Creating a Tasteful Kitsch Kitchen
Published on 07 Feb 2024
Having scoured millions of user boards, Pinterest recently concluded that 2024’s prominent kitchen trend will be… kitsch kitchens. No, that isn’t slurred speech. In a widely circulated article, Pinterest revealed that kitsch-related keyword searches grew 40% – 160% last year, leading to the prediction:
“This year, Gen X and Boomers will spruce up their cooking areas with thrifted finds, vintage appliances and jarring pops of paint.”
“But what is a kitsch kitchen?” you might ask. The dictionary defines “kitsch” as “a derivative of the [German] verb kitschen ‘to throw together.’” And Kitschy kitchens follow this ideology. Extravagant and eclectic, kitschy decor shows vintage kitchen cabinets with saturated colours and random decorative accompaniments.
Basically, the kitschy style draws inspiration from maximalist ideas. However, kitsch is subtler. More homely. Want to experiment with your own kitsch kitchen? We’ve outlined kitsch interior design tips to do so without making it look like Liberace had a fight with a gift shop in your formerly tasteful home.
Start with Colourful Kitchen Cabinets
Quiz any designer to explain the kitsch style and many will lean on terms like “playful” or “colourful.” Key to showcasing kitsch in a tasteful way, though, is not to overpower your kitchen with one colour. Nor should you mix clashing colours. Instead, it's best to form a creative kitchen that's distinctive but doesn’t cause migraines.
So, while mixing eccentric kitchen colours with animal print kitchen accessories might tempt you, just ensure you don’t over-dazzle the room. Likewise, as much as kitsch kitchens demand unorthodox blends, you definitely shouldn’t clash strong choices like green kitchen paint with a retro pink kitchen.
Striking a balance is essential. Maybe, limit colours to cupboard doors, as we have with these Marlborough and Hardwick kitchens. Then soften colourful kitchen cabinets with pale tones. Doing so, you’ll still have pops of colour but the quieter details will make the ensemble look more considered.
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Throw in Retro Kitchen Decor
Simply throwing together a vivid colour palette won’t make a kitsch kitchen. Indeed, retro-kitsch accessories must also contribute to this unique look. Take, for instance, a retro-style cooker. An imposing feature like the one in the Hardwick range below provides enough colour without making the room seem overly 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 marvels could you find to help you build an old-fashioned kitchen but with a modern twist? Look and you’ll probably find a treasure trove!
Afraid to go overboard? Go small with appliances like kettles first. Then add vintage kitsch elements to make for a more playful kitchen. If that makes it too busy, just clear space and choose mild flooring. After all, we don’t want to risk forming a bric-a-brac pentagram, do we? That's how David Dickinson was born.
Weave in Soft Accessories
When trying to emulate great kitsch kitchens, many designers forget about fabrics. Inspired by the blocks of bold colour from eye-catching examples, they miss the intricate soft touches, not realising that they provide a crucial accoutrement, without which the entire eye-feast becomes unpalatable.
On this front, layering is critical. The best way to do it is to focus on variation. Ensure a few are fibrous in nature to feather lines and you’ll make your kitsch space look less blocky. Travel oddities also tend to help, as well as western gothic décor details that combine timbre, leaves, faux fur and skins.
Wild West vintage americana needn’t cover every inch for your kitchen to make it kitsch, though. It’s even possible to start with a minimalist, handleless kitchen, like this H Line Madoc and H Line Sutton range. A few country kitsch furnishings like curtains and tea towels is all it takes to make a space kitsch.
Try Bohemian Kitchen Features
“Granny chic” or “boho” kitchens overlap with kitsch kitchens in many ways. If you aren’t familiar with them, both follow bohemianism – a cultural movement that subverts “normal” lifestyles. Popular with artists, bohemian décor blends conflicting components like glass, wood and flora. Sound familiar?
Use these concepts as inspiration and they’ll enrich your kitsch designs. Plants, for example, are fantastic for contributing to an eclectic kitchen because they provide colour in a way that relaxes our brains. Ceramic crockery and stained-glass pendant lighting, meanwhile, play with the light for extra colour.
Consider drawing on family hand-me-downs if you’re struggling to find bohemian trinkets for your space. And what about nostalgic kitchen elements like grandparents’ tea sets? Vintage ornaments, unique cookware and other grandmillennial paraphernalia can all provide amazing additions.
Seek Inspiration from Examples
Sometimes, seeing a kitchen’s components isn’t enough to recreate it. You need examples, too. So, why not check out this work from Sigma 3’s very own Ollie Willcox. After listening to his customer Judith’s wants, he achieved what designers from other retailers couldn’t: a kitsch kitchen she loved.
"Starting with a patterned wallpaper Judith chose before her visit, I assembled a Burnt Umber and Autumn Blush kitchen. After that, the Tuscan Walnut cabinet interiors, dark wood worktops and glass pendant lighting all came together to result in a unique kitchen that Judith and her family loved."
Kitchen Design Consultant at Sigma 3 Kitchens Esher
Take Kitsch Expert Advice
Each component in today’s article will help you put together a stunning kitsch kitchen. The tricky part is designing a kitchen that balances them all in a way that’s interesting yet tasteful. If you need more help then book a meeting at a Sigma 3 showroom and let our experts guide you, or become a Sigma 3 Insider for free. As an Insider, you’ll get exclusive tips, plus lifestyle guides and design resources.