Kitschy Kitchen Decor Ideas

Kitschy kitchens are gearing up to be a home decor trend in 2024, according to Pinterest Predicts! If you’ve been dreaming of a colorful and quirky retro kitchen, this is your year to make it happen!

Creating your own new kitschy kitchen (also lovingly termed a “kitschen”) means incorporating vibrant colors and patterns, sprinkling in retro-inspired appliances (like that Smeg refrigerator you’ve been dreaming of!). It also means making room to display your vintage collection, or perhaps starting a new one!

What is Kitsch?

Kitschy art or design is defined by the Oxford Language Dictionary as “considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.”

The word “kitsch” originally comes from a German word meaning “gaudy” or “trash.” Kitsch may have begun as a way to brush off a style one views as outdated or too much; however, for those of us who are drawn to the styles of the past, even kitschy decor has become appreciated in its own right!

In other contexts, some pieces of kitschy decor might be tacky or eccentric, but in a kitschy kitchen, we embrace it in a maximalist and over-the-top fashion. 

Most often, when referring to kitschy style, we are talking about design recognizably inspired by the 1940s through the 1960s. Wallpaper reminiscent of the 50s and 60s is popping up in boho kitchens. Pyrex, copper cake tins, jadeite, and depression glass are vintage kitchen items that have long had a cult following, so collectors will have reason to rejoice.

We will also see many more bright colors in contrast to the neutrals that have been popular in recent years, thanks to modern farmhouse design. 

How To Create A “Kitschen”

Show Off Your Vintage Collections

Photo By: happy.whiskers

The secret formula to a kitschy kitchen includes bright colored cabinets and appliances and retro inspired patterns–but the real star of the show is the abundance of vintage dishes and antique knick knacks you can fit on kitchen shelves. The room shown above is a quintessential example of kitsch done well in a kitchen, featuring great examples of all these key elements.

Photo By: @daisyacreshomemaker

It’s time to scour your local thrift store for hidden treasures, and bring down grandma’s Pyrex from the attic! Displaying your vintage collections will give a quirky flair to your kitchen.

An antique hutch updated with a bright coat of paint would be the perfect spot to display your proud possessions. You don’t even need to go out and buy a whole new kitchen full of vintage dishes–a few embellishments here and there can add a kitschy feel to a kitchen!

Photo By: Apartment Therapy 

If your kitchen doesn’t have open shelving, a vintage bar cart is another easy way to keep keepsakes visible for the eye to enjoy! In addition to displaying your Pyrex collection, you could curate some antique baking supplies and copper cake tins to create a fun baking themed cart, or put together a cute coffee station to show off your Smeg coffee maker.

Incorporate Vintage Patterns

Photo By: Clare

A vintage-inspired wallpaper is a great way to incorporate a bold floral pattern inspired by decades past! This kitchen is a little bit boho, a little bit vintage. It goes to show you aren’t limited to a certain decade or era when creating your kitschy kitchen. You can focus on whatever styles keep you inspired! Pink, sage green, and orange are the perfect colors for giving any room a kitschy look.

Photo By: Etsy

Even the textiles in a kitchen can give it a back-in-time feel. To give your kitchen an eclectic feel, decorate here and there with bright colored crochet or embroidered pieces. You can even create your own pieces that feel kitschy to you.

If you sew, keep your eyes peeled at local thrift stores and flea markets for vintage fabrics. All of these textiles can be incorporated as window treatments, pot holders, dish towels. You can also go really kitsch and make your own sink skirt! 

Photo By: Hey! Homewrecker

The creator behind this DIY revamped a kitchen cabinet, and used authentic 1970s wallpaper as a backsplash. This shows that even a little bit of a pattern goes a long way in giving your kitchen a kitschy vibe, so you can use a small amount as an accent wall or backsplash to start, to see how you like it. The cohesive color scheme really allows the kitschy collection of 1970s dishes to stand out.

Think Pink

Photo By: Kate Hielema Morgan

According to Pinterest Predicts, retro pink kitchens specifically are growing in popularity. If you’re going for a full on pink kitchen, you can add pink cabinets, tiles, furniture, and dishes. A few pops of turquoise can offset the pink to keep it from overloading the senses. This muted checkerboard floor is a subtle nod to a classic black-and-white checkerboard diner floor.

