Incorporating antique elements into your kitchen design is a great way to add character, charm, and a sense of history to this highly-used living space. From antique cupboards to vintage tableware, there are countless ways to work antique finds into your kitchen decor. Here are some top antique kitchen decorating ideas to inspire you.

Using Antique Furniture in the Kitchen

Antique cabinets, hutches, and tables make excellent additions to kitchen spaces of all sizes and styles. Here are some tips for decorating with antique kitchen furniture:

Antique Cabinets

  • Look for antique cabinets with glass doors to display beautiful dishware while keeping it protected. Opt for painted cabinets for a shabby chic look or dark wood for more traditional appeal.
  • Incorporate antique upper cabinets for extra storage and visual interest. Mix and match different sizes and styles for an eclectic look.
  • Use antique cabinets as kitchen islands or food prep surfaces. Look for ones with solid wood countertops or add your own custom butcher block top.
  • Repurpose old cabinets, like apothecary chests, into unique kitchen storage. They’re perfect for storing baking essentials.
  • Add lighting inside antique cabinets to beautifully illuminate their contents. Use pendant lights or install discreet LED strips.

Antique Tables

  • An antique farmhouse table makes a gorgeous rustic kitchen centerpiece. Look for ones with turnings, trestle bases, or iron accents.
  • For smaller kitchens, opt for a petite antique table like a tilt-top table that can be folded down when not in use.
  • Turn an antique table into a kitchen island by pairing it with some bar stools. Opt for a rectangular table with storage underneath.
  • Place a narrow antique table behind the sofa or along the back wall for extra kitchen seating and surface space.
  • Look for antique work tables, like old wood and metal utility tables, to use as hearty kitchen prep stations.


  • Incorporate an antique hutch to hold dishes, glassware, and pantry items. Look for ones with ample storage space.
  • Use a hutch buffet combination for expanded storage and countertop area. Opt for pieces with upper glass cabinet doors.
  • Place a tall antique hutch against a blank kitchen wall to serve as a display area and vertical storage solution.
  • Look for a hutch with the original wood finish or repaint it in chippy pastel hues to match your kitchen’s color scheme.

Antique Kitchen Décor Accents

Beyond furniture, there are many antique decorative accents that can infuse vintage flair into your kitchen’s ambiance. Consider incorporating pieces like:

Vintage Signage

  • Hang antique tin signs for coffee, tea, flour, and sugar to display above related storage areas.
  • Look for porcelained enamel signs from the early 1900s to mount on kitchen walls. Vintage ads and brand signage have great retro appeal.
  • Incorporate carved antique wood signs to display favorite kitchen sayings and mantras like “Eat, Drink, Be Merry.”

Antique Kitchen Scales

  • Place an old iron counter scale on your kitchen island or use it to hold baking cookbooks. Look for styles from the 1800s through the 1950s.
  • Mount a larger antique butcher or diner scale on the wall as an eye-catching decorative display.

Vintage Canisters

  • Use antique canisters in porcelain, glass, or metal to hold flour, sugar, coffee, tea, and more. Mix and match sizes and colors.
  • For extra counter appeal, find vintage canister sets with their original lids and labels.

Antique Baking Tools

  • Display antique baking and cooking tools like copper funnels, flour sifters, whisks, rolling pins, and egg beaters.
  • Hang antique utensils from a French country rack mounted to the wall or arrange in Mason jars on open shelves.
  • Fill a wire basket or organizational rack with interesting vintage cooking gadgets to keep atop the fridge or shelves.
  • Use antique corn stick pans or waffle irons as décor instead of modern equivalents.

Vintage Fruit Crates

  • Stack antique wooden fruit crates on the floor by the pantry to hold potatoes, onions, and other fresh staples.
  • Use vintage citrus fruit crates to store fruits and vegetables on kitchen counters and islands. The graphic labels add retro flair.
  • Mount a single fruit crate on the wall to hold cookbooks or small cooking utensils in easy-access display.

Antique Dishware in Kitchen Décor

For charming vintage appeal, incorporate antique dishware into your kitchen design and table settings. Here are some great ways to utilize antique and vintage plates, bowls, glassware and more:

Open Shelving

  • Display heirloom plates and beautiful vintage dish sets on open shelving rather than hiding them away inside cabinets. Opt for glass-front cabinets too.
  • Intersperse antique plates, bowls, and pitchers with everyday dishware. The contrast looks especially pretty in cottage kitchens.
  • Hang antique platters or bowls on the wall as decorative art. Opt for pieces with ornate gold detailing or pastel glaze patterns.

Plate Rails

  • Install antique plate rails just below your upper cabinets to display cherished old plates and saucers.
  • Choose a plate rail with decorative added brackets and trim for a traditional kitchen look.
  • Use plain wooden rails painted to match your cabinetry for a more discreet plate display option.

Kitchen Table Setting

  • Set your kitchen or dining table with antique plates and cups for an elegant vintage vibe. Mix different patterns like florals and solids.
  • Incorporate antique glassware like cut crystal wine glasses or Depression glass water tumblers into table place settings.
  • Use vintage silverplate flatware rather than modern stainless steel utensils for added old-world charm.

