How to Decorate With a Retro Diner Theme


There are many ways to decorate kitchens with retro charm. One way to incorporate vintage style is by designing a kitchen with a 1950s retro diner theme. By combining elements, such as a retro color scheme, checkered vinyl floor, 1950s-inspired stove and refrigerator, chrome-accented table and chairs, vintage lighting and stylish accessories, a retro diner theme is something that is fairly easy to create in most contemporary kitchens. The result is a relaxing space to enjoy with family and friends.

Things You'll Need

  • Vinyl, large-checkered floor
  • Chrome and laminate-topped table
  • Vinyl upholstered chairs
  • Retro range and refrigerator
  • Chrome ceiling pendant lights with opaque globes
  • Neon signs
  • Vintage 1950s diner accessories
  • Use a vintage color palette. To serve as a backdrop for the entire retro diner decor, select a color scheme that incorporates hues such as red, turquoise, blue or yellow. Team these selections with white accents for a 1950s diner kitchen appearance that is big on style and old-fashioned charm.

  • Install a checkered floor. For a retro diner design with an authentic look and feel, add a checkered vinyl floor in combinations of red and white or black and white. Choose flooring with large checkered blocks to coordinate the overall vintage diner decor.

  • Add chrome and vinyl furniture. Few things exemplify retro diner style than an old-fashioned formica-topped table with chrome accents. Add a set of vinyl upholstered chairs to the mix for a seating area that reflects quintessential 1950s diner decor.

  • Install retro-inspired appliances. There are many companies that create beautiful vintage-style ranges and refrigerators perfect for retro diner decor. Choose ones with chrome handles and retro details, such as old-fashioned knobs and stylish clocks to add a touch of whimsy and visual appeal to the overall decorating theme.

  • Incorporate retro lighting. Hang pendant lamps made of chrome with opaque globes. Add brightly colored neon wall signs with words such as "Diner" or "Eat" to create another retro design layer.

  • Accessorize with retro accents. Mix and match all sorts of vintage accents into the retro diner design for a kitchen that reflects the era. Accessories, such as old fountain glasses, clear-glass cake stands, old clocks, small tabletop jukeboxes, clear plastic straw holders, retro syrup and sugar containers, vintage-looking plates and retro soda fountain signs, add a stylish finishing touch.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shop for retro furniture, appliances and accessories in a variety of venues, ranging from thrift, antique or vintage-reproduction stores to auction and specialty websites.
  • Paint the walls of the space a cream color to make the decorating elements and accessories stand out.

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  • Photo Credit Liz Gregg/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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