Kitchen styles through the decades (1920-today)

As a real estate agent, I study homes every day. I find it fascinating to see how homes have changed over the decades. It’s exciting and inspiring to see how our life has changed. Below I will share with you photos of kitchen styles over the decades. I hope you get a kick out of it as much as I did.  


 The history of the Refrigerator began in 1920. In the 1920s and ’30s, consumers were introduced to freezers when the first electric refrigerators with ice cube compartments came on the market.  Not many people back in the 1920’s had refrigerators due to the high price for them. Before the invention of the refrigerator’s people used Ice boxes.  




In the 1930s, the kitchen was increasingly becoming the arena of the housewife rather than servants, as new electrical appliances helped to ease the workload. Many electrical labor-saving devices, such as toasters, kettles, and vacuum cleaners came onto the market during the 1930s.


Accident invented the microwave oven in 1940’s when engineer Dr. Percy Lebaron was conducting experiments with magnetrons. When a candy bar in his pocket melted while he was conducting experiments, he realized that magnetrons emitted microwave radiation.


During the post-war years, a new array of exciting and labor-saving appliances and devices entered the home. Both small and large appliances changed life for a new generation of upwardly mobile families in the 1950s. Popular kitchen appliances in the 1950s included refrigerators and electric ranges and ovens. The new housing of the time formalized the trend for built-in kitchens and often included an informal eating area. While freon-cooled refrigerators had been introduced in the 1920s, the refrigerators of the 1950s gained the first ice makers and automatic defrosters.Addition to that General Electric introduces colored kitchen appliances. Bye, bye white!


The Sixties have been described by historians as the ten years having the most significant changes in history. In the kitchen, the most important invention was a washer and dryer combo and electric cooker – high dome, vent cover and large 15×12 -inch cooking surface. Pop Art colors, such as acid green, orange, pink, red, yellow, bright blue, black, and white were the look of the 1960s.


Kitchens were bigger and functioned more efficiently with ample storage and the most up to date appliances. The dishwasher was no longer considered a luxury.The 1970’s were a period of change; activism, self-expression, and freedom of the individual movements were at their point of climax. Kitchens during the 70’s were either open and light, or dark toned and muted.Shades common during this time was brown, avocado green, cream, dark orange or red, sage green, mustard as well as aubergine.


The fist open kitchens – designed for family living – were developed in the 1980’s. As a substitute for overhead cabinets, an oversized center island was created with meticulously planned storage drawers. Eating bars on peninsulas became popular as an informal dining space. The kitchen had butcher block laminate countertops, sheet linoleum flooring, dark wood cabinets and trim, and grass cloth-like wallpaper.


1990’s people were keeping the kitchen light; cabinets were white or not painted at all, they allowed the natural light wood color to shine, giving the kitchen a cozy look. The 90’s kitchen was seen as an entertaining space, often overlooking the living and dining areas, spacious island benches were incorporated during this time to serve as an informal second dining table.

 2000’s & Today

Throughout the twentieth century, kitchen design evolved rapidly as lifestyles changed, and new products and technologies were developed. The professional look continued with the liberal use of stainless steel in appliances. The second installation of some appliances in the kitchen provided the necessary equipment for multiple workstations. Backsplash started being a big part of kitchens design.

Today we see a blend of décor. Minimalism is still favored and retro pieces will likely always be popular, but I feel that homes these days have more personality and less trendiness but still modern. As far as color goes, grays, whites and metallics are very much preferred.