Photo By: A Beautiful Mess

This DIY pink banquette looks like it belongs in an upscale 50s nightclub, making us think of Audrey Hepburn movies. Think of how luxurious it would feel to have a pink booth in your home! The possibilities are endless of ways you could style this pink dining booth in a kitschy kitchen. 

Photo By: Live Sweet

Instead of focusing on just pink, combining mint and pink will make your kitchen feel very 50s.This mint and pink kitchen like an ice cream parlor!. It’s actually a basement kitchenette, which is a great idea–instead of devoting your main kitchen to a retro design, you could try implementing it in a basement or mother-in-law kitchenette.

Embrace Natural Wood

Photo By: Whimsy Soul 

The owners of this AirB&B opted to keep the original 80s cabinets, refinishing the wood and  replacing the hardware. After adding pink walls and wallpaper from Anthropologie, an affordable Smeg dupe finished off the cutest aesthetic kitchen. The result is easy to look at, warm, and homey. A great example of how you can embrace the existing strong points of your kitchen.

Go Green

Photo By: Old House Online

You aren’t limited to pink in your kitschy kitchen. Try unexpected colors and combinations that feel nostalgic, like this recreated 1940s kitchen that looks like it could’ve been someone’s grandma’s house. There is an unexpected touch in the pops of red in the vintage wallpaper and decorative wall plates.

Photo By: The Kitchn

The owners of this beautiful 1930s kitchen worked very hard to keep it authentic, and it’s easy to see they succeeded! Owner Rhiannon displays her impressive collection of antique kitchenware, from an antique blender to jadeite spice shakers. Every detail of this kitchen is so beautiful and inspiring!

Diner Inspired Kitchens

Photo By: Taverna Travels

Take your kitchen back in time and create a diner inspired kitchen! Checkerboard floors and Formica tables are all you need to craft the perfect cocktail of nostalgic 50s decor. Between an authentic Coca-Cola fridge and a checkerboard floor, this Brooklyn AirB&B boasts the ultimate retro kitchen! Remember that no matter what style your cupboards are, you can use any bright colored paint to make them more kitschy.

It’s All In The Details

Photo By: Kerry Lemon

The thing to love about a kitschy kitchen is you don’t need to do a major remodel. No structural changes are needed here! Although you could go all out and change your backsplash and flooring, it can also be as simple as painting your cabinets a bright color. Including loving little details, like colorful utensils, a retro inspired breadbox, and an eclectic sprinkling of trinkets on the shelves go a long way towards giving an overall vintage vibe.

Photo By: Apartment Therapy

Rather than investing in a Smeg refrigerator right off the bat, a great way to incorporate vintage appliances is to start small. A Smeg blender and kettle is an attainable goal, and still gives the same effect. This microwave shows that your appliances don’t even have to be name brand–a bright color is the secret ingredient!

Photo By: @rachmartino

Still, a retro-inspired refrigerator is never a bad idea! It makes your kitschy space feel complete and polished, and the bright color will always make your guests smile.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

Photo By: Rachel Henderson

Yellow is right at home in a kitschy kitchen! A few ideas of ways to add a little bit of the sunshine color to your kitchen: include an accent wall with a lemon motif, or install bright yellow backsplash tiles. Add some additional details like a neon sign and some simple, bright colored dishes to make your space even brighter.

Photo By: @rosieloveswilki

This yellow and red kitchen is unapologetically maximalist in its love for kitschy collections! Everything from vintage signs and bric a brac, to pretty cake stands and jadeite, adds to the aesthetic. Local antique shops and flea markets are a treasure trove for whimsical pieces used to decorate.

Photo By: Apartment Therapy 

A bright kitchen featuring lots of yellow and pink is sure to make your kitchen feel kitschy. Sixties-inspired flowers on the tile backsplash are perfect. Fixtures like ice cream cones on the wall, and junk food memorabilia may seem more 80s than 50s, but that’s okay! They’re sure to bring a smile, which means kitschy decor is perfect for those who like to make everyday life colorful.

We’re glad kitschy kitchens are making a comeback, and we hope these ideas have you inspired to create the retro kitchen of your dreams.

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By Becca Mahoney

Becca Mahoney is baker, writer, crafter, and lover of DIY and home decor. She is a contributor to three women’s publications. You can find her at

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