1940s kitchenI am in the mode: Cranking out a new 1940s style kitchen design board each week until I get them all done. I think there will be five in total. Here is #3: A retro kitchen inspired by a vintage American Kitchen ad. It’s dominated by the color red — via the ruby red mother of pearl laminate countertop — and anchored by a green linoleum that I’d describe as, yes, drab. But also, restful, which allows your eye to rest on the sharp colors elsewhere in the room. Remember: Every element of a design doesn’t need to “scream.” I hesitate to say “shouldn’t” scream but there, I said it anyway.

Elements to create a happy red 1940s kitchen:

1940s kitchen

  1. Fabric: Look for a drapery fabric that includes all the main colors in your kitchen. I prefer vintage — yes, it can be found in sufficient yardage if you are patient and tenacious — like these 3 yards available on ebay.
  2. Sewing Pattern: Whip the fabric into curtains — you can do it! Use a vintage pattern — lookie how these scallop at the header (or whatever you call it) — nice!
  3. Sink: Elkay Lustertone 54″ stainless steel kitchen sink (affiliate link)
  4. Countertop: Mother of pearl (aka crackle ice laminate) from Heffron’s. We;ve had numerous readers find less expensive (not special order) red proxies — research our Kitchen Help/Countertops category to see those stories.
  5. Countertop edging: For this design board, I showed aluminum edging from RetroTrims.com
  6. Kitchen cabinets: Steel kitchen cabinets were available in the 1940s, too. I showed these vintage Whiteheads (a rare brand) so that you could see how the metal sink looked with a steel cabinet. If you want to hunt for vintage read this story only kinda in reverse.
  7. Vintage percolator: Vintage percolator on etsy.
  8. Linoleum flooring: Linoleum sheet flooring — in “Evening Moss” — from Armstrong
  9. Countertop depth French door refrigerator: I found another countertop-depth refrigerator that seem to have possibly not-supersized proportions.
  10. Vintage stove: Vintage 1948 Cromwell electric range from AntiqueAppliances.com.

Other stories to look for 1940s kitchen ideas:

See all of our 1940s kitchen design boards here


  1. pam kueber says:

    Yes, that’s another great one that I think would be just fine for a 40s/50s style kitchen… Honestly, as long as it’s white, and pretty simple — it will likely work. But yes, the Artistry has some nice retro touches — planned in!

  2. Elroy says:

    Thanks, Pam. This is one of my favorite kitchens.
    What are your thoughts on using Wilsonart’s “Betty” laminate counter top with a red, cracked ice, linoleum floor?

  3. Sarah says:

    There are new percolator coffee makers available made by Presto or Cuisanart. I bought the Presto one on Amazon several years ago to replace a vintage one whose plastic parts eventually cracked. The Cuisinart one has the clear glass knob to see the coffee swirling inside and I saw it at JCPenney the other day. Percolator coffee is so much flavorful than drip, IMHO. And takes up minimal counter space.

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