Vintage Kitchen Decorating Ideas

Browse options for vintage kitchen decorating ideas, and get ready to reference a bygone era in fun and interesting ways in your kitchen design.
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By: Sean McEvoy
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Vintage kitchen decorating ideas can help anyone who's open to a classic, playful, throwback look when it comes to their kitchen design.

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Whether you're considering a full-on vintage style that strongly references a bygone era, or just looking to spruce up your overall design with some vintage flourishes, you'll have plenty of options from which to choose.

When referencing vintage design or decorating, it can be helpful to first outline the distinctions between antique, vintage and retro styles — all of which are commonly cited by homeowners and designers when planning remodels or kitchen installs. In general, "antique" refers to items that are over 100 years old. "Vintage" refers to an item that is both strongly representative of an era of design, and usually well-over 20 years old. Finally, "retro" is almost always used to refer to an item or a design that references a fairly recent fashion or design trend — a good example would be acid-washed jeans — they're worn as much for style as for the opportunity to playfully pay homage to a recent era of fashion and design.

In today's design lingo, "vintage" generally refers to styles that originated between the 1930s and 1950s. In particular, the playful, optimistic and "retro futurist" designs of the post World War II era are popular vintage styles. Decorating a vintage kitchen with these referential styles can take many forms, from artwork to cooking accessories, all of them able to be paired with specifically vintage designs, or incorporated into different design styles.

One of the simplest ways to decorate a kitchen with vintage designs is with cookware and accessories. Mixers, coffee makers, toasters and other small appliances are all available in vintage styles, often featuring the space-age designs of the 1950s and 1960s in an array of bright and bold colors like yellow, green, orange and red.

Artwork can also be a great way to add a vintage appeal to your kitchen design. From impressionistic modern paintings and prints from the 1950s to vintage advertising or political posters from the World War II era, artwork can add great visual interest to any vintage kitchen design.

Another option for decorating vintage kitchens is wallpaper. Playful colors and designs are often incorporated, sometimes covering entire walls, and other times used as a flourish on a backsplash or as a lining for the back of a vintage cabinet. Polka dots and other popular wallpaper patterns from the postwar era can be a great addition to a vintage kitchen design.

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