Getting The Retro Look: Everything You Need To Know About Retro Interior Design

April 19, 2024

The Golden Age is having a renaissance and we’re living for it! 

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Retro is back baby, and you know what that means? We’re heading back to a time before all our favourite social media platforms existed and bold, colourful, and extremely playful home decor reigned supreme.

So, What Is Retro Home Decor? 

Much like modern and contemporary, vintage and retro home decor are often used synonymously, yet they couldn’t be more different. Vintage home decor is decor that is actually old, like we’re taking decades and, at times, even centuries old. Retro home decor, on the other hand, refers to decor that is reminiscent of styles from recent pasts.

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For example, 50s retro home decor is all about being a maximum maximalist. Big, bright, bold colours, upholstered cushion covers, chrome accents, pops of leather… you know the works. On the other hand, 60s retro home decor broke all the rules. Think of it as the rebellious middle child of the family. The 60s added the feminine touch to style with chunky floral prints and peace signs while also introducing the bean bag into the picture. Finally, the disco decade! The 70s introduced nature into the style with the use of wood and exposed concrete. Furthermore, blues and greens were the prevailing colours during this time. 

However, the 2020s is all about taking inspiration from all three decades, capturing the essence of a bygone era and infusing it into contemporary spaces, creating a unique blend of nostalgia and modernity. Think vinyl record wall decor, bold soft furnishing accents paired with wooden furniture, and graphical wall art that just makes the space feel like a blast from the past!

How To Create The Look?

Now that we’ve gained a thorough understanding of retro home decor, how does one create the look?

Bring The Drama:

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When it comes to retro, accent walls don’t refer to a different coloured wall that still fits into your chosen colour palette or aesthetic. Accent walls truly personify the true meaning by being louder than loud. From vibrant colours that you wouldn’t necessarily choose such as oranges, reds, pinks, and turquoise, or walls filled to the brim with photo frames and wall art, retro accent walls demand people's attention. 

Make It Fashion:

Retro furniture has a very peculiar look that combines both vintage and retro aesthetics. Furthermore, the main material used is wood, bringing a touch of the 70s interpretation into the space; it’s used in different ways to create a unique look. For instance, heavier furniture such as tables, cabinets, and beds is more full and chunky with intricate engravings, thus, bringing the vintage appeal to the game. Whereas, moveable furniture such as chairs have skinny legs and armrests with either leather or vibrant suede upholstery that the 50s was known for. 

Where The Fun Begins: 

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Soft furnishings such as the upholstery used for the curtains, rugs, and even throw blankets incorporated into the space are when possibilities become endless and every textile becomes a protagonist in its own domain. Leather chairs, embroidered cushion covers, vibrant patterned sofa upholstery, and funky carpets, every detail is reminiscent of a time when every soirée was a spectacle and every rendezvous held the promise of scandal. 

Get Your Groove On: 

You need to get a little funky with decor objects to bring out that retro appeal in your space. Think more eclectic home decor that showcases the essence of 60s retro home decor. Metallic mirrors, graphical posters, animal figurines, quirky lamps, and abstract vases all bring out the eccentric grandeur of retro interior design and help you achieve the retro look. 

The Right Lighting: 

Lighting can make or break a look. It’s not an opinion that can just be ignored. It’s a universal fact. The right lighting is necessary, especially when you’re trying to achieve something specific. 

Retro-themed lighting transforms mere ambience into an unforgettable experience. Edison bulbs, with their soft, amber hue, evoke the nostalgic charm of old-world cafes, infusing the air with a sense of romanticism that lingers long after the lights dim. Perhaps crystal chandeliers that illuminate the space with an ethereal radiance. Or even vintage-inspired fixtures that become the pièce de résistance of the room. Whatever the choice, lighting isn’t just about creating visibility. It’s about creating a scene. Setting the mood, if you may. But above all, retro-themed lighting is about creating an environment that captures moments bathed in nostalgia. 

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The Bottom Line:

In essence, retro interior design isn’t about replicating looks from decades past to satisfy our nostalgic callings. Rather, it’s about bringing pieces of the past into the future to create our present. It’s another extremely fun interior design that allows you to explore the playful side of decor and the limitless possibilities of blending the best of both worlds: the charm of yesterday and the innovation of today.

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