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8 Decoration Tips for Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

by Blaky
Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

Despite the active development of modern interior trends, the retro style in the interior remains on the most popular solutions—retro-style apartments – bright, unique, and very cozy. So let’s figure out how to arrange it correctly.

Genuine retro style decorating truly incorporates several decades of styles, and the term itself is applied to describe almost any interior decorating.

1. Special Features of the Retro Style

Let’s start with a precise definition of retro design. Under “retro” (from Lat. Retro – a look into the past) is meant the stylization of the interior in the style of the XX century. Although the concept itself is quite broad and applicable both for the 20s and 80s, they often recreate the atmosphere of the 50-70s, less often the forties.

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

Retro-style design cannot be confused with anything, and it is distinguished by :

  • Bright colors. The palette depends on the period under which the space is stylized, but mostly saturated (blue, orange, yellow, red) or dense, deep (burgundy, indigo) shades are used.
  • Pretentious forms. Almost every piece of furniture is a designer find. Armchairs, sofas, wardrobes, chairs, pedestals cannot be called minimalistic – they rather look like works of art.
  • Prints. Mostly geometric and floral were used. Wallpaper or textiles with characteristic patterns are a retro-style feature in the interior.
  • Interesting decor. The middle of the last century saw the peak of the popularity of cubism, futurism, abstractionism. Wall and table decorations accurately reflect the heyday of the non-standard arts.

2. Retro Features by Decades

Retro interior design begins in the 1920s, which today bears the informal name of the “Gatsby-era,” passes through the calm neoclassicism of the 30s, and arrives in the military 40s. However, the main period of development of retro styles in the interior falls from 1950-1970. So let’s analyze each decade in more detail.


Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

A riot of colors characterized the first decade after the end of the bloody war. So naturally, people wanted bright colors and non-standard solutions: this is exactly what various private designers and industrial factories offered them.

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In the design of the walls, monochromatic painting is mainly used, and furniture is chosen futuristic, with geometrically verified silhouettes, chrome legs.


Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

The slogan “Make love, not war!” and the hippie movement itself made their own adjustments to the already vibrant interiors of the 50s. For example, in the interior design, unusual floral and geometric prints have appeared, complementing the color tones in the decoration.


Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

In retro-style rooms, flashy shades are replaced by more restrained, natural ones. Instead of bright lemon, honey is in fashion, instead of turquoise – forest.

Refined details of furniture give way to practicality and functionality: products become coarser, more massive. Vinyl and leather upholstery of sofas and armchairs is gaining popularity.

3. How is Vintage different from Retro?

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

Vintage and retro styles in the interior are often confused. To separate one from the other, consider their main differences.

  • Vintage still more refers to the time before the 1920s, mainly personifying the 18-19 century.
  • Retro, as we said, represents the middle of the 20th century.
  • Vintage requires the use of original things from a given period: that is, the basis of the interior is the restored furniture and decor of the 18-19th century.
  • Retro allows for stylization. Chairs and dressers can be modern but made to fit the style.

The last one is appearance. Again, visually distinguishing retro from vintage style is quite simple:

  • Vintage – light shades, small floral prints, rich furniture decor.
  • Retro – bright, saturated colors, geometric patterns, minimalistic furniture of unusual shapes.

4. What Colors are Used?

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

The color palette of designs in a retro style is determined by which the imitation is made. In the 50s, for example, bright colors and their bold combinations were in fashion:

  • blue + orange, red
  • red + turquoise
  • blue + yellow
  • lemon + purple
  • olive + pink
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By the seventies, the riot of colors had subsided, the finish became softer, natural shades appeared in it: Brown, beige, muted green, burgundy.

In modern interpretations, a light palette is often taken as a basis, diluting with characteristic accents in furniture and wallpaper.

5. What to Consider when Finishing?

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

A retro room starts with a renovation: pay attention to all surfaces.


A simple white painted surface is a commonplace but great solution.


Vertical surfaces should be given as much attention as possible. The early period was characterized by plain walls: both white and colored – orange, blue, yellow.

You can also stylishly decorate the walls with wallpaper with suitable prints (although, according to history, they appeared only in the 60s). Large geometric prints or crisp lines can be the main trim or accent. In the second case, wallpaper is used to decorate the surface behind the sofa, bed near the dining table.


When looking for ideas for decorating a retro kitchen or bathroom, you will surely come across a photo of a checkerboard floor, where dark tiles alternate with light ones. This trick is a classic retro finish.

Wood is suitable for flooring in living rooms and bedrooms. Although not necessarily natural, you can find many sales materials that imitate texture: linoleum, quartz vinyl, laminate.

6. What Kind of Furniture will Fit in Retro Interior?

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

The embodiment of retro style is impossible without furniture. So, first of all, pay attention to the seats: a pair of stylish armchairs in the living room or a set of chairs “from the past” in the kitchen will create the right atmosphere.

As for kitchen sets, they are somewhat different from modern ones. As a minimum, according to the rules, the upper cabinets should be low but elongated and not reach the ceiling.

Another thing, without which it is difficult to imagine a retro room, is a wardrobe. Sideboard, dressing table, sideboard, the chessboard of drawers, secretaire should preferably be chosen from varnished wood and thin, graceful legs.

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7. Select the Right Decor, Lighting, and Fabrics

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

Antique decorative interior design. Not only do the main objects (chairs, cabinets, tables) look like works of art, but they are also complemented by real works: paintings, posters, mirrors. Therefore, it is better to choose an abstract style of painting.

Living rooms in houses are decorated with textiles: in imitation of the 60s period (hippie time), blankets, pillows, boho carpets are good. Not less confidently fit and macrame as a wall decoration or pots for plants.

Pay special attention to the lighting fixture: retro chandeliers, floor lamps, sconces, table lamps look catchy. They are a decoration of the room. Lampshades made of fabric, plastic, glass, chandeliers in a futuristic design are an integral part of the composition.

8. How to Decorate the Interior of the Retro Rooms?

Retro Style Interior Design Ideas

The living room is dominated by upholstered furniture: a sofa, original armchairs, poufs. In the recreation area, you need a coffee table, under the TV (even if it hangs on the wall), a curbstone is required.

A retro kitchen can be bright – choose a colored set, complement the original chairs in the dining area, and a stylish suspension.

A bed primarily distinguishes a retro bedroom from a modern one: light raised on legs. On the sides, there are the same visually light bedside tables or tables. Above the sleeping place – space for creativity, hang one or more paintings.

In a retro hallway, you can give free rein to imagination and place original objects instead of a wardrobe, such as a table created from the underframe of a sewing machine.

The bathroom can be discreet, tiled with white square tiles, or colorful: with colored patterns and an original mirror.

And one more advantage of the retro style: since it is a kind of reconstruction of antiquity and does not meet modern trends, it will never go out of style. This means that it is suitable as a long-term interior solution.

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