I love something that’s Andy Warhol inspired. Integrate your own pop art with bright, colourful paintings and prints of celebrities, advertisements and everyday products. Choose a print that means something special to you, or simply select one that adds colour and vibrancy to your space.
22. Pops of colour
Like I’ve said before, if you’re not one to do a total makeover of your kitchen, then you can always make it a little bit retro by adding some simple pieces of decor.
Take this kitchen, for example. It’s a fairly modern kitchen with a colour scheme of white, grey, marble and brass. But the open shelves on the far side of the kitchen are filled with bright colours like hot pink, lime green and blue. It’s these small additions that can make a huge difference to your overall design! The great thing is that you can always take them out and change them if you like. So why wouldn’t you have some fun and add them now?
23. Pretty and pink
The next few retro kitchen designs are pretty and pink, and I have a feeling you’re going to love them. There’s no doubt pink is a very feminine choice, but it can be incorporated in such a way that the whole family will love it.
Here you have a small white-and-timber farmhouse-style kitchen. But then, there are pops of pink throughout it. First, there’s the lovely pink Smeg fridge, then there’s the quirky pink rooster sitting on the stove, and lastly, there’s the tea towel hanging over the oven handle. The good thing about these additions is that they are interchangeable. So, if you’re feeling like pink you can incorporate it for a while. And, when you want a change you can switch it out and recreate your style!
24. Green and pink
The most striking thing about this little retro kitchen is the contrast that’s been created with the two different colours of kitchen cabinets. There’s the pink on top, and it’s a serious show stopper. And then there’s the deep green down the bottom. It’s kinda like a party on the top, with a little bit of sensible thrown in on the bottom – and I’m here for it. Plus, the cute palm-print tea towel brings both shades together nicely! Oh, and do you see that disco ball overhead? Fun, right?
And guess what? This is totally easy to do in your kitchen with a bit of time and a paintbrush. Or better yet, find someone else to deal with the kitchen cabinet painting.
25. White and pink
Here’s another mostly all-white galley kitchen with white timber flooring, walls and cabinetry. To break the white up, this design uses dark brown timber countertops. But then to add some flavour, it incorporates two really fun pink features. The first is the light pink retro fridge on the left. And the second is the quirky hot pink light fixture in the middle of the ceiling. These little added details take this space from simple to intriguing!
26. Matching pink appliances
Here’s another example of how retro-style appliances can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen without needing to undergo a huge kitchen renovation. I love how all of the appliances match. Using the same style and colour appliances is one simple way to lift your kitchen design game. I also really like the pastel mugs – they bring in a touch of blue and yellow.
27. Peach feature wall
If hot pink or soft pink really isn’t your style, then you may prefer this peach-coloured kitchen. Peach is a colour that doesn’t overwhelm, especially if it’s done right. And the addition of peach as a pretty back feature wall is perfect in this small kitchen. It elevates the overall look and feel of the space, adding warmth and life.
28. Pop of orange
Oh, orange, gorgeous orange! I can’t get enough of it – especially in this design. The downside to orange is that it can be a very overwhelming colour if it’s the main shade used throughout a kitchen. But, if orange is carefully placed, it can take any space from mediocre to fabulous in an instant. And this design is no exception.
This large modern kitchen includes plenty of white, grey and brass tones – which are the perfect base. But then, there’s an element of surprise – a striking, bold, retro orange stove! It’s totally unexpected, but that’s what I love about it the most. And, because the rest of the colours are fairly neutral, it fits in seamlessly.
29. Fabulous wallpaper
If you want to make a statement in your retro kitchen, add an all-encompassing floral wallpaper like this one. This is a bold choice but it’s so much fun. I love how the green in the wallpaper matches the forest green of the cabinets. And the pink and purple flowers add the touch of vibrancy this space needs. Plus, how cute is the ‘love’ sign? This kitchen design is proof that sometimes more is more. So, if you’re a go-all-out kinda person, why not be bold and try something like this?
30. Add some gold
Keeping it paired back is great and you can still add modern retro with a gold light that is shaped in a retro design.
There you have it, 30+ retro kitchen ideas – from tables to chairs to retro kitchen decor, and everything in between. That was a whole lot of fun, wasn’t it?
I hope this post has proven to you that there are so many ways that you can style a retro kitchen. Retro doesn’t just have to be pastel pink, green or blue (although these colours are wonderful), but it can incorporate timber, bold prints, fancy wallpapers, dark kitchens, or simply just little pops of colour here and there.
Now, it’s time to hand the reins over to you, so you can get started on transforming your kitchen into a retro culinary haven. But before you go, I’d love to hear from you. Which retro kitchen design did you like the best? One of the pastel kitchens? Maybe the dark green and pink combo? Or perhaps you loved the retro-farmhouse mish-mash? Or what about the small kitchen with soft, muted tones?
Comment and tell me which one was your favourite. And, while you’re at it – do you have any more suggestions for retro kitchen style? Comment and share your thoughts!