Retro Kitchens – it’s all in the details.

If you’ve watched Mad Men, the hit AMC television series that features 1950s and 60s decor, you’ll know that the sets are meticulous in their period details. One set that figures prominently in the first two seasons is the Draper family kitchen. Betty Draper’s knotty pine kitchen cabinetry and plaid wallpaper get it just right. But less obvious, and fun to follow, are the details that add to the realism. A lampshade on a light fixture in the back of the room or a spice rack on the wall might initially go unnoticed, but many viewers watch for these as part of the enjoyment of the series.

And that leads us to this piece of advice: if you are planning a retro kitchen design, don’t forget the details. They make it realistic as well as more fun for you and for your guests and family. Websites like (for handmade and vintage goods) and flea markets are great sources to find what you need. For inspiration, take a close look at the props in these images from Mad Men and happy searching!

MAD MEN Kitchen

Printed table cloths, canister sets for flour and sugar, and decorative plates on the wall are just some of the items you’ll find in this shot of the Draper kitchen if you look closely. Notice the mix of patterns in the room—plaid wallpaper, print tablecloth and patterned frilly curtains.

MAD MEN Kitchen

Retro kitchen appliances in avocado are obvious requirements for a 50s-60s kitchen. But don’t forget the rack for your spoon collection and a cookbook for the “hostess.” The overall look of the room is busy, but that’s because it was a busy place for stay-at-home moms like Betty. A retro kitchen needs to look well used.

MAD MEN Kitchen

When friends drop by, don’t forget to hide your Starbucks mugs and bring out the china cups. Notice the lamp in the background on the counter—you’ll need to forget about pot lighting in your kitchen.

MAD MEN Kitchen

A white ceramic sink and simple solid spout faucet might be going too far for many of us as we’ll still want the functionality and convenience of the current century! We’ll suggest some substitutes from Blanco’s line of sinks and faucets that take you back but not quite as far as the 50s!

BLANCO’s Vision 2-bowl Silgranit sink

BLANCO’s Vision 2-bowl Silgranit sink in a drop-in installation style captures the look of the Draper kitchen but gives you the high-tech durability that ceramic and enamel sinks don’t offer. Silgranit is scratch-proof, heat and chip resistant and will last a lifetime.


A functional pull-out dual spray faucet is a must for today’s kitchen even though Betty had to do without. This one, the BLANCO Torino, captures the simplicity of earlier times but works for today’s demands.
And finally, don’t forget the apron and herbal smokes (that’s what the cast of Mad Men puff on all day) to make your final statement when you launch your new retro kitchen to friends! Happy decorating.


  1. I love classics!

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