As the saying goes, ‘everything old is new again,’ and that sentiment holds true for furniture as well. Although many of us are looking for timeless style in our furniture, designs that will stay on-trend throughout the decades, the truth is that what’s popular is ever-changing.
Even the most ‘timeless’ pieces can look dated as what’s in style shifts, and pieces that may have looked dated can suddenly come back into style as trends cycle through.
Let’s talk about one of our favourite furniture styles—a style that looks dated because it’s supposed to, and that’s exactly what makes it look so cool. That’s right, today we’re looking at retro furniture style.
What is retro furniture style?
Before we begin, let’s talk about the difference between retro, vintage, and antique.
Antique doesn’t really have much to do with what a piece looks like, but instead relates to age; antiques are generally considered to be items that are more than 100 years old.
Vintage is a little bit harder to pin down. It can be a piece that is older and reminiscent of the era in which it was made, but it is also often used to describe newer items that reflect a specific older style.
Similarly, retro pieces are usually new, but are designed to reflect classic looks. Generally retro pieces are specifically meant to evoke 1950s to 1980s furniture trends.
This nostalgia-driven style can offer a huge variety of looks, from 1960s-inspired bold patterns and space-age shapes to the nature-inspired yellows, olives, and oranges of the 1970s.
Why we love retro furniture style
Unless you’re going to redecorate your home every season, we believe it’s more important to develop your own personal interior decor style than to strictly adhere to the most cutting-edge trends.That’s one reason we love retro furniture style.
It’s not about the hottest new look, but instead embracing favourites of yesteryear.
Maybe your parents had a sofa you loved in your childhood home, or maybe there’s a dining table from a classic film you’ve always dreamed of making your own. You can use those pieces to inspire your own decor.
Retro furniture never goes out of style because the trends it evokes are from the past.
Whether you’re adding just a touch of funky 60s flair to a room or turning the entire space into a 1950s vinyl-and-chrome diner dream, retro style is all about incorporating your favourite classic details with playful and charming nods to times gone by.
How to bring retro furniture style into your home
If you want to make your home decor look groovy, hip, fly, or totally rad, there are a lot of easy ways to incorporate retro furniture style into your interior decor aesthetic.
Colour is an instant retro option for any type of furniture. You can really go all out with avocado green or mustard yellow (and check out our tips for styling yellow in a previous blog post!).
If you’re not content with solid hues, bring prints and patterns into your retro furniture style. While you don’t have to commit to paisley and tie-dye, geometric shapes are a retro element that still offers modern appeal.
If you prefer something more subtle earthy browns and tans can also evoke a nostalgic feel. And going retro doesn’t mean you have to turn your room into a rainbow wonderland either. Consider a bold big-ticket item like a sofa paired with a neutral look for the rest of the room.
Speaking of shapes, retro style is all about the circles. Curved backs and rounded corners are hallmarks of retro furnishings, and these not only fit the theme but also bring in an organic, cosy feel that’s great for any space.
When you’re looking for individual furniture pieces that harken back to bygone eras, we have a few favourites. First, there’s the lounge chair and ottoman set. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Eames chair of the late 1950s, these matching sets are classy yet comfortable.
Movable bar carts are another great choice for retro appeal, offering cocktail hour libations and equipment in 1950s and 60s style.
Of course, nothing says retro quite like a bean bag chair. These 1960s and 70s essentials are cushy, playful, and add an instant pop of colour to any room.
Tying it all together
Whatever your interior decorating aesthetic, there are ways to incorporate retro furniture style into your home without making your room look like the set of That 70s Show (unless that’s what you’re going for, of course!).
Retro style is about defying expectations, mixing and matching, and not being afraid to use design elements you love, whether or not they’re currently ‘on trend.’
Have fun developing your own personal interior design style, and let the decades past be your guide to a fun and functional retro furniture look for your home.