You’re thinking of renovating your kitchen, but modern trends just aren’t appealing to you the way they used to. Your friends’ kitchens all look the same, and you’re hoping to make a bit of a statement–while remaining true to time-honored and classic styles. One of the most lovely is the retro kitchen, which marries the fun colors and designs of years ago with all the conveniences of today.

Play with pastels

Think about colors that used to be popular in kitchens. Creamy pastels, mint green counter tops, and beautiful pale yellow. To give your kitchen a more retro feel, embrace all these soft colors of yesteryear. Look at gorgeous pairings of robin’s-egg blue cabinets with impeccable white countertops. You can integrate both modern and retro elements, for example, by doing a white tile backsplash. The key to retro remodels is making sure the color combinations are nostalgic yet timeless at the same time.


Now, nobody is looking for carpet-in-the-kitchen retro. That’s one trend most people are happy to leave far, far behind in favor of classier and easier-to-clean flooring. Think about flooring that inspires a retro feel for you. What’s more retro than checkerboard tile? Either go for the bold black and white checkers, or even a more neutral and demure checkerboard. Remember that if tiles aren’t in your future, hardwood flooring is everybody’s best friend for form and function.

Sinks and faucets

When it comes to your kitchen, the sink can’t be understated. With all your activities of daily living, it’s sure to be a huge part of your routine. Although retro kitchens remind most people of a white enamel sink, there are plenty of options here. If you want to go with a farmhouse feel, then try to find a deep dual basin. (Plus, you’ll be getting all the benefits of a dual-basin sink, for both convenience and size!) A gooseneck faucet will work best in keeping with the soft lines of a retro kitchen.


You want your retro kitchen to look clean and well-lit, not overly bright. It should be subtle but not washed out. Invest in overhead lights that not only offer a soft and calming glow but speak to your aesthetics as well. Some embracing the retro look for the vintage Edison bulb look. Others opt to add a pop of color with overhead lights. And don’t forget your sources of natural light: highlight your windows with evocative, off-white trim. Avoid using any bright whites in your kitchen, as the harshness might undermine your theme.

Major and minor appliances

In keeping with the softness of a retro kitchen, you might want to go for a dishwasher that’s a white or as opposed to black or chrome. The same goes for your refrigerator, as a black fridge will look out-of-place entirely in a pastel kitchen. With your stove, also try to keep it neutral. We love a soft stainless steel style for its elegance and timelessness. That will keep your kitchen light and fresh, while adequately balancing out the pastels and not jarring with anything you already have set up.

And minor appliances add to the look as well. Treat yourself to vintage-looking French presses. Tea kettles in sweet pastels. Mixing bowls just like the ones our parents used at home. A mint green toaster with soft lines and shiny chrome knobs. This part of the remodel is where you get to experiment and have fun fusing color, shapes, and appliances into the sort of harmony you’re seeking.

A remodeling project, while challenging, can open you up to all your house’s potential. Have fun with the process: visit vintage stores, go to trade shows, develop a vision for your perfect retro kitchen, but be flexible enough to find inspiration in unexpected places.