ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kitchen Furniture, Then and Now

Updated on December 29, 2010

Retro Kitchen

By Firexbrat via Flickr
By Firexbrat via Flickr
Kitchen furniture tends to be a pretty popular item these days, people are always looking for ways to enhance their kitchens.  You can just about get by without any furniture in your kitchen, unless its a dining table.  Most kitchens today have built in cabinets, and a kitchen island, these will do the job of storage and work surface, although kitchen storage furniture is probably the second most popular thing people are looking for in the kitchen.  

All these built ins in our modern kitchen are a fairly recent invention, basically the turn of the 20th century.  All your working area and storage came from your kitchen furniture.  Tables were not just used to eat on but to prepare, in fact in the middle ages up until the late 18th century and even beyond, the kitchen was often located away from the rest of the house because it was hot, smokey and dirty.   So people didn’t eat in the place where there food was prepared, unless they were from more wealthy families and could afford stoves that could vent the smoke outside.  Cooking by fire was common until the 20th century and even continued well into the 20th century.  My grandmother in the 70’s would still use her woodburning stove to heat food during the winter when her electric stove had all the burners full.

Country Kitchen Funiture

Pie Safe, by Mirandala via Flickr
Pie Safe, by Mirandala via Flickr

There are several pieces of rustic kitchen furniture that don’t really exist in their original form because they’ve been replaced by technology. The pie safe is a good example, this was a cabinet with metal sheets in the doors that had holes punched in them. Air could circulate through them but the flies were kept out. With refrigerators we don’t really need such a thing. Kitchen pantry furniture has always been popular though, people in the middle ages needed places to store stuff, we need places to store stuff.

Of course we’ve created pieces that we use but weren’t necessary years ago, kitchen nook furniture, is one example, because people didn’t eat in the kitchen until the mid 1800s, kitchen island furniture is another example, because kitchen islands didn’t exist, people would just put a table in the middle of the room if they needed extra workspace. We also have all sort of rolling kitchen tables and work spaces, people needed those sorts of things years ago, but they probably didn’t have the rolling capability, they just pulled their big oak table wherever they needed it. We can still find some of the antique kitchen furniture people used from years ago, because people were just like today - in that we all need places to put stuff. Of course now we’ve got a lot more appliances and gadgets then they had years ago, so we probably need even more space.  They wouldn't need kitchen furniture for a small kitchen - small kitchens didn't exist, they were all big back then.

You can use your furniture to change the look of your kitchen too, retro kitchen furniture has always been popular, the chrome and glass look is popular today, in fact it’s sometimes hard to distinguish contemporary kitchen furniture from some of the retro furniture. The country kitchen look is also popular, it’s probably not historically accurate, because country kitchens of the past used heavy oak furniture that was designed to take a beating. Often the kitchen was heated by a fireplace or woodburning stove so things were smokey and soot covered.

We’re lucky today that our kitchens are clean, bright and actually clean, unlike our ancestors, still we need some of the things they did to prepare our food. Just goes to show the more things change the more they stay the same.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)