Kitchen Makeover Ideas: Go Retro

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Updated

Taking a step back into the past has become increasingly popular within the world of interior design. Retro interiors can be any decade you wish to re-visit, however, the most popular are the 50's, 60's and 70's depending on your age! The retro eras typically include bright colours, Formica topped tables, patterned lino and retro accessories to tie the theme together.


Fitted kitchens are a relatively new conception, back in the 50's free standing cabinets were the norm, many with shelving enclosed by sliding glass doors at the top and drop down doors with a Formica covering which then became a much needed work surface. It was also quite usual to have brightly coloured cupboard doors, with blues, pinks and red being the favourites.

Window Dressing

Net curtains where common place, along with curtains so, if you want to get the look use net curtains in combination with coloured kitchen curtains to match your cupboards. For example teal curtains can be used to compliment teal or blue cabinets. If you prefer to use kitchen blinds then look for the retro colours and patterns.


Lino was the norm so you need to be prepared to forgo modern tiles or stone. As lino can be cold to bare feet large rugs with a retro design are perfect for achieving the look without you having to give up the creature comforts of warm feet! Look for patterned lino which co-ordinates with your colour scheme to create a stylish kitchen which plays homage to the particular era you've chosen for your home.


Wallpaper was the order of the day, again with retro patterns – it was not usual to have all the walls papered, but a feature wall gave small kitchens especially a focal point. The remaining walls were painted white or a pale colour to complement the flooring and cupboards.


This is where you can really start to pull the look together – if you don't fancy scouring second-hand shops there are plenty of retro stores or stores which specialise in retro replicas. As the age of kitchen gadgets revolutionised kitchens these are perfect for putting on display, for example retro toasters, food mixers and the like should be displayed proudly and not stored out of sight inside cupboards.

We mustn't forget that many kitchens also had a small kitchen table and chairs for eating, the dining room – if the house had one – was purely for use on high days and holidays! The kitchen table also gave an additional much needed work surface.

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