Retro Kitchens: Back in Fashion and Here’s Why

This post is part of my ongoing amabassador role for Magnet

Retro kitchens are back in fashion according to research by kitchen retailer Magnet.

A recent survey has shown that many Brits are favouring a traditional, classic kitchen over the sleek lines of a modern kitchen.

In fact, over a third of homeowners prefer a county farmhouse style kitchen to a modern design.

Is this surprising? Well nothing really surprises us these days, and the love affair with retro, vintage kitchens, and the rise of the cottagecore movement in particular plays a big part in this shift.

Retro kitchen design is a big deal now.

In fact, the retro look as been creeping into our homes for several years, and it was only a matter of time before it hit the kitchen.

After all, fashion has gone full circle – and what happens there follows into interiors a season or two later.

So what kind of vintage kitchen designs can we expect to see in our homes in the coming years?

Let’s look back through the years at the styles of kitchens we were used to and what made them popular.

Vintage 1960s Kitchen:

The sixties kitchen was something to behold with bright colours and groovy decor. They were indicative of the time, pushing boundaries and styles to the furthest degree.

And just like the decade itself, there was huge change in kitchen design throughout this time.

Firstly we saw sleek angular lines as we moved from the Fifties, but by the end of the period we were seeing psychadelic colours and space age lines.

Coloured cabinets and plank wood was popular at the time and of course they are elements that are easy to integrate into a kitchen now.

It’s quit easy to incorporate looks from this era in to current kitchens.

Be really bold and go with a pistachio kitchen reminisent of the Sixties, or even green, blue or red.

There are lots of colours to choose from in new kitchens that depict this era. Why not create your own?

Retro 1970s Kitchen:

The seventies kitchen had its own unique style. where wood was very popular at the time.

As a child of the seventies, I remember these kitchens well. From formica worktops, to checkerboard vinyl flooring and of course, the wall tiles.

<< Retro Vinyl Flooring Review >>

The tiles took on a life of their own. They were often patterned, after all pattern was a huge decor statement during this decade. And they often embraced the iconic colour palette of the Seventies too – oranges, browns and blues.

There’s no denying that the cottage trend was filtering its way into homes even then, and the younger generation are embracing this look more than ever in current home design.

The Magnet survey found that over a third of homeowners (34%) would choose a traditional country farmhouse style kitchen rather than a more modern and sleek design, highlighting that traditional trends are making a comeback.

Vintage 1980s Kitchen:

One of the most interesting findings from the Magnet survey is that Brits aren’t fans of every single retro kitchen feature as 36% of the nation voted traditional tiled worktops as the worst look of the last 100 years, alongside dark wood kitchen units (27%) and veneer-trimmed cabinets (14%).

So we are at least more discerning when it comes to adding key features from a vintage kitchen design into our modern homes.

<< Hot Kitchen Trends for 2020 >>

The Eighties were a time of big fashion and big change in UK society.

Many might despair of the fashion of this time, now we look back, and that might be felt about the kitchens too.

Certainly it’s not my favourite era in terms of home decor.

Kitchens were chunky, packed full of home accessories and focused on wood and natural shades. The hangover from the 70s took some time to clear, but when it did, families started to embrace technology into their kitchens too.

Which led us nicely into the 90s.

Vintage 1990s Kitchen:

How many of us can remember a Nineties kitchen? These stripes are so reminiscent of our homes at this time. I think I actually had a wall painted just like this.

After the bold colour of the 70s and 80s we moved to a sleeker, more refined style of white in our kitchens.

Many kitchens througout this decade became simpler and more minimalist.

We embraced the uncluttered look – one that has probably stood the test of time – yet we still added colour througout.

<< 25 Ways to Update your Kitchen >>

I suspect we will wait a few more years to see these styles really take hold again.

The Noughties Kitchen:

One of the biggest changes we saw after the turn of the century was the development of appliances in our kitchens.

It’s a move we still see today, 20 years later.

Stainless steel appliances became a big part of the look in our kitchen design of the Noughties, and this was carried through into handles and cabinets themselves.

The dawn of the metallic finish was a big feature in a noughties kitchen, from metal flooring, to metal splashback panels and of course, cabinet handles.

Combined with shots of bright colour we created a DIY style home, made popular by programmes like Changing Rooms.

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The trend for painting our kitchen cabinets has remained, albeit in a more sophisticated way, and brands like Magnet can offer a choice of coloured finishes as part of their designs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make my kitchen look retro?

There are lots of ways to incorporate a vintage, retro kitchen look into your home. Try using checkerboard vinyl flooring, or a coloured worktop, or even add in lots more natural wood for a country cottage look.

What is a classic kitchen design?

A classic or more traditional kitchen incorporates pieces that tend not to date, from wooden cabinets, to simple flooring and lots of personal memorabilia. Adding in open shelving, hooks for pans and display cabinets for tableware are all great touches to give your modern kitchen a classic look.

How do you decorate an old fashioned kitchen?

Like fashion, kitchen trends can make a comeback, resulting in one in five Brits saying they would keep their kitchen longer than 10 years with the hope that it’ll come back in style, but over a quarter of people get a new kitchen every 5 to 10 years.

Further Reading? Find out more about Retro Kitchen Trends on the Magnet blog.

And if you want to find out which retro kitchen style is for you, you can take the Magnet Retro Kitchens quiz.

So how do you feel about a retro kitchen? Is this a style that you’d like to incorporate into your home? Or are you a bigger fan of a simply modern style?

Let me know in the comments below.

Jen x


Jen Stanbrook
Jen Stanbrook

Jen is an award winning digital publisher and has been creating interiors and home decor content for over 10 years.
She has an insatiable love of home interiors, has worked with hundreds of brands, and currently supports many bloggers within the creative industries to share their expertise through writing.
She spends most of her time in her little garden office pod, has 2 daughters and 2 (fighting) cats.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram

This post is part of my ongoing amabassador role for Magnet

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