How to Redo a Kitchen Built in the 1960s


A kitchen constructed decades ago will devalue the market appeal of almost any house. Cramped cabinet arrangements and thin cabinet doors, versus today's thicker, well-crafted doors, were often used in the past. Inexpensive counter top materials and vinyl flooring, commonly used in the 1960s, might still be in place. Potential buyers will perceive rather quickly if cabinets, counter tops, flooring and appliances don't look high-quality and contemporary. They know they will have to invest their own money to bring these fixtures up to par, if the kitchen is severely outdated.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Graph paper
  • French doors
  • Paint
  • Tile
  • Wall color
  • Cabinet doors
  • Door fronts
  • New cabinets
  • Flooring material
  • Counter top material
  • Stove top
  • Refrigerator
  • Measure the entire space, and transfer dimensions to graph paper. Create a bird's eye view of the space and a detailed drawing of each wall facade looking straight on. Plan to use every square inch of the space wisely in order to build a new kitchen that functions well. Borrow space from a nearby hallway, for example, to extend the floor print of a small L-shaped kitchen of the 1960s. Consider removing a wall between the kitchen and living room, as well, to enlarge a cramped space.

  • Begin the remodel by planning the floor space in relation to the kitchen sink and window. Plan around the existing window space looking into the backyard, for example. Install a larger window if a small push-out window from the 1960s is still in place. Plan the sink and the kitchen "work triangle" around the enlarged window view. Layout the work triangle so the sink, stove and refrigerator are just a few steps from each other.

  • Figure out what you can salvage. Keep well-built, old cabinet bases, for example. Remove the cabinet doors, and replace the doors and drawer fronts only. Leave a wall of tongue-and-groove knotty pine if your house is located in a western or mountain region. Keep one or two old light fixtures on the wall, too, if these fixtures are high quality.

  • Remove anything that looks obviously outdated. Take down a scalloped section of wood across a fluorescent light fixture at the kitchen sink, for example. Rip out old indoor-outdoor carpet, or plan to replace an old sliding door with double French doors leading to a deck.

  • Choose materials by selecting wall color first. Get rid of dark paint or inappropriate, loud colors used in the 1960s. Figure out if you want walls painted light cream or walls constructed of sand-colored tile. Buy new cabinets to fit with wall color in the wood finish or laminate you can afford. Pick out the color of flooring materials and counter top materials, too, before you actually buy the materials. Coordinate the cabinets, wall tiles and flooring, and buy them in textures and colors that harmonize.

  • Install all component parts of the kitchen with room for appliances. Plan to construct an island bar that will hold a stove top, for example. Place a new oven in base cabinets or the island bar, versus leaving a wall oven, often installed in an upper cabinet right beside the stove in the 1960s. Figure out how a new stainless refrigerator will fit into a wall of new cherry cabinets.

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  • Photo Credit Dick Luria/Valueline/Getty Images
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