How American Kitchens Have Changed Throughout The Decades

What did your childhood kitchen look like? Did it have wooden cabinets and funky wallpaper? Or was it more traditional, with embroidered curtains and paisley? Some people could guess which decade you were born in based on your childhood kitchen. If you can’t discern the difference, check out how American kitchens have changed and evolved throughout the past century.

1910s: Free-Standing Furniture Everywhere

In the 1910s, kitchens did not have the built-in appliances or cupboards that we know today. Sinks were separate from the wall, often on four legs, to increase circulation and prevent mold. Cabinets became popular during this time, but they were all free-standing.

In this colorized photo from 1915, a woman stands in her small kitchen.
Burton Holmes/Archive Farms/Getty Images
Burton Holmes/Archive Farms/Getty Images

Linoleum prints were available in a wide variety of shapes and colors, from florals to diamonds to faux tiles. Ventilation and running water were beginning to improve, but it would take many Americans a while to update their kitchens.