How to Incorporate Retro Style Into Your Living Space

Have you heard of a comeback in the world of interior design? Well yes, there is. Retro style has made a comeback in a better form and in a better way. The classy and sleek style of the 50s 60s and 70s is certainly trending these days with its eclectic mixture of old and new elements that can transform your modern living space into a bold and colorful haven. Here are some ways in which you can bring a touch of retro to your modern living space.

1. Bold and sharp colors
Colors can indeed change the perception of a space. Retro style can be highly distinguished with its bold and sharp colors. A combination of retro colors like avocado green, aqua blue, citrine, red, yellow with black or white can bring a perfect ‘touch of the past’ into your modern contemporary space. Introduce a green or blue feature wall in an ‘all white’ bedroom or living room; or a touch of mustard yellow in the kitchen.

Source: FreshHome

Playing your way with soft furnishings can be an excellent move in case you want to infuse a retro feel but not comfortable in taking drastic steps of changing the walls and flooring at large. Throw pillows, table runners, curtains, rugs and beddings with an explosive mixture of retro hues can be an ideal solution in your modern living space.

2. Sleek and functional furniture
Unusual, abstract, free formed, simple curves and shapes define the retro style furniture that you would state as functional and chic with no intricate or fancy details. A couple of wing chairs with your modern sofa, a low oval or kidney-shaped coffee table or swan chairs in your dining room with a sturdy wooden table can glam up your space with a retro touch as well as a modern minimalistic feel. The advantage of mixing retro style with contemporary or modern furniture is that it infuses the eclectic touch, becomes a focal point and not a misfit in the space.

Another benefit is that retro furniture is mainly wooden thus enhancing the warmth of the space, with some chairs made out of plastic. Chromized or metallic finishes for frames, table tops, chair and table legs and other detailing are quite popular with this style which makes it smoothly blend with modern room furniture. Elongated steel legged leather or upholstered sofas, puzzle piece velvet ottoman, wood and metal combo bar stools or pencil leg teak cabinets or sideboards can be a great retro addition for any space.

3. Illuminate in the retro style
Lighting is a remarkable way of instilling an old-fashioned mood of the past. As the style defines, retro or vintage lighting fixtures are distinct and functional. Industrial style glass and metal pendant lights can add character to your kitchen or dining space. Circular mod glass vintage style chandeliers can breathe the essence of that period in your living room or bedroom.


4. Retro statement with patterns and prints 
Retro patterns and prints are often bold, swanky but geometrical and structural base with repetitions. Mid-century patters also included simple floral or paisley prints. Consider adding checkered colorful floor tiles in a small space or herringbone parquet flooring in the passageway, kitchen or corridor.

Source: Pinterest

5. Retro Accessories
Beautiful retro patterned vinyl floor tiles are available today which can be added to your living space or kitchen floor for some bright and colorful feel. Wallpapers with psychedelic prints are stunning addition especially in the bedroom for a sleek, bold and personalized touch.

Source: Flickr

Fuzzy Shag carpets, throw rugs, checkered curtains and crushed velvet upholstery, cushions, and upholstered headboards can be decorative as well as give a textured surface feel. Atomic wall clocks, abstract wall arts and paintings, high torchiere lamp and simple sculptures can be a great addition to enhance the mid-century feel.

As much as it is said and done, the character and aesthetic of the space lies in how well it is balanced. Bringing a retro style into a modern space can be easy but the challenge is to make sure that it does not become a flaw, mix and match have to be balanced and coordinated well. It cannot be too loud and noisy nor can it be toned down to a level that wipes out the essence of the retro style.

- Abercrombie, Stanley. A century of interior design 1900-2000: a timetable of the design, the designers, the products, and the profession. Rizzoli Intl Pubns, 2003.

Related Article
- What is the Most Iconic Retro Modern Chair?

Last review and update: August 27, 2018

About the Author

Patty Benjabutr is an interior design enthusiast. She loves to write about actionable home decor knowledge because she believes interior design content is something much more than a collection of beautiful photos. You can contact Patty via e-mail.