Kitchen Island

  • Keep antique transferware platters and pitchers on display atop your kitchen island. Opt for pieces in a color scheme that matches your kitchen.
  • Place ornate antique cake stands on the island to hold fruit bowls or tiered displays. Use crystal and silver pieces for drama.
  • For farmhouse appeal, display a collection of vintage crockery on your island. Opt for stoneware in earthy hues and varied silhouettes.

Antique Accessories for Vintage Kitchen Appeal

Don’t overlook smaller antique accessories like textiles, lighting, clocks, and framed art when designing your vintage-style kitchen. These details can really make the space unique.

Antique Textiles

  • Drape wide antique lace curtains over the kitchen sink window for delicate old-fashioned charm.
  • Use a vintage-style tea towel as decorative wall art. Opt for ones with charming prints and sayings.
  • Top open shelves with pretty antique linens folded into trivets. Vintage huck towels and grain sack towels have great farmhouse appeal.

Antique Lighting

  • Suspend a large antique iron chandelier over kitchen islands and dining areas for striking visual drama.
  • Affix vintage tin pendants above the sink or prep area for more focused lighting.
  • Install schoolhouse-style antique lamps above kitchen counters for a cozy old-fashioned glow. Use Edison-style bulbs.

Antique Clocks

  • Mount a large antique wall clock with a visible pendulum above the stove for a functional focal point.
  • Place small antique egg timers around your kitchen to help keep track of cooking times.
  • Display vintage kitchen clocks from the 1940s-60s for midcentury kitchen themes. Look for atomic starburst styles.

Antique Signs & Art

  • Frame vintage cookbook pages, schematics, and botanical prints related to food and display in the kitchen.
  • Incorporate colorful antique tins into wall displays. Try tins for coffee, tea, spices, chocolate, and biscuits.
  • Make a shadowbox display with antique kitchen gadgets like egg beaters, scales, juicers, and graters.

By thoughtfully incorporating antique elements throughout your kitchen, you can achieve a warm, inviting, and timeless vintage design aesthetic perfect for cooking, conversing, and connecting with loved ones. Have fun perusing auctions, estate sales, antique shops, and flea markets to find cherished old pieces that speak to you. The hunt for just the right antique find can be as rewarding as displaying it proudly in your home. Enjoy the process of infusing antique charm into your personal kitchen oasis.

Frequently Asked Questions About Antique Kitchen Decorating Ideas

What are some tips for incorporating antiques in a modern kitchen?

  • Use vintage industrial stools as seating around a modern island. The contrast is striking.
  • Display a collection of antique crockery, pitchers or cake stands atop more contemporary shelving.
  • Hang a few ornamental antique utensils or plates as wall accents against sleek modern backsplashes.
  • Combine antique farm tables or cabinets with modern metal pendant lighting for an updated mix-and-match look.

Where are good places to find affordable antique kitchen items?

  • Estate sales can offer great deals on antique kitchen furniture, dishes, and accessories. Arrive early for the best selection.
  • Auctions can yield antique finds at reasonable prices, but inspect items thoroughly before bidding.
  • Etsy features many antique dishware and kitchen accents sold directly from vintage dealers and collectors.
  • Check flea markets, salvage yards, and architectural salvage warehouses for lower-priced antique finds with character.

What are some ways to make new items look antique?

  • To antique kitchen cabinets or tables, sand paint and finish to achieve a distressed, well-worn look.
  • Paint new items in antique-inspired heritage colors like creamy whites, light blues, or porcelain finishes.
  • Add decorative accents like new cupboard latches, drawer pulls, or knobs in an antique brass or silver finish.
  • Use chalk paint and glazing techniques to give new dishware or signs a vintage feel.

What are some creative ways to display antique kitchenware?

  • Arrange vintage teacups inside a glass-front cabinet hung on the wall or arranged atop floating shelves.
  • Stack antique tins lined with colorful vintage fabric inside a glass apothecary jar.
  • Alternate antique china plates with white ironstone platters along a plate rail for contrast.
  • Hang antique utensils from Command hooks underneath upper cabinets for handy display.

How do I clean antique kitchen items safely?

  • Dust delicate items like china gently with a soft cloth. Avoid harsh chemical cleaners.
  • Wash vintage tins and enamelware using mild soap, water, and soft rags or sponges. Avoid abrasives.
  • Use food-safe specialty products like Howard’s Restor-A-Finish to clean grime off antique wood furniture gently.
  • For antique brass/silver pieces, use a polishing paste with care to remove tarnish and restore shine. Avoid over-scrubbing engraved areas.


Decorating your kitchen with antique elements allows you to surround yourself with beauty, nostalgia, and the craftsmanship of eras past. Whether you stick to a few key vintage accessories as accents or go all-out with antique cabinetry and dishware collections, incorporating antiques adds timeless appeal and family heritage to this beloved household space. Take inspiration from the range of ideas here, then embark on your own adventures seeking out treasured antiques that speak to your style personality. Before long, you’ll have a kitchen that feels warm, welcoming and uniquely you.