Go Retro: How to Create a Vintage Kitchen Look on the Cheap

Vintage kitchen tips for the sustainable person.

If you’re trying to cut down on buying new products, but want to spruce up your home’s look, we’ve got an idea to pitch you: go vintage. Buying reused, retro, and vintage items can give your home character. And there’s no better place to kick off your redecorating endeavor than in the kitchen.

Before you hit the antique stores to create your vintage kitchen…

Talk to your grandmother or mom. The majority of my awesome kitchen knickknacks have come from family members who know I have a weakness for everything weird and retro. After you’ve cleaned out your family members’ basements, hit the road and look for the following items.

Vintage kitchen accessories

Antique stores are rife with all sorts of kitchen accessories. You can find quality serving dishes, bowls, plates, glasses, aprons, pitchers, teapots, vases, and saltshakers and peppershakers everywhere. You may not have the best of luck if you’re going for a certain kind of theme, but honestly, mismatched vintage-ware is pretty hip. If you seek out items that look similar and were crafted in the same decade, you can craft a unique look for your vintage kitchen that’s all your own. My favorite decades to buy in are the 1960s and 1970s. (Other items to keep your eyes peeled for: tables, chairs, kitchen islands, and TV trays.)

Antique kitchen appliances

While you can find used kitchen appliances at thrift stores, I’d go to antique stores for these items. Quality antique stores will have a large selection of percolators, toasters, and more.

Dish towels, napkins, and table cloths

Same tips here as with vintage kitchen accessories. Mismatched is fine.

If you’re looking to actually redecorate and do some construction, you can easily add knobs and handles to cabinets and drawers (like the green-glass hardware knobs in this This Old House post) and replace worn faucets with retro-like faucets. Other things to consider replacing to get a more vintage feel: tile, curtains, napkin holders, and cabinets.

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Image: George Rex

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.