The Vintage Kitchen Trend That's Making A Comeback In 2024

Don't worry; it's not the carpeted kitchen counters or harvest gold ovens of yesteryear — or any of the other worst kitchen trends of all time. They say that styles are cyclical; they fade in and out of memory, only to haunt us in the aisle of every thrift store for years to come. Yet, there are vintage kitchen trends that come back around more than others. Take, for instance, gorgeous vintage hardware, which is making a big comeback. Especially the use of heirloom quality hardware, which is known for its handmade craftsmanship that's worth holding on to even after moves or future renos.

True heirloom quality hardware is timeless. Even if we perceive it as dated or vintage, they've earned a place within any time period. Part of what makes these design choices classic is their dependability to suit a space. For renovating homeowners, an addition or update using classic cabinetry is often a good idea, especially if you don't plan on living in the space forever and want to sell.

Mindy O'Connor of Melinda Kelson O'Connor Design told Homes and Gardens about painted cabinets and other kitchen trends to ditch at home. "Walnut can have a rich and beautiful effect and wood cabinetry is most timeless as an accent rather than dominating the space if used on all of the cabinetry." These cabinets, in their classic visage, lend themselves to the vintage hardware that is finally coming back into vogue. 

Vintage kitchen hardware has reemerged

Something that is cropping up more and more in kitchens is a reinvestment in quality hardware. You'll see this, especially in vintage styles like metal bin pulls or shell cups, as seen above. These gorgeous retro pieces of hardware bring something special to the kitchen, which is probably why we're bringing them back. 

"With the many global changes the past few years, we are seeing an uptick in people returning to the comforts of traditional design and finishes," Emtek director of industrial design and production Will Zhang told House Beautiful. "These pieces have withstood the test of time for a reason, and continue to take our breath away. Timeless and classic, this year we will see a vintage revolution and a return to heirloom-quality hardware." Heirloom quality is usually applied to furniture, but the connection remains the same when we talk about hardware. Investing in hardware, modern or vintage, that is well-made can serve you for years — that's the difference. These pieces are like comparing a fast fashion sweater to a vintage cashmere; you'll use one for a few years, but the other will hold up for decades if cared for properly.

Pieces don't have to be actual antiques to fit this vintage aesthetic. What a lot of these hardware pieces have in common, though, is their composition. They're made of durable metals like brass, iron, and bronze. Whether you're buying new or not, keep an eye out for quality metals when you're sourcing. 

How to source quality hardware

Here's the rub with heirloom-quality hardware: there are a lot of imposters. However, there are a lot of tricks you can keep up your sleeve to make your hardware sourcing a success. One of the most popular vintage hardware metals has been brass, which is easily manufactured as brass-plated. When you're out shopping for brass pieces, bring a small magnet with you to quickly determine quality. If the magnet sticks, it's brass-plated hardware, because actual brass is not magnetic. If it doesn't stick, it's more likely to be brass. You can also feel the weight of the hardware too. Brass is going to be heavier than other metal pieces, an easy tip off if you happen to have a piece of brass with you. 

If you decide to source truly vintage hardware, keep in mind that the pieces probably won't look fresh off the foundry floor. You'll probably see boxes of tarnished brass knobs and pulls overlooked by many others. But if they pass the magnet test, you can get them looking shiny and new again. Brass patinas quickly when it's used a lot, which is part of being kitchen hardware. So don't let a little grime stop you from saving a bunch of classic hardware from the dump. These high-quality pieces have survived the tests of time and will serve you, too, since you can clean brass with household products. Handsome kitchen accents will always be in style and well worth the effort.