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What To Look For In Vintage Kitchenware

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then isn’t it worth spending a bit of time and effort on finding great quality kitchenware that will last for years and become familiar and treasured possessions?  

Cooking, eating, and sharing mealtimes together are some of the things that binds families together. We all have memories of the kitchens in the homes we grew up in. The smells, the recipes, and our parents’ unique ways of preparing food. 

In times past, kitchenware was built to last. And today, many of us are looking not just to relive our childhoods, but also to genuinely find great quality cookware that will last a long time and become a central part of our daily food preparation experience.  

So, if you’re on a mission to add some high-quality vintage kitchenware pieces to your collection – be it pots, pans, scales, cutlery or crockery, read on for some thoughts on what to look for in vintage kitchenware. 

The different types of materials used in vintage kitchenware

In any kitchen, the cookware is nearly as important as the ingredients. After all, even the best recipe could be ruined if it’s cooked in a subpar pot or pan. Great quality kitchenware makes cooking a joy, and can even contribute to the quality of the food!

For those who love vintage kitchenware, the style of the cookware is just as important as its function.

Collectors scour flea markets and antique stores for rare finds, and they’re willing to pay a high price for pieces in good condition. The most sought-after kitchenware is usually made from copper or cast iron. Copper conducts heat well and can develop a beautiful patina over time. Cast iron is also an excellent conductor of heat, and it’s prized for its durability. However, both copper and cast iron can be quite heavy, so they’re not always practical for everyday use. That’s where enamelled kitchenware comes in.

Enamelled pots and pans are often just as beautiful as their copper and cast-iron counterparts, but they’re lighter and easier to handle. As a result, they’re more popular with home cooks who appreciate both form and function.

Whether you’re a casual collector or a passionate pursuer of all things vintage, kitchenware is a fascinating area to explore. With so many different materials and styles to choose from, there’s something to suit every taste.

How to spot a fake vintage piece

With the popularity of vintage living, it’s no surprise that fake vintage kitchenwares have begun to flood the market. However, there are a few ways to spot a fake.

First, take a close look at the construction and build. Real vintage pieces are often made from higher quality materials than today’s mass-produced, cheap kitchenware.

In scales and other plasticware, check the quality and thickness of the plastic. Cheap repro scales are unlikely to be accurate.

In copperware and ironware pots and pans, check for patina, makers’ marks, and the quality of construction, especially in joins. True vintage pieces were often handmade and therefore (pleasingly) doesn’t suffer from the mass-produced perfection of reproduction pieces.

Finally, trust your gut. If something feels off about the piece, it probably is. With a little careful examination, it’s easy to spot a fake vintage piece.

The importance of condition when buying vintage kitchenware

If you’re like me, your kitchen is your pride and joy. It’s the heart of your home, where family and friends gather to share meals and memories. But it’s also a place where spills happen, accidents happen, and things just generally get worn out with use.

That’s why it’s important to be choosy when purchasing vintage kitchenware. After all, you want your kitchen to reflect your impeccable taste, not your chaotic life.

Look for pieces that are in good condition, with minimal wear and tear. If you’re concerned about water spots or stains, consider opting for a different piece.

And if you’re really looking to make a statement, go for something that’s unique and eye-catching – something that will make your guests say “wow” when they see it. With a little bit of effort, you can create a stunning vintage kitchen that will be the envy of everyone who steps foot in it.

All your pieces don’t necessarily have to be from the same era or decade. An eclectic but well put-together collection of pieces is just as beautiful as a complete set of collectors’ items.

What to do if you find a rare piece of vintage kitchenware

You’re rummaging through your local flea market when you come across a beautiful piece of vintage kitchenware. It’s in pristine condition, and it’s clear that it’s a real collector’s item. But what should you do next?

First, take a deep breath and resist the urge to immediately buy it. There’s a good chance that the seller is also aware of its value, and you don’t want to overpay. Instead, do some research to get an idea of what it’s worth. Once you know how much it’s worth, you can negotiate with the seller from a position of strength.

Of course, even if you manage to get a good deal on the piece, there’s no guarantee that it will appreciate in value over time. But if you’re lucky enough to find a rare piece of kitchenware, it’s definitely worth investigating further. Who knows? It might just be the start of a whole new collection.

