Traditional kitchens with character never go out of style and those that have a heritage feel create a timeless effect that will last for years to come. If you’re going all-out and changing the cabinets, consider buying second-hand, as it’s a wonderfully sustainable solution, or simply upcycle existing furniture with a lick of paint.


Reclaimed flooring tends to be on the pricey side so seek out laminate or LVT with an old timber floorboard style to get a similar look for less. Choose a vintage-inspired sink and tap, retro appliances and accessories, and you’ll have the ultimate eclectic kitchen packed with personality.

How to get the vintage kitchen vibe

A traditional country-style oak and solid birch kitchen, originally £34,000 – now £5,500, Used Kitchen Hub

Bag a bargain by buying a second-hand kitchen – many have up to 70 per cent off the original price so you can achieve the heritage look at a snip.

‘We always recommend viewing any used kitchen, as it is important to check out the finish, colour and condition. Buy something a little bigger than you need so you have some extra units to play with, as fillers or panels can make the kitchen fit its new home.’ Looeeze Grossman, Founder of The Used Kitchen Company

paint kitchen cabinets
Walls in Key Lime Pie and Milk Bottle kitchen emulsion, both £20 per 2.5L; Jet Black non-drip satin, £15.49 per 750ml, all Crown Paints

Freshen up a Shaker kitchen scheme by painting the kitchen cabinet doors with specialist paint in blue or faded grey – refresh shelves and radiators with paint at the same time.

FAB30LBL5UK fridge-freezer, £1,589, Smeg

Retro-style appliances add an instant vintage and traditional look – build up a collection over time for a matching set - or if you can't afford retro appliances here's how to paint your fridge in a retro colour to emulate the look at a fraction of the price. If you love the whole retro kitchen-look here are some retro kitchen ideas along with our favourite retro fridge-freezers, retro kettles and even retro microwaves

Farmhouse ceramic wall tiles, £34.99 per sq m, Wickes

Mix and match rectangular brick tiles for a rustic, handcrafted feel that doesn’t cost the earth. Lay them in line, herringbone or brick-bond effects for a unique splashback - and if you don't want to pay someone to do it here's how to tile a kitchen splashback

Mini Prep Pro, £50; traditional kettle, £65; two-slice toaster, £60, all Cuisinart

Mix timeless accessories with vintage pieces for an eclectic feel and display your collection on open shelving for quick access to your essentials

Cecilia pendants, £66.50 each, Pooky

Pendant lighting with filament bulbs gives period schemes an industrial edge

Havsen sink, £223, IKEA

Butler and Belfast sinks are a heritage staple that don’t need to cost a fortune. Check out reclamation yards as well as your local recycling centre, as it’s surprising how many get thrown away!

Dyrham Dairy ceramic tiles, £90.07 for nine, Ca’ Pietra

Choose hand-painted glazed gloss tiles for a period look. Take style cues from Victorian properties, such as this design inspired by Dyrham Park’s kitchen

‘Enhance your kitchen by opting for tiles with character. Look for rustic-inspired glossy tiles to blend both classic and contemporary – anything that looks handmade will elevate your kitchen design.’

Milano Select deck mounted mixer tap with pull-out spray, £109.99, Big Bathroom Shop

Enhance a vintage sink with a brushed-nickel-finish tap. A pull-out spray rinses dishes with ease

Traditional vintage-inspired kitchen accessories

Antique-style cutlery, £14 for a four-piece set, Rockett St George
Woods Irish Linen Instant Dryer tea towel, £16.50 each, Woods Fine Linens
Living Nostalgia Vintage Blue mechanical scales, £47.49, KitchenCraft
Black Toast mug, £19.95, Emma Bridgewater
Dachshund mini stoneware jug, £11, Sophie Allport
Large Antique White vintage wall clock, £64.95, Melody Maison


Thomas PoadSection Editor

Section Editor, Your Home