Retro Kitchen Cabinets

Learn about the different options for retro kitchen cabinets and see how they can give nostalgic homeowners the "throw-back" vibe they want for their home.
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HDIVD1512_kitchen-before_4x3

Wide view of a kitchen with hardwood floor, outdated countertops, and pale yellow walls.

By: Amy McEvoy
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Retro kitchen cabinets have become increasingly popular as more and more homeowners seek to add nostalgic design elements from past decades to their home.

Finding Your Favorite Kitchen Style

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Past and Future Now

This transitional kitchen combines warm wood cabinets with the simplicity of subway-tile-covered walls, understated Roman shades and minimal accessories. Stainless choices, industrial pendants and a muted geometric rug are more marriages between contemporary and traditional that define this design approach.

Gray and White Done Right

Traditional white raised-panel cabinets get a contemporary accent in the gray flooring, countertop and wall color choice in this transitional kitchen. Touches of black in the traditional pendant lighting and the contemporary island stools ground the scheme firmly in this comfortable and classy style.

Contemporary, Not Cold

This contemporary kitchen dominated by bright-white cabinetry and flooring is sleek, clean and anything but sterile. Watery blue touches in the backsplash and the frosted-glass-front cabinets, along with a bright green vase and woven dining chairs add punches of color without taking away from the overall look.

Contemporary Kitchen Choices

A thorough lighting plan that highlights the wood cabinetry along the top, counter and floor makes this windowless kitchen functional. It also balances the shiny stainless appliances. A striking striped rug is the only shot of color.

Today's Traditional Kitchen

Lots of rich, dark cabinetry is a feast for the eyes in this kitchen and adjoining dining room. It's cleverly balanced with large areas of white while the stainless choices sprinkled throughout keep it all current.

Black, White & Warm All Over

Classic colors, pewter hardware, generous crown molding and gauzy window treatments are all signatures of traditional style. This kitchen's wooden floor and cotton scatter rug ground the room and are durable choices that keep up with the hardworking, calm space.

Make Mine Modern

Plants and cooking essentials are the only decorations in this modern kitchen, yet it's interesting and perfectly reflects the homeowner's personal style. Black leather bar chairs and a matching couch bring out the track lighting and stainless appliance accents. Ceiling-height cabinetry with sleek pulls provides plenty of storage and enhances the space's minimal aesthetic.

Stir Up Modern Style

What would you do with all that streamlined storage space? This modern kitchen keeps anything not tucked away organized and within reach on polished surfaces, shelves and racks. A neutral palette allows any cook's creations to take center stage.

Dual-Function Kitchen

This country kitchen was designed for cooking and eating. A wooden table, painted chairs and glass-front cabinets displaying white dishes cover the dining needs. Essential kitchen elements like the unique take on beadboard cabinets, braided scatter rugs, a large farmhouse sink, the white-washed hardwood floor plus a liberal use of black all combine into one welcoming room.

Cool Country

Country kitchens get the job done and this one does it stylishly. The elements — painted paneling, beadboard cabinets, a butcher-block island countertop, open shelving, a simple striped valance, a resourceful cookbook nook and mouth-blown glass pendant lights — come together to create a design that looks as great as it works.

Coupled with retro kitchen appliances and accessories, retro kitchen cabinets can help make a unique and creative room that shows off the homeowner's interests and style.

Currently, one of the most popular retro kitchen cabinet designs is midcentury modern. This design aesthetic has a vintage feel yet is currently seen in some of the most modern kitchens. This is because midcentury modern design features streamlined, angular lines and specific highlighted geometric shapes. Cabinetry of this era tends to be more sleek and seamless, with minimal adornment and greater emphasis placed on function and solid construction rather than on decorative flair. Additionally, midcentury modern cabinets come in a variety of colors and can be purchased from many home improvement or design stores.

Another popular approach to a retro kitchen is to design a kitchen that emulates post-war 1950s American style. This classic style features sharp angles, exaggerated curves and futuristic space-age design elements. Retro kitchen cabinets reflecting this era are often done in bold, bright colors such as red, blue or green. They are usually finished in high gloss and feature sleek, large chrome hardware to accentuate their look.

Homeowners seeking a retro style kitchen may choose to add vintage kitchen appliances, retro furniture pieces of futuristic accessories such as artwork and clocks to take this design a step further and complete the look. Vintage stoves and refrigerators have become popular and high-end reproductions can be bought in a number of colors and styles. 1950s-style dining tables and chairs can also be added to give the room whimsy and character.

Whether you are looking to create a specific midcentury modern feel in your kitchen or are recreating a quaint vintage look, retro kitchen cabinets can give your kitchen the warmth and unique character that reflects your love of a certain era of design. Adding personal collections of memorabilia or replicas of vintage appliances or textiles can provide the finishing touches to give you that "throw-back" look you've always wanted.

Your Kitchen Style: Modern

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