This week we’re taking a look at a beautifully crafted kitchen that artfully blends vintage and modern elements into a functional, inviting space. The homeowner, a designer himself, undertook the renovation of this outdated kitchen with the goal of creating a light-filled room with a nod to classic mid-century style while also incorporating sleek, contemporary features. The end result is a room with a timeless aesthetic that still feels fresh and current.

In this article, we’ll take a tour of this clever kitchen remodel, examine the blend of old and new details throughout the space, and provide tips for achieving a similar vintage-meets-modern look in your own home. Whether your tastes lean more traditional or modern, this kitchen offers inspiration for marrying styles in a way that is cohesive yet uniquely personal. Let’s take a closer look at how this homeowner skillfully combined his love of vintage details with a preference for modern functionality.

Blending Vintage Style with Modern Amenities

The homeowner began the renovation by framing the space to open it up to natural light. Large windows along two walls flood the room with sunshine and create an airy, welcoming ambiance. To complement the abundance of light, the walls and ceiling were painted crisp white, creating a bright, gallery-like backdrop for the kitchen detailing.


One of the first vintage elements incorporated into the design is the backsplash tile. Rather than using a sleek subway tile or uniform glass mosaic, the homeowner chose a patchwork of square and rectangular mint, blue, and rose ceramic tiles. This handmade style of tile was typical of kitchens in the 1950s and ’60s, and the color palette has a distinct mid-century vibe. Paired with the crisp white cabinetry, the backsplash makes a bold, graphic statement.


The flooring is another nod to mid-century style. Instead of modern porcelain or hardwood, the homeowner opted for retro black and white checkered vinyl flooring. Vinyl flooring was quite trendy during the 1950s and ’60s for its durability and style. The checked pattern and black and white color scheme keep the vibe playful and fun while paying homage to the era.


While the backsplash and floors embrace a vintage aesthetic, the kitchen cabinetry skews more modern. The cabinets have a sleek, minimalist design with simple flat-front doors and drawers in a muted woodgrain finish. The muted finish and lack of ornate hardware allows the more vibrant backsplash to take centerstage. The modern cabinets streamline the overall look of the kitchen and provide plenty of concealed storage space.


The countertops strike more of a balance between old and new. The homeowner chose honed Carrara marble slabs, which have been used in kitchens for centuries thanks to the stone’s durability, ease of maintenance, and classic white and gray veining. While a natural stone countertop references historical kitchen design, the sleek, wide marble slabs have a more contemporary look.


The new lighting in this kitchen was chosen to align with the modern aesthetic. Simple pendant lights hang above the kitchen island, providing task lighting as well as crisp, linear style. Recessed ceiling lights provide ample ambient lighting to supplement the pendants and pendant lights over the sink. The lighting illuminates the space without detracting from the vintage-inspired details elsewhere in the kitchen.


The major kitchen appliances were all replaced with fresh, modern options in stainless steel. The refrigerator, dishwasher, oven, microwave, and cooktop range have a cohesive look thanks to the matching stainless finish. While the cabinetry, backsplash, and flooring nod to the past, the appliances anchor the kitchen firmly in the present with their contemporary styling and smart functionality.


Rather than vintage-style hardware like ceramic knobs or ornate brass pulls, the kitchen cabinets showcase simple, matte black hardware in slender, cylindrical shapes. This hardware feels crisp and current, complementing the modern appliances nicely without competing with the retro-inspired elements like the backsplash and flooring.

By pairing vintage details like the checkerboard vinyl floors and retro-inspired backsplash with contemporary elements such as the sleek cabinetry, marble countertops, and modern appliances, the homeowner was able to strike the perfect balance between old and new. The kitchen has character and warmth from the retro touches but also feels fresh and functional thanks to the modern amenities.

