Move your kitchen out of the past and into today with smart renovations.

How to Redo a Kitchen Built in the 1960s

by Michelle Powell-Smith

While you might love and embrace your 1960s-era kitchen, in many cases the kitchens of the 1960s appear dark and dated to modern eyes and may not be as functional as you need. There are a number of ways to redo a kitchen built in the 1960s, from simple and affordable cosmetic changes to full renovations. Explore the options for your '60s kitchen, whether you want to keep some of its vintage personality or move it into the 21st century.

Cheap and Easy

If you're redoing your 1960s kitchen on a very low budget of a few hundred dollars or less, you may need to limit your redo to simple cosmetic changes. These changes can also be landlord-friendly for rentals. If you're still battling 1960s-era wallpaper or paint, stripping your walls and painting them a fresh, light shade provides the basis for a new color scheme. Choose a shade that looks modern and bright with tile or counters from the '60s. Try pairing pale blue walls with brown or rust-toned tile or going with crisp light gray to freshen up harvest gold. Add coordinating accessories, like a new kitchen rug, curtains and dish towels.

Invest Some Time

If your budget doesn't allow for a full kitchen redo, but you can spend a bit more time and money, consider stripping and painting your wood cabinetry or refinishing it with a cabinet refinishing kit. Eliminating the heavy and dated wood tones of the 1960s kitchen will help create a more modern look. Countertop refinishing kits offer the option to make your old counters new again. While this will not be a quick redo, depending upon the size of your kitchen, it will likely involve more DIY labor than money.

New Appliances

If your 1960s kitchen has its original appliances, you may be ready for a change from these dated essentials. Before you start shopping, take careful measurements. Many appliances from the '60s are smaller than today's options, making it challenging to find new stoves and ovens to fit in your vintage cabinetry. You should also have a skilled electrician review your wiring to be certain it is adequate for modern appliances.

Gut It All

If your cabinetry, appliances and flooring are all due for replacement, you may need to take on a full-fledged kitchen remodel. Before you begin, determine what, if any, elements of your 1960s kitchen you would like to keep. If your cabinets are structurally sound, refacing may offer a lower-cost alternative to new cabinetry. When you are remodeling from the walls out, you can plan to replace windows and doors, change the position of cabinetry and appliances or add an island; however, you may want to remember that additional structural changes often mean additional costs and time.

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

Photo Credits

  • Chaloner Woods/Valueline/Getty Images