Retro Kitchen Chairs

Hearken back to a midcentury look by choosing from a variety of styles and colors.
Kitchen Island With Overhang and Hardwood Floors

Kitchen With Rich Hardwood Floors and Dark Cabinets

A large kitchen island with a marble countertop that extends beyond the island itself fills a kitchen which is next to a dining area with a round table and four white chairs.

A large kitchen island with a marble countertop that extends beyond the island itself fills a kitchen which is next to a dining area with a round table and four white chairs.
By: Gina Hannah

Retro kitchen chairs. When you think of them, what probably comes to mind is a look with splash—with the shiny chrome and bright colors of the mid 20th century. But even within that era, you'll find an endless variety of styles, colors, prints and patterns.

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One of the most popular retro kitchen chair designs is a simple chair with metal legs and a vinyl seat and back. Within this style alone there is a wide range of variations. You can choose either brushed, polished or painted metal, and pick from a rainbow of colors for the cushion and back. You can find cushions in solids or in prints that include flowers, stripes or geometric shapes. The shape of the seat cushion and back can vary. You can also find this style of chair made of wood; these chairs often have wooden backs as well and just a seat cushion.

Another chair style that many modern design enthusiasts like is molded plastic. If you're lucky, you may be able to find original vintage pieces at antique stores or estate sales, or by searching the Internet. Several furniture manufacturers also make these retro chairs. The legs of molded plastic chairs are typically metal, but wood is sometimes used. An updated take on this style is an "S" shaped chair of plastic, available in a wide range of colors.

Although wire mesh chairs are something you typically see on an outdoor deck or patio, they can be used in a kitchen to help build your retro look. You can add a cushion if you like; it will add a touch of color and comfort.

Many homeowners like a midcentury modern look for their bar stools. Styles vary, from stools that look like enlarged funnels to simple curved plastic seats. A bar stool with heavy chrome legs and a thick, round vinyl seat—like those found in old soda shops and diners—is both retro and timeless. Some of these bar stools come with a cushioned seat back as well. The seat portion of both of these styles of bar stools can be found in a wide range of colors.

When you choose your chairs, consider not only giving your kitchen a color pop, but also mixing colors. Even a mix of different earthy tones in a retro kitchen chair can give your kitchen a unique and unforgettable look. Or contrast black and white cabinets, counters and flooring with chairs giving a splash of red, purple, yellow or cobalt blue.

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