Design MicroTrend

Kitschen: The MicroTrend That Piles On The Fun Flavor

Kitsch is back in 2024 and it’s coming for your Kitchen. But there are ways to incorporate this microtrend into your home without losing yourself, your wallet, or your Kitchen in the process. Read on to find out how.

A New Recipe For Fun

In 2023, we saw Quiet Luxury emerge as a design microtrend. So, as it typically goes at the start of a new year, we’re doing a complete 180 degree pivot.

People are ditching their old aesthetic and introducing more personality by turning up the volume, getting cheeky, and whipping up more smiles.

Enter the era of the Kitschen.

To quote one of my all-time home icons, Martha Stewart, “it’s a good thing” and it’s going to be really freakin’ fun.

Get ready to embrace the quirky side of your personality with bold colors and playful patterns. Whimsy’s what’s cookin’ in the Kitschen!

Image from Ethan / Flickr [CC BY 2.0] and loveproperty.com

Ingredients For Success

As in any good recipe, let’s start with the basics you need to pull this off. 

What the heck is kitsch (pronounced ‘kitCH) and how do I do it? 

Glad you asked.

Google defines it as such:

noun: kitsch

  • art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

adjective: kitsch

  • considered to be in poor taste but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.

Still unclear? Just think of fuzzy car dice, plastic flamingos, lava lamps, or a tiki bar in full tiki regalia. That kinda thing.

If you were to use it in a sentence, you could say something like, “Meet me in the Kitschen for milkshakes!”

Fun, right?!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake: recipe by Martha Stewart Test Kitchen, photo by Brian Gardner

A kitschy object typically has a nod to the 1950’s – 1970’s retro nostalgia with some cheeky flair.

The “L” word being used here is low-class vs luxury (which is all about one’s own perception, though, isn’t it at the end of the day?).

Nature inspired motifs are all the range (see what I did there?) as well as playful patterns, like oversized rickrack trim (aka, really large waves). You’ll see all this showing up on a variety of things from hardware to placemats and even as big stickers for your fridge.

So cool (pun intended).

Color-wise, kitsch embraces the full spectrum from pretty pastels to bold saturated tones, but definitely not just neutrals.

Mixing these tones is fairly easy because they all play nicely together in the sand-wich box (omg I’m on a roll!). You’ll even get brownie points if they don’t match because it just adds to the unexpected quirkiness of it all.

Nothing is safe from the paintbrush be it cabinetry, appliances, furniture, or accessories. The more color you can inject, the better!

A few shades that you’ll see dominating the scene are rose petal pink, light green, and all varieties of yellow – as seen in this Kitchen from the ’50’s below. 

Image from Ethan / Flickr [CC BY 2.0] and loveproperty.com

The Trick to Today’s Kitsch

I totally get this is not the vision most people have for their house, but hear me out.

As an Interior Designer with almost 20 years of experience, I know a thing or two about injecting personality into a space and have seen how it transforms not only the folks who live there, but also those that come to visit.

I also firmly believe that EVERYONE can benefit from having more fun in their lives and that’s what the Kitschen is all about.

There are ways to incorporate this microtrend into your home without losing yourself, your wallet, or your Kitchen in the process.

And I’ll tell ya the one trick to it –

Think small.

I bet you knew I was going to say that, right? 😉

Hey, I told you this trend was all about having fun! And of course we’re gonna bring dollhouses into this.

Here’s a story as an example:

One day, back in college, my roommate’s mom sent her a care package. As she opened the goodies, she pulled out a ceramic spoon rest of a funky lady with a full face of makeup, animal print dress, a furry pink coat, and a matching hat. On the back of the piece it was signed by the artist, Susan Paley, and the name of the lovely lady was discovered. Lola. 

For me, it was love at first sight and I let out a gasp! Then felt a tinge of sadness as I remembered that she was destined for someone else. I quietly consoled myself with the thought in knowing Lola would also sorta-kinda be my friend too for the time being since we lived together and all.

For my roommate, her feelings towards Lola were the opposite of mine. She must have noticed the storm of emotions on my face because the next thing I knew she was handing her over to me. And Lola and I have been besties ever since.

I’m telling you this story because you might think that to embrace this microtrend you have to paint your kitchen cabinets pink, install some wacky wallpaper, and possibly throw your entire design aesthetic out the window. Not true!

Lola is a small example of how you can incorporate a little Kitschen into your home and still keep your sense of style. She may be tiny, but the smile she brings to my face when I see her on my stove every day is pretty huge.

How Tip Toe Into A Kitschen

To successfully create this in your home, focus on changing out a secondary statement piece.

The main ingredients in a Kitchen are usually the biggest items in the room and obviously the things that get used a lot – like the appliances, the cabinetry, the countertops, and the lighting.

Leave those as is and focus your attention on the items that are the supporting ingredients – like the small appliances (toaster, air fryer, mixing thing, etc.), the cabinetry hardware, the bar/counter stools, dinnerware, or even the faucet can be an easy swap-out. 

By keeping your backgrounds classic and adding a fun, unexpected pop you’ll be able to embrace this microtrend without letting it take over your Kitchen’s identity or embarking on a big renovation.

To up the ante – go bigger. 

Meaning, if you have the space then invest in a small furniture piece that can do double duty for you down the road. Something like a bar cart or cabinet can serve your needs for the time being and then be repurposed to store something else later in life. Or move it into a new room completely if you tire of it.

You can treat any new furniture item like a statement piece and let it be something completely different than anything else in your home.

Or you can go with something more subtle that just nods to the trend. The choice is yours, so do what feels right for your home and your tastes.

They even make large stickers you can put on your appliances in bold patterns if you feel like playing with fire, but also want to keep an extinguisher close by in case of an emergency change of heart.

Create Your Custom Kitschen Recipe

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve actually been a fan of this style since I was a little girl. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am always drawn to things that are a little bit quirky, off-beat, or even dare I say fugly. But that is what I love about it!

While the taste of an item may be questionable depending on the viewer, one fact is undeniable:

By filling your home with things that make you smile you create a space that makes you happy on a consistent basis.

Take it from someone who knows. There are multiple times during the day my eye randomly lands on something quirky, like Lola, and a smile crosses my face which then leads to mini moment of gratitude.

It is a gift to be surrounded by things we love and that bring us joy.

This microtend is not only fun, but super flexible! You can bring in as little or as much as you want. You choose the ingredients that you like. Use this recipe as a base and add your own flavor to it.

In the end there’s one simple thing to remember: if it puts a smile on your face then you’re doing it right.

My Go-To Ingredients

If you want to sink your teeth into the Kitschen microtrend, I’ve done all the shopping for you and gathered some no-fail items you can use in your human house or your dollhouse.

You can click any of the images in this article to find out more info or check out my chirpyest page that’s loaded with even more goodies for you to feast your eyes on.

A little note – some links contained in this post are affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small commission when you purchase a product from the link. This is at no additional cost to you. Plus, it helps us to be able to do what we love to do, like writing these blog posts and making the world a happier place one house at a time.

Enjoy!

Kitschen Items For Your Human House

Kitschen Items For Your Dollhouse

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply