If you're a fan of vintage vibes and mid-century modern decor, then a retro kitchen design is perfect for you! While America may not have its own distinct decor style, it did have a design revolution in the late 1950s that created a distinct retro look. With geometric shapes and pastel colors, this atomic age design was complemented by the classic American diner-style featuring red, black, and white colors. This classic kitchen style has since become popular in French bistros and Italian cafes, and now you can bring some of that retro charm into your own home. Here's how you can create a 1950s vibe in your own kitchen.
A Blast From The Past: How To Create A Retro Kitchen Vibe
When it comes to creating a 1950s kitchen vibe, incorporating red decor is a must (think: an American diner from that era) . What better way to do that than by adding a touch of red leatherette to your kitchen?
One great way to achieve this look is by investing in a sleek banquette in a bright shade of red. Of course, this might be a bit pricey for some people. But don't worry - you can still recreate the same effect without breaking the bank. Just opt for a red leather loveseat instead and pair it with a retro formica table for an authentic diner feel.
Other ways to incorporate this vibrant hue into your retro kitchen decor is by adding a red clock to your kitchen wall. You can find retro-style clocks with large faces that will instantly add a touch of vintage charm to your space.
Another option is to choose red appliances, such as a toaster, blender, or even a stand mixer. These appliances will not only provide a pop of color, but they'll also give your kitchen a functional, retro-inspired look that's perfect for whipping up your favorite recipes.
You can also add red accents through your dishware and kitchen accessories. Look for red dish towels, oven mitts, and potholders to add a touch of color to your kitchen. And don't forget about small details like red knobs on your cabinets and drawers or a red light fixture to tie the whole room together. With just a few strategic pops of red, you can easily create a 1950s style kitchen that's both functional and fashionable.
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Black & White Checkered Flooring
During the 1950s, checkered linoleum flooring became de rigueur among restaurants, retail establishments and homeowners. This pattern was incredibly popular, and worked really well with the design of the times. Today, we love the look of a black and white tile floor because the look is classic, and works effortlessly with so many kitchen decor styles, from modern to farmhouse and everything in between.
If you don't want to commit to an entire black and white patterned floor, you can shoot for a black & white checkered mat, runner or area rug. This is a great way to try out the look without spending a lot of dough.
The 1950s were a time of optimism, growth, and innovation in the United States, and that optimism somehow translated into pastels and bright colors in the home. This was particularly true in home kitchens, where people could experiment with bold color choices in a relatively small and contained space. One popular paint color of the era was aqua, a bright blue-green shade that was often paired with pink or coral accents. Another popular color was yellow, which was seen as a cheerful and sunny choice for the kitchen.
According to an article on Retro Renovation, a website dedicated to vintage home design, other popular kitchen paint colors of the 1950s included mint green, peach, and turquoise. These colors were often used in combination with each other, creating a playful and cheerful atmosphere in the kitchen. The article also notes that patterns and textures were popular in the 1950s, with many homeowners using wallpaper or textured paint to add interest to their kitchen walls.
While some of the exact paint colors of the 1950s may no longer be available, many paint manufacturers offer shades that are comparable. For example, Sherwin-Williams offers a paint color called "Aqua-Sphere", which is a bright blue-green shade similar to the popular aqua color of the 1950s. Behr Paint offers a shade called "Honey Tea", which is a warm yellow that could work well as a 1950s-inspired kitchen color. Mint green shades are also available from a variety of paint manufacturers, including Benjamin Moore's "Soft Mint".
If you're looking to refinish your kitchen cabinets with a retro 1950s, mid-century modern vibe, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, color is key. As we discussed earlier, pastels and bright colors were very popular in the 1950s, so consider using a bold shade like aqua, yellow, or mint green to really make your cabinets pop. You can also experiment with two-tone color schemes, such as pairing aqua cabinets with white or pink accents.
Another key element of mid-century modern design is texture. Rather than going for a glossy, polished finish, consider using a matte or satin finish to give your cabinets a more tactile quality. You could also experiment with textured paint or wallpaper to add interest to the cabinet doors.
Finally, hardware can make a big difference when it comes to creating a retro look. Consider using brass or copper hardware with a brushed or matte finish, as these materials were very popular in mid-century modern design.
Of course, the exact refinishing process will depend on the current state of your cabinets, so it's always a good idea to consult with a professional or do some research before getting started.
Scour Antique Shops, Thrift Stores & Tag Sales
Antique stores, thrift stores, flea markets and even tag sales are the best places to shop for authentic retro home decor items. From housewares to cookware, kitschy kitchen decor and knick knacks, you're certain to find items that are from this era to add to your home. Think: Coca Cola, Kit Kat clocks and retro tin signs. Atomic and mid-century ANYTHING. From curtains to dishtowels and wall decor, the mid-century design atomic design is a must-have for any retro kitchen vibe.
On a personal note, this is my go-to spot whenever I'm feeling nostalgic. I've found so many things from my childhood here that I've started a little retro nook in my home that's chock full of pieces from the 70s and 80s. I swear, a couple of these items may have even come from my own childhood home!
In any event, we love this collection of vintage-inspired home decor pieces that Happiness is Homemade put together. Wat do you think? They sure are swell!
Even though America doesn't have its own distinct decor style, the late 1950s design revolution gave birth to a unique retro look that still resonates today. The atomic age design, featuring geometric shapes and pastel colors, was perfectly complemented by the classic American diner-style with its bold red, black, and white colors. Don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with creating a retro vibe in your kitchen, whether it's a full-on retro makeover or just a few touches here and there. Your kitchen will be the talk of the town in no time!
Not sure if you're into the 50s kitchen vibe? Use this infographic to determine what style of kitchen is right for you: