Decorating Your Kitchen With A 1940's Retro Theme

Lee Dobbins

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These days kitchen décor comes in all colors, sizes and eras. One fun way to decorate your kitchen is with a bit of 1940’s nostalgia. Painted cabinets, glass knobs, and vintage linens combined with new appliances that have a retro look can give you a unique and functional kitchen.

You can get a great 1940’s look without spending a bundle and still be able to fill your kitchen with some nice collectibles. Here’s some ideas on how you can get a 1940’s look in your kitchen.


Some popular colors from this era include jadeite and a red and white theme. You can find plenty of vintage accents to fill your kitchen for either one of these color schemes. Why not start a collection of jadeite that you can display in open cabinets as well as use for dishware? You can jazz the place up with vintage wooden handle gadgets that are painted jadite and cream. If you are going for the red and white theme, there are plenty of red vintage kitchen ware gadgets out there and vintage linens can really perk up the place. Another advantage of the red and white theme is you can also add in a fruit theme on top of it like apples or strawberries.

I would leave the walls a neutral color - white of off white so that it does not detract from all your great accessories. Linoleum flooring in a checkerboard pattern would be perfect. Some color coordinated throw rugs can add a bit of color to the floor and pull it all together.


Simple lighting is best. You can buy vintage ceiling lights and wall sconces if you want a really authentic look. Of course you'll want to make sure you have enough task lighting so some modern lights will have to be worked in. I suggest you make them as subtle as possible so they don't look out of place.

Window Treatments

Use vintage curtains for your windows. You can buy them with complimentary colors and great patterns. If you can't find curtains make some out of vintage dish towels or tablecloths - you can buy tablecloths that have stains in 1 area pretty cheaply and then just use the good area for the curtains! If you are going with a red and white 1940's kitchen decorating theme, you might want to pick either cherries or apples as a secondary theme and look for curtains with those fruits in the motif.


Glass knobs will really jazz up your furniture and cabinets and add an authentic vintage look. If you have painted cabinets in either white or cream, try the green glass knobs. Your table and chairs should either be a chrome vintage style dinette (you can buy these new and you can still get vintage ones as well), or a vintage wooden style table with enamel top. If you can’t find either of these, you can buy any type table and hide it with a vintage tablecloth.


Accessories for 1940’s style kitchens can be found in antique malls as well as bought brand new. Soften up the room by hanging vintage tablecloths and tea towels around. Chrome appliances go well with this look as do the retro style appliances you can buy brand new these days. And don't forget the vintage breadbox and canisters - every kitchen had them on the counter and you can choose from chrome or enamel in cream and green, or red and white to complete your look.

Lee Dobbins is the owner of A Kitchen Decorating Idea where you can get more ideas on how to decorate your kitchen on a budget .


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