While trends in décor have frequently changed over the decades, there has always been an element of going back to ‘the good old days’. Where we mix classic styles of the past with contemporary styles of the present to add charm and character to our homes.
This style is called retro. Really, retro can be used to describe any style from the past. But it’s most commonly used to talk about the 50s, 60s and 70s.
The new retro is an eclectic mix of old styles and new forms. So, to incorporate the style now, you don’t have to go all-in. A pinch of retro flavour added to contemporary styling gives a modern twist on the retro look.
Here are five ways you can add retro-inspired style to your home.
1. Embrace retro style wall and floor tiles
When it comes to retro tiles you’ll be spoilt for choice. Just Google ‘retro tiles’ and you’ll see what we mean!
If you love a tidy uniform look, go for tiles with geometric shapes and patterns. Stick to one pattern and simple colours.
A monotone theme of black and white, or grey and white is always popular.
However, if you like to be more daring and less rigid, mix up an assortment of tiles in different colours or patterns instead.
Photo Credit: Amberth
This laundry and entertainment room we designed in Parkholme Road, Headley has classic chequered black and white floor tiles laid diagonally. The floor perfectly complements the vibrant yellow cabinets and red football table to give the whole space a 50s diner look.
We’ve gone all out on the retro style in this kitchen, but if you’re worried about overdoing it, keep the retro elements to a minimum. So, use retro tiles on either the wall or floor, but not both. Or stick to tiling a small area rather than tiling a whole wall.
2. Incorporate retro style appliances in your kitchen
When it comes to appliances, the retro style is all about gentle curves and chrome finishes. Retro appliances give your kitchen a touch of personality. Plus, you’ll have all the advantages of modern technology.
Most people are familiar with retro style fridge freezers, but there are plenty of other appliances available. Such as dishwashers, washing machines, food mixers and coffee machines.
SMEG is probably the best-known manufacturer of retro style appliances – particularly their ‘American-style’ fridge freezers. But there are several other brands available. Swan, Montpellier and Stoves to name a few.
Photo Credit: Amberth
This kitchen we designed in Buckingham Road, London is a great example of how retro appliances can fit beautifully into a contemporary kitchen. The fridge really stands out, even in cream, and the pastel blue food mixer adds a subtle touch of colour.
If you really want to make a statement with your appliances, there are plenty of other colour choices available. Go for vibrant colours such as blues, reds and even lime green. Or, for colours that are a little less bold try a pastel shade.
3. Add pops of retro colour to your home
Remember the pastel colours of the 50s? The vibrant colours of the 60s? And everything being brown and patterned in the 70s?
Well, you don’t have to flood your home in the colours from those decades. But you can add splashes of them into your otherwise modern décor to create a retro-inspired look.
And there are so many easy ways to do it. You could incorporate a piece of furniture, some cushions, curtains, rugs and lamps for example.
For an early 1950s look, use pastel colours such as soft pink, baby blue and mint green. Or add bright red for the more dramatic look of the late 50s.
If you want a 1960s look, avocado green is a must. Combine it with copper, orange and mustard yellow.
And if it’s the 1970s you love, think autumn colours such as orange, brown and harvest gold. And don’t forget the patterns!
4. Hang retro prints
Adding a retro print to your décor is a simple way to introduce the retro style into your home. And there are so many different designs to choose from.
One of the most known and popular types of retro print is pop art. Made famous by artist, Andy Warhol, this style began in the late 1950s. It’s inspired by popular consumerist culture, including comic books, Hollywood films and even advertising.
And it’s easily recognisable by its use of images and icons from popular media, its bright colours and use of humour.
Photo Credit: Victoria Plum
This bathroom design by Victoria Plum features a print of pop icon, David Bowie. It’s designed with 70s autumn colours of rustic brown, burnt orange and mustard yellow. It matches the mustard yellow wall tiles perfectly to bring a retro twist to an otherwise modern bathroom.
5. Add quirky retro accessories
Adding a few retro accessories is probably the easiest way to add retro-inspired style to your home.
If you’re lucky you may be given some original hand-me-downs from relatives. If not, look for second-hand items in flea markets or buy brand-new reproductions.
Adding the odd retro accessory here and there against modern décor means they’ll stand out and add a touch of flair. And there are so many items you could choose from.
How about a retro-style record player – we love the ones that come in funky coloured suitcases. Or try adding pastel coloured cushions reminiscent of the 50s. Brightly coloured, oversized beanbags and lava lamps from the 60s. And then there’s the popular 70s style coffee pots or tea sets in funky retro colours and designs.
And don’t forget plants. Huge Monstera (known as the swiss cheese plant), hanging spider plants, and the shiny leaf rubber plant (Ficus Elastica) were all the rage in the 70s. Pop them in a brightly coloured or patterned pot to complete the retro look.
If you love the retro look and need help incorporating it into your home, contact Amberth and talk to a member of our team.