How to Accessorize a 1970s Kitchen

How to Accessorize a 1970s Kitchen

If you are looking to recreate and / or want to know how to accessorize a 1970s kitchen in your home, or just want to add in one or two items from this decade to an already eclectic vintage style kitchen, then look no further. A kitchen modelled on the 1970s style is fun, colourful and sure to be a talking point! This room was undoubtedly the heart of the home in the era, where families came together to cook and enjoy meals, hold parties, or put on coffee mornings for friends. So read on for my go-to guide as to the 1970s vintage kitchenalia you absolutely need for a fully authentic look.

1. Orange, Orange and more Orange!

Orange was an extremely popular colour scheme in the 1970s, and not just for the kitchen. It is a bright, fun, optimistic colour and was probably used as an antidote to the economic recession of the latter part of the decade. It was often paired with brown, but also other bright (and sometimes clashing) colours to make for an interesting look. So, before I even start to give you my guide to accessories, I’m going to ask you to THINK ORANGE!

2. Kitchen Basics

In Terence Conran’s ‘The House Book‘ of 1974, he writes, ‘since saucepans and knives will be used daily as the implements of your trade as a cook, it’s probably worth buying these essentials first and spending as much as you can afford on them’. Good advice Terry! As well as saucepans and knives, other kitchen basics he recommends include; chopping boards, baking tins, cutlery, utensils, bowls, sieves, salt and pepper pots, pestle and mortar, kettle, scales, bread bin, gadgets, graters and other useful things such as measuring spoons, mincers, steamers etc. So not a bad list to get you started! All of these things were easily available to buy in the 1970s, and often the designs were much more fun than today’s equivalents, as well as being better made with the idea that they would last. When searching for 1970s kitchen accessories look out for manufacturer’s names such as Skyline, Prestige, TG Green, Judge, Morphy Richards, and Tala. Here is a copy of the diagram in the House book to give you an idea of the type of silhouette you will be looking for

3. Linens and Tableware

No self-respecting housewife would have been without a set of matching linens for the kitchen. The dinner table was an important part of family life as, without the distractions we have today, most families would have eaten together at the table, when the breadwinner came home from work. A good tablecloth and matching napkins were essential for this, as well as for entertaining. You can still find sets from the era in many types of designs, from plain and traditional to funky flower power, abstract and illustrated with foods, or idealised eating scenes. Tea towels also tended to follow suit, with similar colourful designs and made from cotton or linen. Matching oven gloves were also avalable, as well as aprons, tablemats and trays. Marks and Spencer were good at this back in the day, look out for designs like this melamine one in fab orange flower power!

4. Tea and Coffee Sets

On a recent sourcing visit, the lady who’s house I was visiting told me about coffee sets. She said it used to be the thing for women to have regular coffee mornings with neighbours and friends, once the children had gone to school. So of course, this meant the pottery manufacturers such as Poole Pottery, TG Green, J&G Meakin, Hornsea, Midwinter, Denby etc started to cater for this trend! Coffee Pots were often tall and made from porcelain, ironstone, and stoneware. Designs came in bright flower power colours, modern florals, abstracts and other funky designs. Check out this J&G Meakin Coffe Pot in Aztec design for a good example.

5. Storage Containers

Finally, in the 1970s storage containers were made to look good when on display! Tea, Coffee and Sugar cannister sets were a must, and came in materials such as plastic, ceramic and tin. Again they featured fun and bright designs as well as more traditional looking ones. Hornsea pottery were good at making larger storage containers for flour and sugar, in their recognisable designs such as Bronte and Heirloom. Colours came in brown, green, and the less popular blue at the time. However as they didn’t make as many in blue initially, it has become rarer to find!Tupperware had been around in the UK since the 1960s and by the 1970s, it was making set of matching self-seal plastic storage containers in oranges, green, browns and yellows and in all sizes. Look out for the Harvest range with a fan lid, which are particularly collectable – and did you know that if you press in the centre first then seal the lid around the edges, it creates an air-tight seal? Other storage containers around at the time were witty ugly face pots to hold items such as beetroot, pickled onions, bread sauce, and more! See what I mean in the photos below. The more unusual pots for example apple sauce, horseradish etc are getting harder to find.

So there we have it. There is no decade like the 1970s for dividing opinion on taste. Some people find it tacky and hideous and couldn’t wait to see the back of it, and others find the bright and quirky designs fun and funky, reminding them of their childhood or their favourite era. Whatever your reason for wanting to accessorize a 1970s kitchen, I hope I have given you some good ideas in this post!

This blog post is written by Rachel Toy, owner of Rachel’s Vintage & Retro. I am a vintage enthusiast writing about a Vintage Lifestyle, focusing on the Vintage Home. I also sell a wide variety of vintage household items from kitchenalia, to homewares such as linens, mid century glass, barware, occasional furniture and collectable toys from my Vintage Website and Social Media.

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