Colorful, Retro ’70s Kitchens Are Back—Thanks to Instagram

The era of the stark white kitchen is over, as colorful ovens and artfully crafted marble countertops return to relevance.

Sicis’ Electric Marble is a not-so-subtle way to infuse color into a kitchen. Courtesy Sicis

First-time home buyers have had plenty of time—years, in fact—to agonize over and favorite hundreds of thousands of images of their dream homes across Instagram, Pinterest and, even before that, Tumblr. But perhaps that’s too much time.

“Consumers are exposed to so many images of interiors daily that they get sick of styles faster,” notes interior designer Roxy Sowlaty.

Stark white open kitchens filled with natural wood and Carrara marble are now too commonplace; after nearly a decade of this clean aesthetic, the pendulum is swinging back and consumers are looking for unique designs. Which is where Sicis’ Electric Marble comes in, as a bold, yet not too flashy update. Sicis applies a neon-metallic effect to the veining of natural marble slabs, which appear to glow when the light hits. This small injection of color is an easy way to incorporate a touch of quirk, without going full rainbow.

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), “Homeowners want to feel like the space they live in is truly theirs, hence the movement in unique pieces that their neighbors don’t have.” This generation wants to be the best, the first and the most original, which is why they are willing to take more risks.

A blue stove? Flashy hardware? A patterned backsplash? Sure, anything to make their home standout.

A yellow Bertazzoni Professional Ranges offers a touch of personality in an otherwise all-white kitchen. Greg Riegler Photography

For example, Bertazzoni’s Professional Ranges are offered in red, orange and yellow; those colors are painted on alongside flashy Italian sports cars, in the very same factory. Bertazzoni offers all the benefits of an industrial oven, in either a 30- or 36-inch model, in addition to being the category leader with a boil time below six minutes for 1/2 gallon of water. Valentina Bertazzoni, the Style and Brand Director, has seen a growing number of homeowners opt for colorful design statements and customizable products and she doesn’t anticipate seeing a slowdown anytime soon. In fact, they’ve even expanded their rainbow of options, including customization, to keep up with customer’s colorful demands.

“Millennials are the driving force behind the modern customer who lives in the present and embraces change quickly but also enjoys a grassroots foundation and sustainability. Using color correctly adds charm and charisma to a space, making it fun yet comfortable,” per the NKBA.

First time home buyers are also thinking about resale. “Millennials are thinking, ‘how can I flip this in a few years and get something even better?’” says Wesley Moon, a Manhattan-based interior designer. That stands in stark contrast to older generations, who tend to have the idea that a house is a home—for life.

Moon also brought up the idea of nostalgia. “Kelly Wearstler was one of the first to resurrect pieces from the late 1970s and early 1980s and combine them with current trends. [Now,] people are not only saturated by minimal white designs, they are also feeling nostalgic for the homes of their childhood, which had blue countertops, fun colored tiles, and vintage looking appliances,” Moon explains.

That might explain the recent uptick of interest in the I Balocchi line from Fantini. Originally designed in 1978 by Paolo Pedrizzetti and Davide Mercatali, this reissued mid-century modern sink faucet and handles comes standard in chromed red as well as nearly any color imaginable, as Fantini offers custom coloring. This retro style adds sleek Italian style to any kitchen, and can easily be swapped out if a potential buyer has different taste.

Both Moon and Sowlaty praised La Cornue‘s cooking ranges for combining a retro aesthetic with modern color stories, as well as forward-thinking technology. The brand was the first to create a convection oven, in 1908, and has been steadily advancing the technology ever since. Clients are requesting this style as of late because the colorful ovens seamlessly work in kitchens with a traditional or contemporary design.

As for the somewhat traumatizing era of avocado fridges and yellow laminate countertops in the ’70s, there is no cause for alarm. Designers and the incredibly-informed consumers are translating past color trends into modern spaces with the well-intentioned use of color. Which, unsurprisingly, makes for a perfect Instagram post.

Colorful, Retro ’70s Kitchens Are Back—Thanks to Instagram