These Images Of Vintage Kitchens Will Inspire Your Next Refresh

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Although, in past years, an "out with the old, in with the new" philosophy may have run rampant in the home decor space, with mid-century modern furniture and sleek, minimalistic sculptural items taking center stage, the recent months have called for cozier, more comforting vibes. And what's more comforting than a heaping dose of nostalgia? Yes, just like fashion is seeing a recycling of sorts in '70s-inspired denim and '90s mini dresses, the home arena is taking a page from the vintage spaces of yore, particularly kitchens.

Without a doubt, [vintage home decor is] the rise," says Whitney Frances Falk, founder and CEO of furniture company ZZ Driggs, to The Zoe Report. "Our global culture, due to the climate crisis we’re all experiencing and the altruistic desire to protect our shared planet, is realizing the importance of investing in, or the making of, goods that last. [...] Thus comes an appreciation and return to utilizing goods that were constructed many years, if not decades ago, that still test true today. This is personified in overall aesthetics, as well."

With many a meal being cooked up indoors, even the most unused kitchens are being dusted off lately, putting a spotlight on areas that can use an upgrade. And whether you've had your fill of modern, Insta-famous decor or are simply looking to pick up a few sustainable vintage items, a throwback element could give your kitchen the fresh take it needs. “From major furniture pieces, to accessories, to serving bowls, vintage finds add so much individuality to a kitchen,” says Jaime Rummerfield, co-founder of design firm Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design, to TZR.

Los Angeles-based interior designer Stefani Stein seconds this notion, noting things like handmade tile, colored cabinetry, rich wooden paneling, pendants and sconces, and cafe curtains as ideal throwback touches. "I have always been drawn to vintage elements and juxtaposition," she explains to TZR. "I don’t think there is a single project of mine that doesn’t include vintage furnishings, studio pottery, art, or lighting."

Are you interested in adding some retro stylings to your cooking space? Ahead, seven images of vintage kitchens dating from the 1950s to the 1980s that'll serve as inspiration for your next refresh.

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Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1955

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"In the 50s, after WWII, everyone wanted the 'kitchen of the future!' says Nicole Alexander of interior design firm Siren Betty Design to TZR. "Formica countertops, in bright colors and bold patterns, like that classic boomerang design, trimmed in aluminum were very popular. And this is the age of the kitchen gadget, a time when people wanted to show off modern appliances as status symbols. So we start to see toasters and stand mixers and juicers that are pretty enough to sit out on the counter top instead of being hidden in a pantry. We can also thank Julia Child for popularizing pegboard in the '50s kitchen."

Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1965

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"In the '60s, kitchens take on an earthier vibe incorporating wooden cabinetry and paneling, groovy floral patterns in upholstery and window treatments, and brick,” says Alexander. “Likewise, we start seeing more houseplants in the kitchen, perhaps hanging from macramé slings.”

Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1977

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"You don’t have to do a gut rehab to get a vintage kitchen vibe," says Alexander. "I love the idea of incorporating vintage pieces into your existing space, like art, countertop containers, bowls, even vintage small appliances like scales and juicers, because it's low commitment, low-cost and works even if you rent your place and can’t do things like install tile or paint. I am a firm believer in the power of thrifting! With a little patience (and not a lot of money), you can find the most incredible vintage pieces."

Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1980

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“If you live in a historic home, a very contemporary kitchen might not suit the overall narrative of the space,” says Ron Woodson, co-founder of LA-based design firm Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design. “I always research the era the home was built in and try to pay homage to it in some way — whether through paint colors or decor style.”

Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1980

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"There's nothing like a local antique or flea market to both find treasures and get to know your local community of antique suppliers and sources," says Whitney Frances Falk, Founder and CEO of furniture retailer ZZ Driggs, to TZR. "Even if you don’t find what you’re looking for at a certain market, it’s usually such a supportive and helpful community of people. Simply describe what you’re looking for to a number of these individuals, and you can quite possibly and enjoyably find someone to keep a lookout for your desired object and willing to call or text when they find just the thing."

Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1980

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"Today, wallpaper can feel a bit impractical in a hard-working room such as a kitchen," says Stein. "However, it is a great accent to provide a little variation and break up the hard surfaces when incorporated into a breakfast room."

Vintage Kitchen, Circa 1980

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"I would recommend avoiding little items of decor that don’t serve a purpose or functionality today and more so fit the bill of consumption," says Frances Falk. "On the other hand, a gorgeous cedar chest from the ‘40s could be just as useful today for storing winter clothes, as it was then. Or, an oak cupboard that housed some linen napkins in the ‘50s can still do just that, or more, today. Basically, look for quality materials that still efficiently help you out today. These works of furniture or decor will never go out of style and, even more remarkably so, may garner more value and worth when treated with love, care, and respect."