Chapter 4 – Kitchen
Bringing a look of vintage chic to your kitchen doesn’t mean you need to rip out your old one and buy all new (unless that was your plan anyway). So here are some ideas to help you update your kitchen, so it can feel just as chic as the rest of your home.
4.1 – Cupboard and drawer fronts
Starting with the thing which forms a fair amount of the overall visual of your kitchen; the cupboard and drawer fronts are going to be one of the first things people see, so they should really set the theme for the room.
We stand by the fact that painting something the right colour will instantly breath life into it and create a great basis for an interior design project. A really popular colour for a vintage inspired kitchen is that slightly greenish duck egg blue colour; painted on all of the cupboard doors. A really neutral shade of cream or light grey will also look beautiful and any colour can be added through kitchen accessories.
In a kitchen you will want to use good paint that can be wiped down if any spillages were to occur. We also recommend that you take the cupboard doors off before painting them, so you get a really nice clean finish with no dribbles of paint.
If you are thinking of more than just a paint job, then there are certain styles which will increase the vintage appeal of your kitchen. Doors with panelling or carved elements are a great look for a vintage inspired kitchen. Also, doors which have little windows are great for kitchens with a shabby chic vibe.
In fact, panelling can be an addition to plain flat cupboard fronts with a bit of simple DIY. A brilliant way to fake vintage panelled cupboard doors is to get some skirting board or dado rail from a shop like B&Q or Wickes and use it around the edge of your doors. You will need to mitre the skirting board/dado rail (cut at a 45 degree angle) so that it matches up nice and neatly. Once you’ve glued this to the door, you just need to paint it.
Sometimes you can be lucky enough to salvage elements of a kitchen from someone who is refurbing their kitchen and may let you take them for free. So even if they don’t fit or need a bit of work, they didn’t cost you a thing!
4.2 – Fireplace
As the kitchen is often described as the heart of the home, it is important that it feels like it. A warm kitchen is so inviting and if you dine in your kitchen, then all the more reason to make it nice and cosy. Adding a fireplace to the room may seem like a huge job, but it could be something as simple as a hearth and surround but with a gas fire in place of a real one.
If you are lucky enough to have a real working chimney breast, then make the most of it!
The fire itself
If you do have a chimney breast, a little pot belly stove or log burner is the perfect option, but if this isn’t a possibility in your home then there are other options. Gas fires can look just as good if they’re set into the right surround and you can get gorgeous electric stoves which look just as good as the real deal.
Types of fire surround
Even if you’re not planning on inputting a fire in, a surround can look stunning in a kitchen. Tall church candles can look great in a fireplace and using a group of them at different heights looks beautiful.
An option for your fireplace can be anything from wood to iron to marble and of course, The Rosebery loves marble! Just make sure you choose something a little on the decorative side, with some sort of moulding, carving or intricate shaping. In the hotel, we have a fireplace in almost every room, ranging from vast, grand marble to smaller, colour-pop iron fireplaces.
Not only do fireplaces look good, but they give you another space for decorative knick-knacks to add to your vintage themed kitchen. Use the mantelpiece as a shelf, to add some quirky details to your vintage kitchen.
Using the chimney breast for cupboard/table space
A completely different way to utilise a chimney breast is to add extra storage space to your kitchen or use the space for your kitchen table.
By making the most of all the available space in your kitchen, you will find that your kitchen will probably feel bigger, which is quite sought after for a kitchen.
4.3 – Worktops
If you’re perfectly happy with your cupboard fronts and just think your worktops are in need of a sprucing up, then you have a few options. You can go all out getting new worktops fitted for your whole kitchen or, if that isn’t a possibility, then customising your existing benches with a sand down and a bit of wax may be for you. There aren’t many options for paint when it comes to kitchen worktop, however the brand Rustoleum do hard wearing paints specifically for kitchen benches.
Wooden tops are a really lovely addition to cream or pastel coloured cupboard fronts and add a sort of country elegance to a kitchen. Even if you have a wood look laminate on your kitchen surfaces, it can look great if you make the most of your cupboards and the dressing of your kitchen.
If you already have wooden worktops, but want something a bit different, you can give painting your worktops a try. Just remember to prepare your worktops by lightly sanding them and make sure to brush off and wipe any dust off before painting.
Carrera marble looks amazing with grey or plain wooden cupboard fronts! If you are choosing marble, it is a good idea to get all measured up to the millimetre before approaching the marble-works people, so you can get an exact quote. Try a couple of places to gauge how much you would be looking at. Of course, price depends upon how big your kitchen is and how many surfaces there are to top.
