Style is cyclical, and everything old becomes new again through fresh eyes. New generations may embrace what the previous generation rejected. The appeal of retro decor has always been in combining historic nostalgia with a modern context.
If you’ve been bitten by the vintage bug, check out these trends that may inspire your home’s décor!
Bright geometric patterns
Remember the wavy diamond wallpaper of the 60s? How about the ubiquitous boomerang-patterned plastic laminate countertops of the same period? Today’s designers are making new use of bold retro patterns by applying them to smaller, softer objects like pillows, throws, and framed art. These high impact patterns work well in small doses, where they cannot overwhelm the eye. Use them in complementary colors to liven up a plain living space without making it too loud.
Each decade has its own color scheme. Of course, sometimes black and white photos make it difficult to remember what they were…but like all trends, color palettes re-emerge with new life following each new generation. Today, the bright pastels that adorned every surface in the 1950s from kitchens to Cadillacs are back in a big way. Sea foam green, sky blue, coral pink, and pale yellow are trending again, especially on home exteriors and kitchen appliances.
Pair colors with neutrals, stainless steel, or brushed aluminum, instead of the 50s chocolate browns and pea soup greens. In retro trends, not every color can make the cut.
Retro-futuristic light fixtures
Retro-futurism is a design trend that borrows from past visions of the future. Confused yet? Well, imagine the Jetsons and you are getting close. We may not be getting around in flying cars yet, but the design aesthetic of retro-futurism has taken hold in other areas. Trends in light fixtures have certainly embraced the retro-future style, with designs such as the Sputnik chandelier and the tension pole lamp. Both of these styles of lighting fixtures can be purchased new or used. Modern designers and manufacturers make retro lighting with elegant modern upgrades, but there will always be treasure hunters who seek the original models for their price point and nostalgic authenticity.
Every once in a while, a design trend escapes the shackles of its historical context and becomes timeless. A handful of designers in the middle of the Twentieth century created architecture and furniture that has waxed and waned in popularity but has never gone out of style. Designers like Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe formed the apex of sophisticated style, both then and now.
Though the other trends mentioned here can be had at bargain rates, if you want to decorate in mid-century modern style, be prepared to spend. Imitations of classic mid-century designs lack the panache of their authentic predecessors, and while non-antique furniture is rarely considered an investment, mid-century designer pieces are already appreciating in value. If you’re looking for a splurge that will make a statement in your living or dining room, consider a mid-century designer sofa, table, or set of chairs. Just remind your guests not to drool on them!
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