Retro-styled appliances in the kitchen

For as long as people have been around, we’ve always longed for the good old days. From black and white movies to pastoral life, there’s always something that our parents grew up with that we wish we, too, could have. Retro appliances are the perfect way to include that little bite of nostalgia in your dream kitchen—and retro styling lets you achieve the same look with better design and energy efficiency.

Retro appliances: Retro-styled vs the real thing

Smeg 50s style retro long slot toasterThere are two ways to include retro appliances in your kitchen. Some vintage enthusiasts will track down the real thing, then spend months repairing the item back into working condition. The process can be expensive and time-consuming, and their vintage appliance ends up using same outdated technologies it was built with. From slow-heating burners to energy-inefficient cooling, a true retro appliance has downfalls that come with its beautiful, authentic design. (But oh, how beautiful those designs are!)

More commonly, vintage enthusiasts will select a retro-styled appliance to include in their new kitchen. These appliances merge the best of both worlds. You can expect an appliance that is only retro-styled to consume less energy than an authentic piece. As a bonus, they’re also easier to order and will arrive in brand new condition.

Retro-styled small appliances

Companies like Smeg and Galanz lead the way when it comes to retro-styled appliances. These small details add a vintage look to your kitchen, with gently curved lines and shiny silver edges. You can often spot a retro item by its colour alone: retro appliances are known for their glossy finishes and standout hues, from bold cherry red and black (as you’d see in a diner) to soft pink, blue, yellow, and green pastels.

Galanz 3.1 Cu. Ft. Freestanding Top Freezer Retro Bar FridgeA major product category for a vintage look right now is retro toasters. The 50’s style Smeg retro toaster is so popular with home staging experts and lifestyle bloggers that long slot, retro-styled toasters have started to pop up in other brands, too. You can now find similar styling in toasters from household names like Breville and KitchenAid.

How to pair retro-styled touches with a modern kitchen

One of the most important tenets to remember when designing and decorating your kitchen is that consistency is key. Creating a cohesive “look” for your space makes it feel warm and inviting, and lets the eye settle on the areas that you want to highlight—like your sparkling new stove, perhaps, or a large bay window near the eating area.

It’s surprisingly easy, however, to mix retro-styled appliances into a modern aesthetic. The shiny silver accents on a retro piece help it blend into the room, and mean that retro pieces look especially at home in kitchens with stainless steel major appliances. Their soft pastel tones also look great with white cupboards and countertops, and they can create a vision for your towels, whisks, and other kitchen essentials that’s easy to match.

While I will forever long for a cupboard-level refrigerator, I love the mixed styling of retro and modern that we see today. A fully retro kitchen, with candy-coloured cupboards and stools, is more than I’m ready to tackle every day. However, little retro touches are just perfect!

Add a vintage touch to your kitchen with retro-styled appliances


  1. I love the look of some of these retro appliances. Could you do a review of the SMEG appliances? While I love the look of them, I wonder if they are worth the splurge.


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