Throwback Thursday: Retro Kitchen Design Ideas

Retro Kitchen Design Ideas | Diary of a DIYer

It’s a look that’s frozen in time.

Many interior designers who create retro kitchen designs in the present day are equal parts designer and historian. Capturing the ‘50s influence is fairly simple. Finding the right pieces is the hard part.

Retro kitchens are a timeless trend. Whether you want an exact replica of 1950s kitchen aesthetics or one with a modern twist, keep reading to learn what types of accents you’ll need to design an authentic retro kitchen.

Polished Chrome Accents

Diner style should be a source of inspiration when designing a retro kitchen. Think checkered floors, lots of color and chrome accents wherever you can fit them in.

Install a faucet, lighting and cabinet hardware with chrome finishes to get that dinner-at-the-diner feeling. A polished chrome faucet or pendant light are simple additions that’ll help you get the retro look. Want to take it to the next level? Buy kitchen furniture with chrome trim.

Pastel Color Scheme

Color is an important element of designing a retro kitchen. Kitchens of the ‘50s often had kitchen cabinets in pastel shades of blues, pinks, greens and yellows. The washed out color scheme also made its way into kitchen décor like chair cushions and countertop appliances.

To add a functional pop of color to your countertop, buy a KitchenAid stand mixer. The bold color and stainless steel mixing bowl will effortlessly blend into your retro kitchen style.

Big Chill Appliances

Perhaps the easiest way to add retro style to your kitchen is to buy your appliances from Big Chill. These appliances—ranging from refrigerators to dishwashers—are designed with the ‘50s aesthetic in mind. You’ll get retro style with modern amenities like energy efficiency and temperature management systems.

Big Chill’s Induction Cooktop is the perfect balance of old-meets-new. This electric cooktop offers sleek ‘50s style with the benefits of a smooth top range like pan detection technology. Pair the Induction Cooktop with the matching wall oven and you’ll be able to effortlessly prepare a family dinner while baking dessert.

Add Kitsch

No retro kitchen is complete without its share of kitschy décor. A lot of wall clocks, statement wall décor and atomic starburst patterns were the norm in a ‘50s kitchen. Retro Planet sells a lot of kitchen décor that fits this era.

This vintage starburst coffee carafe is great for your countertop. Use it as a pitcher for water or simply display it on your countertop for an easy decorative touch.

Remember the checkered floors I mentioned earlier? I’ll admit, installing a black and white checkered floor pattern can be a little bit much (especially when it comes to resale value). If you don’t want to commit to such a bold flooring choice, find checkered hand towels for a more subtle approach.


Thanks to the many resources both on- and offline, designing a retro kitchen is easier than ever before. Take advantage of websites like Etsy, Pinterest and Houzz for online deals and ideas. But sometimes a trip to your local thrift shop can provide the most authentic retro kitchen décor at a low cost.

Can’t get enough retro kitchen design? Follow my retro kitchens board on Pinterest for more inspiration!

Header photo courtesy of Henderson & Redfearn.