Retro Rules

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Nifty decor ideas for a blast from the past

Bold colours, intricate patterns and designs that are more over the top than understated — that’s what immediately comes to mind when you think of retro. However, going retro does not mean you have to go overboard with garish colours and loud patterns. A simple retro look can be just as chic.

Difference between vintage and retro

Even decor aficionados debate about what constitutes retro and what falls under vintage. The general consensus however, is that any furniture piece that is more than 20 to 30 years old should be considered vintage. A vintage item will always be retro, but a retro item is never vintage. A perfect example is that a reproduction of a vintage chair is considered retro.

Retro tips

If you are clueless about how to recreate a retro look, consider these tips:

First and foremost, decide if you would like to stick to a particular era. Do you desire a throwback to the kitschy 50’s, the mod look of the 60s or admire the 70s bohemian style? You might even want to go back as far as the early 20s or fast forward to the 80s. There is no need to confine yourself strictly to one particular era for your retro home decor.

Have a theme in mind. Will you be focusing on colour or a specific object; say butterflies for example? How flamboyant would you like your design to be? Are geometric prints and spunky hues such as orange, red and fuchsia your thing; or do you prefer something subtler?

How extensive do you want the retro look to be? Will you be featuring a retro theme throughout your home? Do you want it only in a specific room? Or perhaps you may want to have that retro touch in specific areas of multiple rooms? The last option entails creating retro-style focal points.

To create retro-style focal points, the trick is to create a subtle addition of retro for your interior while keeping the theme strictly modern or contemporary. Play around and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Timeless and simple

If you commit to an exclusively retro design, opt for something timeless. Trendy items become passé very quickly. So unless you are willing to undergo a major refurbishment, give those trendy objects a miss.

A grandfather clock, patterned rugs, curtains, a coffee table, wallpaper or wall art are wonderful ways to create a sense of nostalgia. And who doesn’t love those cool looking lava lamps? A space age classic, the bubble chair will add a perky accent mark to your room. Bring back the glamour of the past with arc lamps and hanging ball chairs. Choose metal, rubber or plastic for a more authentic retro feel. Pair them with big foot stools and scatter cushions to jazz up the look even more.

The rule that less is more applies – even when it comes to retro. Don’t go overboard with too many strong colours. Painting just an accent wall in a bold colour instead of the entire room, allows you to decorate with furniture and art pieces in multi-coloured prints. The colours won’t clash but your living area will still be eye-catching.

Sometimes you don’t even need to make purchases to achieve that retro design. Use this opportunity to flaunt your trinkets from your travels. And don’t toss away that old television set from the 50s. It may no longer be functional but still offers aesthetic value.

Retro doesn’t have to be about everything from the past. For something truly unique, mix the old with new. Use sleek modern shelving units to hold retro items.

Photos and prints

Retro doesn’t always have to be just about colours either. Photos never go out of style so why not hang a collage of your precious family photos in black and white? If you have lost those photos, print contemporary pictures in black and white to create an older feel. It’s sentimental yet oh so stylish.

A nice way to add a sense of continuity is to stick to a consistent feel. It’s easy to pull this off with your choice of materials – be it prints, metal or wood. Add similar pieces of the same material for a stronger impact. You can even put splashes of it in every room.

Retro touches don’t have to be just for the living room or bedroom. Bring back that old world charm into your kitchen by grouping vintage copper cookware. Copper pieces and honey toned wood evoke that vintage country charm.

Quote -“Don’t go overboard with too many strong colours.”

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