Where to find affordable vintage kitchenware online and in stores

If you’re looking for affordable vintage kitchenware, the internet is a great place to start your search. There are numerous online retailers that specialize in selling vintage kitchenware, and many of them offer competitive prices. You can also check out local charity shops, car boot sales, garage sales, auctions and estate sales; you never know what treasures you might find.

Just be sure to inspect the items carefully for chips, cracks, and other damage. With a little patience and effort, you’re sure to find the perfect piece of vintage kitchenware for your home.

Conclusion paragraph: The next time you’re out antiquing or perusing your favourite online vintage store, keep these tips in mind. With a little bit of knowledge and some careful observation, you can add a beautiful piece of vintage kitchenware to your collection that will last for years – and maybe even increase in value over time. Happy hunting!

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1940s History Home Kitchen Vintage wallpaper

1940s Kitchen Wallpaper

If you’re a fan of retro style, you’ll love the 1940s kitchen wallpaper patterns that are back in fashion. These colourful designs feature classic motifs like flowers and paisleys, and they add a touch of nostalgia to any room. You can use them to create an accent wall or to dress up a plain backsplash. So if you’re looking for a way to add some vintage flair to your kitchen, check out these stylish wallpaper designs.

In the 40s, Britain underwent total transformation. Every single person was affected by World War II, and almost everybody played an active role. You’ll know about the Land Girls for example, pioneering women who were posted to work on the land to make sure food did not need to be imported, and the UK was self-sufficient.  
Land girls colour photo

Whilst society underwent transformation so did gender roles, with 36% of women in work – many of whom were enlisted into factory and agricultural jobs. 

Not a time to be thinking much about decorating the kitchen wall, you might think. But what never ceases to amaze about WW2 is that folks somehow managed to stay cheerful – and this was reflected in their choices for interiors. 

By the end of the war, austerity was the order of the day and styles were muted. The mood was subdued but resolute. “Make do and mend” was the motto. 

With Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters crooning from the radio, women kept the nation’s spirits up with wholesome, unfussy food and built their families with love and great care, savouring each day as it came, whilst saving every penny and making everthing count. “We Can Do It”, said the poster, and it was right. 

We Can Do It poster
We Can Do It, said Rosie the Riveter – and she was right.

The 1940s kitchen colour palette is one of mint greens, creams and blacks, plain wooden furniture and scrubbed tiles.

Everything needed to be fresh and clean, if not antiseptic.

Kitchens needed to be practical and were used for many purposes, from cooking to washing, ironing, eating and as a central point for the family to gather. 

Fridges were in, but electrical gadgets such as microwaves and air fryers were still a long way off. 

Vintage sugarbowl

This sugar bowl sums up the 40s palette. Greens, dark browns and creams were the palette of the decade. 

The 1940s kitchen colour palette: cream backgrounds, botanical greens, rich reds, browns and duns. 

1940s kitchen

Most kitchens were not wallpapered, but simply painted in single tones or tiled. Partly because kitchens back then were generally steamier places than they are today. There were fewer extractor fans and kettles, boiling vegetables (not microwaved), washing and ironing all produced steam in vast quantities that would run down the wall and condense on cold windows. 

Folks would even boil their knickers on the hob when a washing machine wasn’t available. (“Granny, why are you cooking your pants?”)

But when they were papered, patterns with muted colours were favoured. Small patterns such as botanicals would be favoured over garish patterns. Fruit and flower motifs were especially popular, but in subdued tones and styles. This was a time of humility, not self-indulgence.

1940s wallpaper
Small patterns in minty greens were in, in the 1940s
Vintage 1940s kitchen wallpaper

To get the 1940s look you’ll want to focus on simple practicality and good quality. This was not a throwaway decade and money was tight. Reflect this with high-quality kitchen goods and wallpapers that will last a long time. 

Vintage kitchen wallpaper 1940s

If you’re looking to add some retro flair to your kitchen, consider choosing a 1940s kitchen wallpaper style. This type of wallpaper can be found in a variety of styles and designs, so you’re sure to find something that fits your taste. Plus, it’s a great way to add some unique style to your space.

1950s kitchen

By the end of the decade, the nation’s mood was lifting a little bit. Although rationing did not fully end until 1954, but the 50s it was clear that the UK’s economy was on the up, and wages rose, men went back to work, and new houses were built in bombed-out cities. 

