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Creating a Retro Style for Your Home

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 22 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Retro Design Interior Design Home Era

Choosing to design the interior of your home in a retro style can be both eye-catching and interesting. It will give you the chance to really make a statement within your home and perhaps to make the most in the modern day of an era from the past that you really admire and enjoy. But where do you start when considering going down this route in home decoration?

Choose Your Era

It is best to be specific about the period in time you wish to echo or emulate – otherwise you could end with a messy mish-mash of styles and bits and pieces. However, you can be broad in your selection. For example, you could restrict yourself to the 1960s and 1970s – or to the 1940s and 1950s. There will, of course, be some over-lap when one decade begins and another ends.

Do your research and choose an era where the colours, styles, fabrics and patterns interest and appeal to you. Watch films from or set in the era, read books and carry out research on the internet. Make sure you have a good feel for the time before you get started.

Decorate Your Walls

Cover your walls in the style best suited to the era. Find out whether paint or wall paper was used at the time and look carefully at the colours that might have been used on the walls. If you wish to use a wall paper then there are plenty of reproduction prints out there. Or perhaps you could source a paper that has a print that is retro in style i.e. it is in a design that might well have been used back in those days.

If you decide to paint your walls then you will be spoilt for choice. Whether you want a vibrant, psychedelic 60s yellow or a Georgian duck egg blue, you will find plenty to choose from. Many manufacturers have their own heritage ranges, where they offer you a selection of paints from the past. Otherwise, it’s easy enough these days to go into a large DIY store to ask them to mix a colour to your specific requirements. Some will be able to scan in a magazine page – or even an object – to help you achieve just the right shade.

Think About Your Flooring

Although you can think about flooring from the era you are focusing on, this is perhaps one area where you don’t have to stick so rigidly to your retro time frame. By all means select handsome Victorian-style tiling or a fluffy 70s-style rug – but equally you could probably get away with something very plain and modern that would serve as a backdrop to the colours, objects and textures used elsewhere. A plain hardwood floor or a wall-to-wall cream carpet, for example, will probably just disappear against all your other more interesting decorative choices.

Furniture and Finds

This is the fun bit! Get out there and find all the pieces of furniture and accessories you need in your retro style. There are all sorts of places to look for these. For the genuine items try antique shops, auctions and vintage stores. For reproduction items, the world is pretty much your oyster. All manner of manufacturers create retro ranges from time to time. It is simply a case of doing a little internet surfing and traipsing the high streets. If you are looking for 1950s style items, for example, there are all sorts of great retro kitchen gadgets and appliances. Not only will you find them in just the right shapes and designs but the colours will be spot on too.

Just a Little Retro

Do remember you don’t have to go the whole hog in creating a retro style for your home. As long as everything else in the room is fairly simple in design and is not over-stated, you can bring in a taste of an area through one of two carefully chosen and well placed objects. Take your retro theme as far as you want to – it is your home and you need to go for an interior design that you can both afford and live with.

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