Retro-style home decor ideas

Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada Sarah Tolle – Homify Canada
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In interior design, retro furniture and decor draws upon design aesthetics from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. While the furnishings can range from bold and bright to subtle and Earthy, all retro style rooms share one thing: an attempt to celebrate the trends, music, attitudes, or styles of the past. In modern homes, retro style is often blended with elements of other decorating styles to offer a new interpretation of the quirky and unabashedly original attitude that characterizes retro decor.  United by a common theme, colour, or motif, these eclectic compositions offer up a variety of interesting pieces that are each anchored in important cultural and historical moments.

Tour these examples from the designers at homify to gather inspiration for your own unique retro room design!

​Straight from the 70s

The wooden walls are the first element to sing out praise of the 70s style, with the furniture reflecting the contradiction that defines this transformational decade. Looking around this 70s-inspired space, an Earthy aesthetic meets a futuristic edge, while sleek and subtle Midcentury elements come up against the wild and unexpected design experimentation of the post-Modernist era.


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This room displays a blend of Scandinavian and retro 1960s style, drawing together the lightheartedness and purity of Scandinavian style with the rebellious and challenging attitude that defined the 1960s political arena. In this room, bold patterns showcase unique personalities, highlighting the importance of a unique identity and desire to speak one’s mind without inhibitions. Speaking out against environmental pollution, mass consumption, capitalism, and racial segregation, the 1960s was period of idealism and criticism. This room maintains a sense of idealism and optimism with simple and lightweight Scandinavian designs, melded with a bold clash of patterns that challenge the status quo.

​1950s fridge

While the rest of the room takes on a modern look, the iconic “Smeg” fridge is, without a doubt, born of the 1950s; this style maintained popularity throughout the 60s and 70s and has recently seen a resurgence as more people search to add funky character and nostalgic elements to their home decor. 

​Good morning macramé

It wouldn’t be a complete tour of retro-inspired rooms without a bit of macramé! Another element of retro style that has recently surged back into the mainstream, this macrame rug is an icon of the 70s. Likewise, the mixture of bold primary colours has a certain 70s ring to it as well.

​Subtle retro style

This living room incorporates a range of retro elements with little twists that re-imagine them as features in a contemporary living room. A composition with a mixture of organic and geometric patterns draws inspiration from the 70s, with patterns on walls, floors, and furniture. Although the bonsai tree traces its roots back to ancient times, the 60s and 70s also saw a rise in popularity of the bonsai tree as much of the Western world became more concerned for society’s effect on the natural environment.

​Mid-century mod lounge

These designers have created a Mid-century mod lounge, using custom wooden creations to bring a surprising amount of warmth and life into the room. The graphic pattern on the wall speaks of the wild and wacky designs of the 70s, with a thick crocheted throw and organic furniture challenging the rigid lines of the square pattern. An emphasis on texture and depth is clear in this intriguing design, forming a nurturing and warm space that takes on a soft golden glow.

​The original DIY

Do-it-yourself wasn’t invented when Pinterest finally rolled around: the DIY movement was already gaining momentum in the 60s and 70s when consumption and pollution were some of the core issues on the table. This room celebrates a DIY lifestyle, taking advantage of simple designs and techniques. A painted terracotta pot, a few branches in a vase, a swing hanging from a rope, a small lounge space created by nothing more than a rug, ottoman, and chair.

Find more home design ideas in this ideabook:  17 easy and affordable ways to make your small patio better

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