This was reflected in our interiors, with brighter colours coming in and new gadgets cropping up. So if your thing is late 1940s, you’ll want to include some eye-popping colours here and there, whilst retaining the basic sturdy and clean look and feel.

In summary:

  • The 1940s were a time of transformation in Britain. 
  • Gender roles changed during this time, with more women working outside the home.
  • The mood was subdued but resolute, and the motto was “make do and mend.”
  • The kitchen colour palette of the 1940s consisted of mint greens, creams, and blacks.
  • Kitchens were used for many purposes beyond cooking, such as washing and ironing clothes.
  • By the end of the decade, the nation’s mood was lifting a bit as rationing came to an end and wages rose.
  • For wallpaper styles go for small, detailed florals and botanicals with washed out and muted colours such as browns and greens.
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1940s 1960s 1970s Home Kitchen

Vintage Kitchenware

Classic simplicity

In the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s is that practicality was the aim of the game; it wasn’t about fancy gadgets that would be used once or twice. In the post-war era, kitchenware was built to last, not be used for a year or two and replaced. Some of those designs were so good they became style icons in their own right.

How many people have been into Grandma’s and found a 1950’s Swan colander? Beats your vulgar plastic version purchased from the local supermarket hands down, right?? And the plastic version probably only has a year or so left on its shelf life, whilst Grandma’s is hitting the mid-sixties age range.

In the grand scheme of good vintage brands, Swan is right up there for quality and reliability, and they produced everything from jelly moulds, jam pans, aluminium kettles, enamel pans and teapot sets amongst other things. Swan is possibly the Daddy of vintage kitchenalia and went on to be some of the first manufacturers to produce the toaster and a kettle containing an element as well as develop the world famous ‘Teasmade’ alongside co-subsidiary, Goblin.

The 1950s kitchen

  • The style: open-plan, fitted kitchens.
  • Brighter colours, greater convenience and great utility were the hallmarks of the 50s kitchen. Rounded “bubble” corners on shelving and doors.
  • The palette: bright pastel greens, blues and oranges.
  • New materials: linoleum, PVC and Formica began trending.
  • Influences: American diners, pop culture
  • The look: chequerboard lino flooring. Open plan. Chrome and plastic stacking chairs. Polka dot curtains.

Another key appliance of vintage kitchenalia that is conjured up in the mind’s eye is the big electric mixer, usually produced by Kenwood and absolutely screams 50’s housewife. The majority of these appliances left on the market are still in good working order, look great and are a hell of a lot cheaper than their modern counterparts.

A set of Salter scales is another great idea for a kitchen going for a throwback look. Known for their accuracy, these scales often sell for more than a brand new set from a department store, but their look and resilience to last through the decades makes the benefits of owning a vintage set of Salter scales far outweigh the pros for buying a new set, pardon the pun …

To demonstrate the style of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, Sadler is a brand to certainly look into. Their teapots, creamers, storage jars and sugar basins amongst other things certainly span the decades. Whether it be the somewhat brash colourings of the 60’s, the fun look of the 50’s or that smidge of chintz that the 40’s offered, a Sadler piece will be out there somewhere.

Unlike many moons ago, in this day and age, people can afford to spend money without worrying whether what they are buying has a practical implication, so opting to spend a few pounds on vintage tea tins such as Twinings, Tetley, Lyons and Typhoo is another option for a proper vintage look.

The key to combining vintage kitchenalia with a modern kitchen is playing around and choosing the right things, so that the overall look doesn’t become tacky or gimmicky but still manages to throw in some great nostalgia.

Alumnium Swan colander
Alumnium Swan colander
1950s kitchen
The 50s kitchen – bright colours, rounded corners, checkerboard flooring.
Vintage Salter scales
Vintage Salter scales

You can’t have missed the trend for injecting vintage chic with kitchenalia that throws back to the golden years of classic design. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it’s well worth putting some thought into getting it just right. It’s easier than you might think. Any kitchen can be transformed using a few well-chosen vintage/retro objects. You don’t have to pay the earth – second-hand or refurbished items are just as good as brand new. It’s all about what you choose.

What To Look For In Vintage Kitchenware