Retro Fridge: Best in Refrigerator Design

Retro Kitchen with Elmira 1950 Refrigerator

Best Designed Retro Fridge for 2013

Current Nostalgia

Compiled by on May 13, 2013
Retro and vintage styles are back in for 2013. With a retro fridge you don’t have to give up on modern efficiency or features either. Here are some of our favorite retro refrigerators that can bring that vintage look to your kitchen in 2013.

To really have a current kitchen design this year look to the past for nostalgic appliances. While it’s the hottest look this year design with it carefully. You’re probably going to have these appliances for five years or longer. Here is a design guide to get in on the biggest design craze of 2013 that will still work in 2014 and beyond.

4. Sub-Zero BI-48S

All of the other refrigerators pictured are very evocative of the vintage style with rounded edges and chrome detailing. Usually this model of side by side would be very contemporary looking. However, the fact that it’s a built-in and a side by side gives some very interesting options for paneling.

Amazing Spaces uses a chalkboard front that compliments the industrial schoolhouse style barstools. Schoolhouse lights are also popular in 2013 as pendants for kitchen design. Get a larger capacity by going with a more modern fridge and a more convenient configuration for organization.

When using a panel ready style you’ll need to go with an obvious retro color. This includes red and turquoise. When you’re sick of this look if all of the cabinetry and chalkboard inserts were painted white you’d have a very classic looking kitchen. The other appliance options listed will always feel vintage while this one is much easier to transform.

3. Elmira Northstar 1950

To truly get a retro design you’re going to need to go with a top freezer style. Elmira has pulled off a more modern freezer style because of the handles. It has an 18.5 capacity and the enamel sides are color matched. It uses high gloss doors which are also imperative for a 1950s or 1960s feel.

This photo is also a good depiction of how to assemble an entire appliance suite. Don’t use a bold color throughout. You may have one vintage piece like a stove that is impossible to match on the rest of your appliances. Pair the new and the old together to get a more energy efficient kitchen that is more neutral. In the era these were made it was most likely designed as a set but now a mix and match style is more popular. The rest of the kitchen is neutral with slight rustic touches like beadboard cabinet fronts and farmhouse style lighting.


Showcase not only the trendiest style but also one of the trendiest colors for 2013. Mint is an obsession in both fashion and decor this year and this pastel green fridge is the closest you will come to finding it for appliances. The FAB30VS7 even has a wine rack and two egg trays inside. It’s a lower capacity refrigerator, more suited to smaller kitchens or apartments.

I would use it in an all white kitchen with a farmhouse feel. Pair it with other white appliances and a black and white checkerboard floor tile.

1. Elmira Stove Works 1958/1959

You will usually find vintage and retro refrigerators with smaller capacity than their contemporary looking counterparts. It’s nice to see dimensions that will fit in smaller rooms but these retro refrigerators almost exclusively cater to those who need smaller friges. What if you have a family or you cook a lot? Do you just miss out on this look completely?

Elmira offers a French door design that is pretty rare to find in this look. In their 1958 and 1959 models you’ll find the iconic chrome trim that you would expect from this era. These models are available in Candy Red and even have an icemaker inside. The 1958 model has 24.8 cu. ft. and the 1959 model has 19.8 cu. ft. They both have a Visi-shelving system inside.

The most popular fridges for 2013 will look like they are from the 1950s or 1960s. They will either use a dramatic bold color like red, or a very contoured silhouette with an enamel style finish. However, with retro refrigerators you can have modern conveniences like good energy efficiency or a deli drawer to go along with the great look!

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