Retro is the new black. Again!
Structural, experimental, and free standing; this post-depression design, flexible in size with multifarious functionality is fitting to the lifestyle and crammed spaces of post millennia living. Created by revolutionary mid century designers with a focus on sleek geometry, the ‘less is more’ philosophy has resulted in iconic pieces such as legged coffee tables, statement light fixtures, and eccentrically set chairs. Glazed in earthy tones of brown, accentuated with accessories hued in amber, orange and olive-green tones, the Retro look is easy to attain with just a few changes to already existing furniture. The retro color palate, unlike any seen before or after, is experiencing a revival; brought on by the onslaught of Instagram users trending unsaturated filters on social media. The retro look is an amalgamation of texture and bold inventiveness, inspired by outlines found in nature. Creativity pairs organic wood and natural fibers to make pieces that reflect the past and the future. You can transform your living space to exude retro appeal by applying simple remodeling and refurbishing tricks at home.
Apply a New Stain
Ideally the material of wood used to build the furniture must be walnut, cherry, oak, or rosewood for an authentic retro feel. However, a wash of stain on wood can bring about similar results and make the furniture seem retro. Update the finish on your chosen piece by opting for natural stains in earthy tones such as Cherry, Walnut or Mahogany. Plain maple with orange hues is characteristic of the era while the brightness of the color opens up small spaces. Additionally, if you’re going for a more serene tone, walnut colored and fruitwood stains add an old world charm on rustic wood. Pair lighter browns featuring reflecting gold undertones with structural pieces while reserving darker finishes reflecting pumpkin undertones for geometric statement pieces. This will balance the aesthetics in the room.
Change Design Elements
When it comes to mid-century appeal, less is more. Originally, pieces constructed in that era followed the rule of clean geometric lines while surfaces may be laminated with particle wood. Tables, characteristic of the 1950’s era, exhibit sleek legs and eccentric arms. Most designs from the 1970's are bulky with low seating. Media stands and TV console tables are a throwback to the CRT television age and iconic of the era. For a quick and simple retro look, add wooden or metal legs to legless console tables, dressers, and even storage cabinets. Use these as coffee tables or media cabinets for living rooms. Adding a layer of laminate to the surface is a quick way to update your furniture and give it a retro look. Play around with wood laminates in neutral colors, or opt for the classic white; however, make sure the laminate showcases a Teak, Rosewood or Cherry wood pattern reflective of the time period.
Add elements of the past in your bed covers, curtains, and cushion accessories. Unsaturated green and orange tones like Carrot, Dijon, Olive, Honey, and Amber bring maturity to the living space while sporadic bursts of floral designs add charm. Upholster chair cushions with floral prints, or textured cloth and couches with somber brown leather. Distinctive of that era, you can also do away with bulky couches and set lounge chaise, designed with a thin wooden frame, with leather seats. Add natural materials like wool and cotton to contrast wooden accent, by placing rugs, cushions or even crocheted sofa throws.
The retro look and feel are all about the boldness of character and charm, thus focus on each piece of furniture collectively, and holistically. Add in a few ottomans with charmingly bright velvet upholstery to add dimension.
When talking about the 50's and 60's, what instantaneously comes to mind is the checkered tile patterns, mint green finishes, and cherry red velveteen chairs with sturdy metal legs. While the pre-industrialized era placed a great emphasis in the neutrality of hues, complemented with whites and blacks, the retro trend amasses designs from the last 50 years of the century, only to filter out the redundant and produce modern retro. In lieu of this shift, layered spaces adorned with textures and colors are expected to pop up. When choosing the color scheme of your room, it is important to think of other colors that could stand in contrast or complement your base tone. Shades of brown work best with cream, and hues of oranges; however, if you’re opting for a brighter look, you can always look into mint-green linoleum with a black base. For smaller spaces, pastel tones work best in adding a spacious perspective. You can choose from an array of color blends, but our favorite remain the dusty rose, with a laminate white finish, and the pale orange statement cabinets, with dark brown furnishings set against a textured creamy background.
To add in that final touch, opt for a contrasting shade for your curtains or blinds, or simply add a splash of green by setting up a few potted plants. The checkered patterns should also be incorporated as gingham has once again risen to the forefront, thanks to trendy hipsters. The checkered pattern, typically white with one other color, can be used anywhere, even walls. As the design makes a comeback, its general usage has been seen in the cushion and sofa covers, curtains, runners and table covers.
Once the bigger pieces of the room have been chosen and set up, it’s time to accessorize. This is where you can really be creative. Antique wall-mounted light fixtures and small chandeliers give off warm hues of light that complete your retro revamp. You can also look into simple pendant lights add subtle retro hints to space without overpowering its tone.
You can add gilded mirrors and ornate brass finishes completing the overall look. Most importantly, remember that once completed your room must seem cohesive. Adding too many colors or shapes and patterns will complicate the look and make your interior seem like the result of a squabble between trendsetters throughout the century.