How I designed my vintage kitchen

A few months ago, John and I embarked on the single biggest home improvement project we’ve ever undertaken. We basically ripped out the entire downstairs of our house and started again. No joke, this is what it looked like at the time!


Ouch! So how did we get from a big echoing pile of nothing to the kitchen below?


Colour scheme and overall design

I  started the kitchen design by deciding on a theme and colour scheme. I wanted a fifties-style diner feel mixed with country farmhouse kitchen elements and pastel colours in shades of pink, cream, blue and mint. Everything would have a vintage feel to it and no detail would be left unturned, from our mint green fruit and veg crates to our pastel blue dustbin. The floors and basic flatpack kitchen (the latter from Homebase) are white planks and the walls are decorated with white brick slip tiles from eBay.


We used diner lights, a Smeg fridge and a vintage-inspired stove to evoke the fifties diner feeling


We had a reasonable budget but we’re by no means millionaires, so John and I had to get creative when it came to getting what we wanted. An Aga oven would remain a dream for distant, wealthier days, but our electric Leisure double oven from was a fraction of the price.

I was desperate for a pretty pink Smeg fridge, but brand new it would blow the majority of our budget. Instead, we took to eBay, accepting that we probably wouldn’t get a perfect product but going through a highly rated and reputable seller of second-hand fridges. We paid just over £300 for our Smeg fridge. While we did have to clean it out, it arrived a little grubby but fully functional and still works well over six months later.

We replaced our microwave with a pastel pink and white Daewoo model and all of our other appliances, toaster, kettle etc. were replaced with soft blue-coloured makes to match the rest of the kitchen.


The devil’s in the detail

As I mentioned, we left no detail behind. We mixed Cath Kidston mugs and crockery with a polka dot design we had previously bought at a major supermarket, and ensured every detail (too many to list here but if you spot something you love, please comment and I’ll dig up where we found it) went with our theme, even changing the handles on all of our cupboards to floral door knobs from eBay and replacing our cutlery with pretty floral and polka dot cutlery by Katie and Alice.

My favourite find was a vintage-style digital Robert’s radio we bought on eBay for a bargain £35. The description said it was broken, and we planned to fix it, but we took a chance and changed the batteries and lo and behold it worked perfectly!

For me, consistency is the single most important factor when designing a dream kitchen. If I suddenly had a bright red appliance it would look jarring and ruin the overall effect. John sometimes despairs of my neurotic need to keep everything in its proper place and to recycle anything that doesn’t quite go, but I love the overall effect!


So that’s our vintage-inspired kitchen. We’d love to hear all about your homes and how you’ve decorated – leave us a comment in the box below!

7 Comments on How I designed my vintage kitchen

  1. Sonal
    January 2, 2014 at 8:17 am (5 years ago)

    Sara, your kitchen is absolutely bee-you- tee- full !!!!!!
    Just loving all the different pastel and floral touches.
    My kitchen is dull dull dull. Boring laminate and granite…in cream. Argh! Must say I’m trying to find pastel appliances but bit difficult in Australia.

    Can we have more pics please…more more more..
    Please…pretty please?

    • Sonal
      January 2, 2014 at 8:18 am (5 years ago)

      Oops I meant…difficult to find .

      • Sara - Darling Lovely Life editor
        January 2, 2014 at 8:29 am (5 years ago)

        Hi Sonal, Thank you so much for the lovely comment, it really made my morning! Yes, pastel appliances, aside from Smeg, are pretty hard to find here too. The US market seems to have cottoned on but not so much the rest of the world! I will ask around for any Oz suppliers that can help you out.

        In the next few months, once the entire house is finished, I will do an at home with shoot with a pro photographer, as opposed to muddling through myself, so there will be lots of pics to come :) in the meantime have a look through our interiors section as I’ve also posted about my office and bathroom xxx

  2. jo
    April 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm (5 years ago)

    Hi, Love, your vintage kitchen, where did you get the diner lights from, they’re a lovely colour?

  3. Ally
    June 26, 2014 at 1:20 pm (5 years ago)

    I love your kitchen! I was just wondering where you got those beautiful canisters! :)


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