Kitsch Kitchens: How to Stand Out, Not Stick Out
Published on 07 Feb 2024
After analysing millions of user boards, Pinterest has concluded that 2024’s rising kitchen trend is… kitsch kitchens. No, that isn’t the slurred ramblings of a drunk interior designer. According to Pinterest, the use of kitsch-related keywords has grown between 40 and 160%. Therefore, their team predicts:
“This year, Gen X and Boomers will spruce up their cooking areas with thrifted finds, vintage appliances and jarring pops of paint.”
So, what are kitsch kitchens? The dictionary describes “kitsch” as “a derivative of the [German] verb kitschen ‘to throw together (a work of art).’” Kitschy kitchens follow this theme. Colourful and diverse, kitschy decor typically exhibits vintage kitchen cabinets with bright colours and assorted accessories.
In essence, the kitschy style adopts a lot of inspiration from maximalist design. Kitsch, however, is subtler. More nostalgic. Want to create your own kitsch kitchen? We’ve outlined how to master kitsch interior design without making it look like Elton John had a fight in your space with a Dulux paint rep.
Use Colourful Kitchen Cabinets
Ask a designer to describe the kitsch style and many will use words like “colourful” or “playful.” The key to executing kitsch well, though, is not to soak your kitchen in one overpowering colour, nor is it to mix clashing colours. It’s to assemble a creative kitchen that’s bright but doesn’t induce headaches.
You might be tempted to mix eccentric kitchen colours with animal print kitchen accessories – and you can. Just ensure you don’t overpower the room. Likewise, as much as kitsch kitchens need bold combinations, you probably don’t want to clash green kitchen paint with retro pink kitchen features.
A balance is vital. Perhaps, limit block colours to cupboard doors, as we have with these Marlborough and Hardwick ranges. Then offset colourful kitchen cabinets with neutral tones. That way, you’ll achieve popping kitsch colours alongside quieter details that make the whole ensemble pleasing to the eye.
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Opt for Retro Kitchen Décor
Bright colours alone don’t make a kitsch kitchen. Retro-kitsch accessories must also play a part in refining this unique look. Take, for example, a retro-style cooker. Large and bold, a feature like this one shown in this Hardwick range below provides welcomed colour without making the room too busy.
Retro items, in particular, work well, mainly due to the bold presence they exude in a mild room. Thus, what vintage ornaments could you dig out to embolden your space? What could you find to help you build an old-fashioned kitchen but with a modern twist? You’ll probably find a treasure trove!
Don’t want to risk going overboard? Start with small appliances like kettles. Then add playful kitchen details like vintage kitsch tiles. And if you’ve maxed out on colour, defuse the room with neutral flooring to stop it resembling the sort of tat cubbyhole that gets you stormed by Bargain Hunt contestants.
Embrace Western Gothic Décor
A common mistake many designers make when emulating the bold mise en scene of kitsch kitchens is that they forget texture. Inspired by broad blocks of bold colour, they don’t realise that intricate soft elements provide an indispensable garnish, without which the style becomes distasteful.
The best way to add layers is to do so with variety in mind. Ensure a few are fabric and amorphous in nature to soften lines. As a result, they'll make your kitsch space look less blocky. Unusual knickknacks also help. So can western gothic details that combine wood, plants, faux pelts and leathers.
Vintage americana needn’t flood your space for your kitsch kitchen to include the necessary layers, though. You can even start with a minimalist, handleless range, like this H Line Madoc and H Line Sutton range. It only takes a few country kitsch furnishings like curtains and tea towels to make a room kitsch.
Try Bohemian Kitchen Elements
Boho kitchens – or “granny chic” kitchens – contain design staples that complement kitsch kitchens. If you aren’t familiar, bohemianism describes a way of life that differs from normal expectations. Bohemian décor, for instance, blends modern glass with old wood and flowing flora. Sound familiar?
Plants are a prime example, and are fantastic for contributing to an eclectic kitchen, mainly because they provide colour variation in a way that relaxes human minds. However, you can also kitsch up your space with other bohemian elements like porcelain plates of stained-glass pendant lighting.
Draw on family hand-me-downs for inspiration. And what about nostalgic kitchen elements like tea sets from your grandparents’ old kitchen? Vintage ornaments, unique cookware and other grandmillennial paraphernalia all also provide excellent contributions to an exemplary kitsch kitchen.
Accept Kitchen Expert Advice
Each one of these components is key to creating a breathtaking kitsch kitchen. The challenge, however, is designing a layout that balances them all. If you need more help then book a meeting at your nearest Masterclass showroom and let an expert act as your guide, or become a Masterclass Insider for free. As an Insider, you’ll get exclusive design tips, plus welcome guides and resources.