Let me just clear up one thing before we dive in to this sticky topic. The label “vintage kitchen” has a warm, inviting and all around adorable connotation. You know, something like this.
Or even something like this that’s so over the top that it’s cute.
Some vintage kitchens are correctly labeled adorable vintage, but sometimes a kitchen is labeled vintage and it’s not so adorable. Or sometimes a kitchen is absolutely vintage, but it needs a bit of help to get to “adorable vintage” level.
Another reality is that we might have something outdated that we call vintage. Below is a perfect example that outdated can have a chance even in a rental when you can’t touch things like the cabinets, tile and flooring. It also shows that I’m going to keep this post completely realistic. I live with a rental kitchen which means I can’t touch that bow thing over the sink or really take ANYTHING out my kitchen. All I can do is go with it.
I may or may not have emailed the owner of our home last week to ask if he would be up for a “mini kitchen reno”. No? Oh, never mind. I tried. And for those two days while I was waiting on his response obviously convinced he was going to say, “Why, yes, Claire, I was actually just planning to start a mini kitchen reno next week, I’m so glad you asked, would you like to take over from here??” my head was spinning with major adrenaline while thinking about WHAT I WOULD DO TO OUR KITCHEN!!!! Oh man, those are the words of my dreams right there. I will be a monster when we finally do a purchase a home and I get to make decisions that pertain to a kitchen reno/makeover. But for now, we have our vintage kitchen as I like to call it. It works just fine (I mean no dishwasher but we actually prefer being without now – As for that huge hole in the cabinet where a dishwasher should go, not so into that). It might not be the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, and sometimes I stare at that decorative bow detail over the sink and think about taking a hammer to it, but other than that, I just go with it.
I’m genuinely surprised when people walk into my home and comment on the kitchen. I usually blankly stare at them and then say “oh, you’re too kind, but really, you mean it??” I have decided a few things play into this. My living room is all over my blog and Instagram. My friends/acquaintances see this. They picture what my living room will look like, and then when they walk through the front door and don’t see those perfectly styled vignettes or really just a perfectly styled room, they don’t know what to think and are confused. THEN they walk into the kitchen which is not shown on my blog and Instagram, so they don’t have a preformed image of what the kitchen is supposed to look like and they feel more comfortable saying “oh this is so cute!” Right?
How to Pull off a Vintage Kitchen:
Function vs. Design: Maybe it’s not totally practical to hang a mirror over the sink, but if it makes the space look better, go for it. There are really no rules to making a vintage kitchen your own. There are already major quirks, so what are a few more?
Embrace Plants: Lots of them. An old kitchen will likely feel a bit lifeless. The best way to bring in life is through plant life. You can never have too many plants in an old kitchen.
A rug goes a long way. Literally and figuratively. Add a big area rug to cover up ugly or outdated floors.
More is more. Some will disagree with this one, but I say if you have an OLD kitchen, the more you distract from it, the better. Plus, chances are you won’t have much of a choice with this one. Old kitchens don’t usually have an incredible amount of storage.
Embrace color. Pink tile? It can look adorable and intentional. Just go with it.
Bottom line? There’s a 90% chance you don’t have your dream kitchen, and completely overhauling it isn’t always an option. If your kitchen is old and/or vintage, just go with it and play up the vintage vibe.