Expert Design Tips to Create a Modern Retro Kitchen

Expert Design Tips to Create a Modern Retro Kitchen

While certain design elements have remained “classics” for decades, there are also style trends that regularly reoccur. The retro vibes of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s may have drifted out of style a few decades ago, but they’re now making a comeback in a big way. From high-end fashion to caravans and interior design, we’re seeing a resurgence of retro style everywhere, often accompanied by a modern twist. This is fantastic news for those who want to let their bright and bold personalities shine through, with retro providing plenty of opportunities for you to put a unique twist on your kitchen design. These vintage kitchen design ideas, from colourful splashbacks to melamine accents, will inspire you – and check out our full guide for modern retro kitchen additional kitchen ideas and practical guidance on bringing your dream looks to reality.

To help you get inspired, we’ve put together some expert design tips to create a modern retro kitchen

1. Use Timber

Timber cabinetry was a popular choice back in the day, but it became less common as other materials became more cost-effective and durable. Fortunately, it is now easy and cost-effective to incorporate timber elements into a kitchen thanks to products like Polytec’s Woodmatt laminates range. The timber-look laminate range from Polytec is low maintenance, stain/scratch-resistant and easy to hygienically clean. 

2. Bold Features

Selecting one or two bold features is an excellent way to add a retro feel to your kitchen design. This enables you to bring some life into your kitchen design without having to go overboard. For example, you could install a brightly coloured feature cabinet or an eye-catching splashback to contrast with the more neutral tones of the surrounding cupboards, benchtop and walls. 

3. Incorporate Pastels

If you love the retro stylings of the 1950s, then pastels are the way to go. Think lemony yellows, baby blues, mint greens or lavenders. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to use all these pastels together! Choose your favourite pastel shades and add them to a few key design elements, such as the end panels on your bench or the overhead cabinetry. 

4. Bring Back Patterns

Patterns played an integral role in the original retro home design, so if you want to achieve a retro look, bring back patterns! A modern twist on the classic geometric pattern is the concept of a re-worked pattern – where a single pattern reappears in different mediums throughout the kitchen design. For example, you could have a diamond pattern in your splashback tiles and on the lampshades you choose for your pendant lights. 

5. Retro Colours

If you’re aiming for more of a 1970s feel, then it’s hard to go past the burnt orange and vivid greens synonymous with this era. The key here is to use these colours sparingly (as a splashback, a feature wall or a statement cabinet) rather than going overboard with a kitchen that is 80% orange. Couple retro colours with more neutral tones to create a balanced and appealing modern retro kitchen.  

6. Pop Culture Art

If you don’t want to commit to a long-term retro design, then there are still ways to add a retro feel to a modern kitchen. And one of the easiest ways to do this is by installing some oversized artworks, preferably with a pop culture reference. Think bright colours, bold patterns or classic postcard-style prints – whatever appeals to your personal tastes.