Alternatively, the existing benches could be laminated with a marble effect which is probably cheaper but still looks fab.
4.4 – Sink
Every kitchen needs a sink and yes, there is a way you can make it in-keeping with the vintage chic look. A lot of older sinks are porcelain with fixed uppers where the tap comes out from the back’s vertical section.
You also quite often find that freestanding sink units will be included in kitchens with a vintage style and often feature a little shelf underneath for storage.They are of course a great option if you have the space.
Large ‘farm-style’ sink
If you have the space, a large sink will always look great in any kitchen and finding one which has a connected draining board would be absolutely perfect for your vintage kitchen. As with most things, you can most probably source them at a vintage fair, so as you read this blog, make sure to list down all the items which apply to your home’s refurbishment. Here are a few examples of the types of sinks you would be looking for.
If space is limited, then taps are the best way to bring a vintage vibe to the ‘dishes station’. Sometimes buying old plumbing items from fairs and markets can mean that they may need a little bit of attention before they’re ready to go in your home. There are modern fixtures made to look vintage, so if that appeals to you more, that is definitely an option.
Taps can be separate hot and cold or a combined single tap, but what they have in common, is that they are all quite decorative and not just smooth lines. This is key for creating the vintage look.
4.5 – Oven
Vintage styled ovens are better suited to larger kitchens, which is such a shame, as not many houses are built with large kitchens anymore. However for smaller kitchens, gas hobs look really sweet and give that retro/vintage look. It really doesn’t matter all that much though, as the rest of your kitchen will look so good, no one will notice a modern hob.
Probably quite an expensive option, but an Ager or cooker styled in a similar way will really add a vintage edge to your room. If you’re lucky you might be able to source an older, second-hand Ager from somewhere like Gumtree or eBay.
If you have a fabulous vintage hob, there’s nothing better to show it off than a copper kettle or fabulous vintage singing kettle. It will add a bit of quirkiness to (what is usually quite boring subject matter) the hob of your oven and definitely make your kitchen look homely and lived in.
Hanging copper pans from a ceiling mounted pan rack, or hooks on the wall looks great in a vintage chic kitchen, even if they’re just for show and you have your usual pans for cooking.
There is also the option to just choose pans which match your colour scheme, there are kitchen accessories and utensils in every shade nowadays so you’ll be sure to find something you love.
4.6 – Vintage Accessories
To complete your kitchen you will want to find some quirky accessories and make sure your appliances are in-keeping with your theme, if not hidden away when not in use. This is where you can let your imagination run riot as there is so much fun in sourcing all the bits and pieces you need.
Something that every kitchen needs is storage and this too can be fabulously vintage in style. We love labelled tins in varying sizes for bread, coffee, tea and sugar as these can look so chic on your kitchen bench or shelves. There are also great in ceramics as well and it can look great even if they don’t all match up. It all depends on how uniform you want the overall look to be.
Kilner jars are a great way of storing opened cereal, pasta or sugar and they look great out on show too; definitely better than cardboard boxes and packaging.
Prettify an old wooden crate with a lick of paint and use it as a service tray; store salt, pepper, napkins, etc. and have it on display, ready for when you’re setting your stunning vintage dining table for guests!
Vintage teacups and saucers are a must to really finish off your kitchen. Scour the charity shops, fairs and markets and you’re bound to find a little matching set. You will probably come across some of the following styles.
For a really feminine chic, choose a tea set with a floral motif; usually these will be gorgeous bright shades of pink and blue on a fine white china, sometimes with gold finishing.
If florals aren’t for you, or you’re quite into retro as well as vintage, a glass tea set can look rather good too. These aren’t as easy to source and you’re probably more likely to find one in a charity shop than anywhere else.
Don’t worry if you can’t find a whole set of matching teacups, saucers and a teapot, just go for the mismatched look. We love the eclectic look of various different patterned china and think it is just as chic as having all matching.
The decision you can make once you have your china tea set, is whether you will actually use it or just have them in a glass fronted cupboard for show.
Other little bits and pieces
Like we said before, the world really is your oyster when it comes to your home’s accessories, and the kitchen is no different. Use the accessories to really add to your vintage theme by making sure they are well chosen and visible in your kitchen.
Have your chopping board on display, collect some old cook books, keep your tea in pretty jars, if you bake frequently; have your supplies at the ready… just have fun with it and make it your own.
Everything from copper jelly moulds hung on the wall, to displaying your crockery in a plate rack; you will find that even a crystal cut lemon squeezer won’t look out of place on a shelf with a porcelain toast rack and a row of Kilner jars.
Let your mind roam free and see what you come up with!