When it comes to home decor, there is no right or wrong style. It’s all a matter of your unique personality and taste. But, revamping your home to keep up with the changes is risky, as what’s trendy today could quickly become passé.
One interior design scheme that never seems to go out of style is the vintage look. Since “vintage” applies to any past decade or era, you have a lot to choose from with this route.
Also referred to as “retro,” trends and styles that went out the door with your parents or grandparents are now cool. Most of these looks have slight revisions that make them a little more stylized. You can choose to blend modern and vintage or go for the truly authentic version in your home.
With these five vintage interior design ideas, you’ll bring back the wonder of your favorite era every time you enter your home.
1. Pick A Theme & Stay With It
It’s easy to go overboard when you fall in love with every old item you run into. Every era had something going for it, whether it was the color palettes that set them apart or the furniture style.
Be careful not to slide from the “collector” category into the “hoarder” category.
Pick your favorite era or decade, limit yourself to a few themes within that time period, and only bring home what fits in that category.
Use these examples to guide you as you search for collectible memorabilia:
- Bring back the roaring ‘20s with black-and-white film prints, art deco, and Egyptian decor.
- Decor from the ‘30s recalls Gone With the Wind and is full of floral prints, Betty Boop, and Superman decor.
- For the ‘40s, go Hawaiian, find patriotic decor from World War II, or take inspiration from black-and-white dramas like Casablanca and Citizen Kane.
- The ‘50s is the perfect time to add rock ‘n roll, bubblegum pinks, baby blues, and, of course, Elvis.
- Take the ‘50s up a notch with ‘60s styles like flower power, beach parties, the Beatles, and Barbie.
- The iconic ‘70s lets you decorate with disco fever, lots of flower and geometric prints, bean bags, and Star Wars.
- In the ‘80s, the choices seemed to be magnified, from Care Bears to MTV, VCRs, and enormous boomboxes.
- Closer to our own childhood homes but still vintage, ‘90s decor includes everything from Beanie Babies to Game Boys.
Pick an era that appeals to you and limit your focus to the trending styles of that time.
2. Shop For Antiques
With vintage furniture, one man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure. If you’re looking for retro styles, you are already okay with pre-owned decor. That makes a used goods store right up your alley!
Secondhand shops are full of used furniture and decor. Sift through your local thrift store or consignment boutique for antiques from your preferred era.
Remember to limit your search to things that were specific to the time period you’re attempting to replicate. For instance, they had phones during every decade in the past century, but which phones were all the rage in the era you’re aiming for?
3. Upgrade Your Fixtures With Retro Looks
Renovations are a fun way to go vintage because you can bring in furniture and fixtures that look antique but are modernized. These newer pieces might not be fully authentic, yet their upgrades focus on comfort and eco-friendliness.
Living in the past may sound romantic, but did you really want to be surrounded by lead-laden paint? Or use an outhouse instead of indoor plumbing?
Sometimes going for the modernized version of vintage is common sense. When it’s time for upgrades in your home, you can add retro looks with contemporary conveniences like:
With all the innovations in home decor, you can keep today’s technology and still get the look of yesterday.
4. Switch To Vintage Colors & Patterns
Most historical eras are identifiable by their colors and patterns.
You have your era; now get familiar with the color themes that were popular during that period. As a jumping-off point, use these shades to guide you:
- 1920s: Gold, silver, red, and black (think classic black and white)
- 1930s: Jade, red, yellow, powder blue (think technicolor)
- 1940s: Yellow, red, blue, brown (think patriotism)
- 1950s: Bubblegum pink, pastels, bright red (think cotton candy and soda shops)
- 1960s: Browns, oranges, rich earth tones (think Andy Warhol and modern art)
- 1970s: Bright primary colors, neons, eclectic shades (think disco, Barbie, color TV)
- 1980s: Bright, fun colors in any shade (think video games and MTV)
- 1990s: Silver, royal blue, emeralds (think jeweled hues)
When you’re in love with an era, the colors you surround yourself with should make you feel like you’re in a time machine that took you there.
5. Choose A Focal Piece
Replacing everything in your home with its vintage counterpart gets expensive. As you’re getting started, you might want to stick to one focal piece per area.
A focal piece is the main thing the eye goes to as soon as someone enters the area. Make your focal piece an impressive vintage furnishing like a beautiful artwork that depicts the area, or a tapestry on the floor or wall.
With a single centerpiece in the room, your guests will see the theme you’re trying to achieve. Over time, you can build the rest of your theme around your focal point.
There are some things that should remain in the past, like big shoulder pads. But when it comes to home decor, vintage done right is always in style.
Chris DeAngelis is the founder and principal of TriArch Real Estate Group, a multi-strategy real estate investment and property management firm. In this role, Chris oversees the company’s acquisition, management, design, and development activities. He spends much of his time working with Monarch Heights to help them with their marketing efforts.