Create a 1940s or early 1950s design kitchen — my second mood board

1940s vintage kitchenThere are many ways to retro [<- I just love it when I used that as a verb], including 1940s style. Lots of readers seem to be totally nuts over 1940s kitchen style, so here’s my second mood board including resources to create a 1940s or early 1950s style homey comfy sweetheart kitchen.

1940s vintage kitchen

Note, I call this 1940s style — but 1940s style endured until roughly 1953. That’s when, design-wise, we saw a switch to a new generation of kitchen designs — less deco, more atomic.

 Resources to create this 1940s kitchen look:

  1. Birch cabinetry — These birch cabinets were built new — to look old — by Watersong Furniture. I had a lovely conversation with the owner of Watersong. He can build and ship anywhere.
  2. Antiqued pot metal colonial cabinet pulls — https://retrorenovation.com/2011/05/17/inexpensive-hardware-for-1950s-and-1960s-kitchen-cabinets/
  3. Vintage wallpaper — A hallmark of 1940s and early 1950s kitchens: They need sweetheart wallpaper — like this design from Hannah’s Treasures.
  4. Kit Kat clock – here.
  5. Countertop, backsplash and if you like, wall tile — I know that readers are gaga for jadeite. Put tile like this on your countertop — available from Clay Square [made by B&W} — use black tile for countertop edging and bullnose. If you want, you can take this tile all around the wall.
  6. See above — Put tile like this on your countertop — available from Clay Square [made by B&W} — use black tile for countertop edging and bullnose. If you want, you can take this tile all around the wall.
  7. Reproduction drainboard sink from NBI Drainboards.
  8. Accessorize with a secondary or tertiary color from the wallpaper. Red Kitchenaid makes these mixers in a veritable rainbow of colors
  9. I like this studio-sized refrigerator from Big Chill. The fridges back in the 40s and 50s were smaller. There are other retro refrigerator options as well — read my comprehensive guide here.
  10. Dishwasher — also from Big Chill. (Or, you can just buy the dishwasher panel… or custom make one in wood to match your birch cabinets.)
  11. 36″ retro range from Big Chill.  
  12. Dinette designs varied. The vintage dinette shown here, which was uploaded by Uncle Atom, has deco lines, very historically appropriate for the pre-war period.
  13. For the floor, choose linoleum. The color we chose: Parchment beige from Armstrong. Note how the wallpaper pulls together up all the colors of the kitchen, including this flooring.

Other stories to look for 1940s kitchen ideas:

See all of our 1940s kitchen design boards here


  1. Jerry says:

    I find it interesting that out of all the decades that Retrorenovation covers, the 1940s seems to gather the most fans, especially regarding kitchen decor.

    Does anybody have any idea why?

  2. Morgan says:

    Do you have a recommendation for a book that has examples, drawings and/or photos of kitchen and bath tile and cabinetry design through the different periods and styles of the 20th century in the US?


  3. lee says:

    Don’t know if you’ve done a feature on them but anyone considering the KA mixer or 40s/50s kitchen styles needs to check out the excellent line of pastel-coloured small appliances that Italy’s Smeg sells – they have from 5 to 8 color choices depending on item, all looking like vintage Bakelite. They have a line of ’50s-style refrigerators too.

  4. pam kueber says:


    I think they are a cartoonish-modern interpretation of the period. That is why I have not featured them.

  5. Tracy says:

    I’m redoing my 1939 kitchen which is red, white, and black. I have the Wedgewood stove, ordered my boomerang tabletop and chairs, have replaced my subway tiles BUT, I’m one red tile strip short for completion of my backsplash!! I need to know who in the world sells red tile strips that are flat? Any help from anyone would be appreciated, all I can find are rounded strips or the wrong red color. I’m willing to do a lot for this one piece of tile! Thanks so much! I wish I could post a photo, but it’s pretty straight forward.

  6. Tracy says:

    I’m looking for a company that makes true red tile flat strips for my 1939 kitchen restoration project, I need one more piece!! I can’t find flat true red anywhere, can anyone help?

  7. pam kueber says:

    See our Bathroom Help/Tile category/subcategory for resources. Start with all the companies that sell 4×4 wall tile.

    If not there, I don’t know where to send you. Ebay … etsy …

  8. kevin says:

    please how or where can I buy a 1950’s chrome table’s and chair’s.please e-mail me back. I have looked everywhere at different stores without any success. thank-you

  9. Sarah says:

    Which green tile is this? I know you can’t get it anymore. I have samples, so I was going to try to match the colors. Thanks!!! Maybe eventually I’ll decide on what to do on my kitchen (ha!) and send pics!

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