Home Remodeling

5 Elements of Planning a Budget Vintage Kitchen Remodel

Vintage kitchen designs are having a moment, especially ones from the 1950’s era. The reason behind this renewed interest is because it was the first time designers considered the kitchen as the heart of the house. Your kitchen is second only to the bathroom for the most used space in your home. We have come up with a few tips to help you plan a fantastic budget vintage kitchen remodel.

Color Scheme

The first thing you have to consider before you start your design is your color scheme. Depending on how authentic you want your vintage kitchen to feel, most kitchens from this time were monochromatic in color. Often, they chose a pastel color, such as yellow, blue, or pink. You could choose to go all out with one color, however, most people choose one of these colors as an accent and design around them.

One method people use to easily inject a vintage feel into a kitchen is to wallpaper or paint the walls in their chosen color. This will be your last step in the remodeling process, however, you must know if you’re going to do this. That said if you plan to use your walls as the main source of color, make sure all your other choices won’t clash, or overwhelm the space.

Retro Cabinets

In the 1950s, many kitchen cabinets were actually made of painted steel. These kinds of cabinets were mass-produced and installed into suburban homes en mass. Over time, the paint would peel and it was necessary to strip and repaint it. That said, few people actually want to tear out their solid wood cabinets for cheap metal boxes that will eventually rust.

As an alternative, and for a great budget option, we suggest looking into refacing your cabinets. If they are in good shape, you can get your cabinet doors swapped out and the boxes wrapped to make them look brand new! Check out this link to consider Should You Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets?

 To achieve the look of vintage cabinets go with:

  • Flat or shaker style door fronts
  • Decorative knobs or handles
  • Consider a valance or knick-knack shelf if you really want to be authentic

Vintage Inspired Countertops

The countertop will likely be your most critical (read expensive) choice in this budget vintage kitchen remodel. Countertops have to be durable because they are your working space. Back in the 40’sand 50’s, the most common countertop was the Formica top with metal edging. Think 50’s style diners.

The Formica top is a fine choice if you want to be authentic, but more modern materials might be a better choice. For one, you will likely have a tough time finding someone that still sells Formica, let alone someone to install the metal edging. In addition, the metal edging will collect grime over time that will be difficult to clean.

A better option for your countertop is a simple black or white quartz. The countertop is not the focal point in a vintage kitchen, so a neutral top is a way to go. Quartz can be pricy, but it will outlast all the others and be maintenance-free. Check out this post on Low Maintenance Countertop Materials for other countertop choices.

Authentic Vintage Backsplashes

Generally, the backsplash is the main focal point of any kitchen because it is the first thing people see. Not only is it at eye level, but it is often used to pull the whole kitchen together. If you are thinking tile, take a look at this post about the 10 Do’s and Don’ts of Beautiful Kitchen Tile Backsplash. However, for a really retro look, you could choose to go with a metal textured backsplash. You can acquire metal panels from a hardware store and put them right over your existing backsplash. Metal is:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to install
  • Practically maintenance-free
  • No grout

Classic Vintage Flooring

Another clever way of adding some color to your budget vintage kitchen remodel is to choose a colorful floor. If you decide on a neutral countertop, we might recommend a classic laminate black and white checker pattern. However, if you are looking for tile, you could choose a funky pattern or unique colors. An easy and inexpensive option, however, is to go with vinyl plank flooring. The reason vinyl plank is great for a kitchen is the same reason Why Installing Luxury Vinyl Plank in Your Bathroom is Good Move. Luxury vinyl plank is:

  • Durable, maintenance-free
  • Scratch and water-resistant
  • Easy to install over most flooring, eliminating the need to remove the old flooring


Planning a budget vintage kitchen remodel can be done if you are strategic with your design elements. Once you choose your color scheme, you must decide what you want to do with your cabinets. We recommend considering refacing as a good budget-friendly option. After that, you’ll want to choose your countertop material. Depending on how authentic you want to get, we recommend going with a neutral quartz for your countertop material. From there, you’ll choose a backsplash, and flooring option to complete your vintage look.

Envy Home Services is a premier kitchen remodeler for the North Chicagoland Suburbs. We offer cabinet refacing and installation, as well as countertop, backsplash, and flooring installation. Take a look at our Gallery for more samples of our past work.


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