Tips for Blending Vintage and Modern Styles

For those looking to achieve a similar blend of new and old in their kitchen or home renovation, here are some helpful tips:

  • Focus vintage elements in one or two feature areas, like the backsplash or flooring. This allows you to make bold retro statements without going overboard.
  • Stick to a crisp, neutral palette like white walls, cabinetry, and countertops. Pops of color can come from pastel backsplashes or vintage appliances.
  • Incorporate Mid-century modern furniture pieces like a retro dining set or stool seating at the kitchen island. These fun touches add character.
  • Use vintage lighting and hardware in moderation to provide occasional retro accents. Opt for modern track lighting, pendants, and appliances to balance out.
  • Add character through your choices of materials. Consider a retro terrazzo composite sink, marble countertops, or ceramic tile backsplashes with bold geometric shapes or floral designs reminiscent of the 50s and 60s.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix natural materials like woods, marbles, and metals to create an eclectic aesthetic. Distressed wood dining tables pair nicely with sleek metal stools, for example.

Whether you’re doing a full renovation or just looking to inject some vintage flair into an existing modern kitchen, these tips will help you achieve the delicate balance of showcasing both old and new styles in one cohesive, beautifully realized space, just like this week’s kitchen reveal.

The Benefits of a Vintage-Modern Blend

There are many reasons to consider bringing together vintage and modern elements when designing a kitchen or any living space. Here are a few of the benefits this blended approach offers:

  • A timeless, ageless aesthetic that doesn’t adhere strictly to trends. By blending old and new, you create a look that will withstand the test of time.
  • The ability to embrace what you love from both eras. Cherry pick the best of vintage and contemporary designs to make the space truly yours.
  • An eclectic, layered look with more personality. Combining designs from different eras results in more interesting interiors.
  • A balance of warmth and functionality. Vintage brings character while modern lends convenience.
  • Sustainability. Blending vintage pieces with new ones is inherently eco-friendly and reduces waste.
  • Cost savings. Vintage or antique finds can save you money over newly fabricated items.

This kitchen is a stellar example of how marrying vintage and modern styles in the right proportions can result in a space that is full of character, highly functional, and uniquely livable. The thoughtful blend gives this kitchen its standout style.

FAQs About Achieving This Vintage-Modern Look

If you’re considering a vintage-modern kitchen renovation of your own, you likely have some questions about the details. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What are the best vintage elements to include in a modern kitchen?

Some top vintage-inspired touches to try are subway or geometric patterned tiles, retro color schemes like mint green, statement light fixtures, classic hardware like ceramic knobs, and antique-inspired furnishings like a farmhouse table.

How do you give a modern kitchen a retro flair?

A few simple ways to give a modern kitchen retro personality include opting for checkerboard tile floors or vinyl plank flooring, adding a colorful retro-inspired backsplash, incorporating floating shelves, using vintage-look appliances, and including mid-century modern chairs and barstools.

Should I choose vintage or modern kitchen cabinets?

This depends on your tastes and the vibe you want. Vintage-style cabinets, like those with glass-front doors or ceramic knobs, lend a retro flair. Modern cabinets, like sleek models with recessed handles, have a more contemporary look. Mixing some modern and some vintage cabinetry can get that perfect blend in one kitchen.

How do I keep a vintage-modern kitchen from feeling too trendy?

Focus on vintage styles that have proved enduring over time, like subway tiles and penny round mosaics. Choose classic finishes like marble counters. Opt for vintage furniture and lighting from iconic mid-century designers versus kitschy novelty pieces. Simple modern elements will balance out more adventurous retro choices.

What are inexpensive ways to work in vintage style?

Affordable vintage-inspired touches include seeking out used furniture pieces, choosing reproductions of iconic mid-century lighting and textiles when originals are costly, shopping sales for new tiles and hardware, and refinishing existing cabinetry and floors rather than replacing them.

What is the most important thing to get right in a vintage-modern design?

Overall balance is key. If you overdo it on the vintage elements, the space can feel dated and trendy versus fresh. Be sure to anchor any bold retro choices with plenty of streamlined, contemporary features so the blend feels natural, nuanced, and livable long-term.


This clever kitchen remodel provides wonderful inspiration for those seeking to blend old and new styles in an interesting, livable way. From the retro tile backsplash to the sleek modern cabinetry, every detail was thoughtfully chosen to achieve the perfect vintage-meets-modern balance. While honoring mid-century style, the space still has an airy, contemporary feel thanks to the abudance of light and crisp white palette. For those considering a similar blending of eras in their home, focus on choosing those vintage elements you truly love, like special tiles or campaign furniture, then anchor them with enough modern touches to keep the space feeling fresh. With the right balance of eras, you too can achieve a kitchen full of timeless character and style.