Skip to main content

7 retro decorating ideas we love

Old-school fashion, styles, patterns, and music can be the inspiration for retro design. Decorating with this style in mind is all about thinking historically. You can have a lot of fun with the quirky patterns, bright colors, and interesting textures of the past. Whether you want to transform your home with a retro makeover or just add some little retro touches, check out some of these fun decorating ideas to add some retro flare to any room. 

Add retro decorations to any space

One of the great things about retro design is how versatile it is. There is no set way on how to achieve a retro look; you can include your favorite colors, patterns, and textures to put your own spin on it for your home. Some fun ways to decorate in retro style include:

Related Videos
  • Checkered flooring. The classic black-and-white floor tiles are a retro staple. It can be a great way to put a retro spin on your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room floors. Although you can have real black and white tiles installed for hefty prices, a more simple and affordable option includes peel-and-stick tiles, which can be purchased for as little as $0.20 per square foot. To use, simply peel off the backing and press them onto the existing floor.
  • Record player. A record player is not only a fun, retro decoration; it is also a functional piece of art. Vintage record players can be found on a variety of online stores. You can pick out your favorite color and find your favorite records to enjoy.
  • Retro wallpaper. Wallpaper has historically been a very common decorating tool, making it perfect for vintage design. There are a lot of great vintage-inspired wallpaper designs to choose from. Like with flooring, peel-and-stick wallpaper is an option for folks unable to spend hours papering an entire wall. This wallpaper has an adhesive backing, allowing you to simply peel off the paper and press it onto any flat surface. Peel-and-stick wallpaper can easily be removed and readjusted without leaving any residue behind.
  • Old-school furniture. Decorating with furniture can be one of the most impactful ways to execute a specific style. There are a lot of great furniture options with vintage inspiration to choose from. Typically vintage furniture has features like wood panels, green tones, quirky lamps, metal handles, metallic shimmer, offset wooden legs, and pops of vibrant red colors. As with any style, you can always look for inspiration online and on social media.
  • Retro paintings. Retro paintings are all about color, color, and more color. They are vibrant, lively, and quirky pieces of art that can put anyone in a good mood.
  • Retro color palettes. Choosing the right colors for your walls, furniture, fixtures, and more can help you achieve the perfect retro design. Check out classic retro color palettes online for the perfect color scheme.
  • Vintage toys. Adding some fun, small decorations like vintage toys – robots, toy planes and trains, or dolls – to shelves, tables, and more can be an easy way to add some retro touches.

What exactly is retro style?

Retro style is about bringing old design to current times. It mixes and matches styles from decades of American design and fashion to create something truly unique. While there is no set rhyme or reason to achieving a retro design, there are a few staple features of this style that will get you started:

  • Pick a specific decade to be inspired by
  • Utilize classic shapes, logos, and colors
  • Employ weathered and old-looking items in your designs
  • Incorporate retro fonts
  • Pick some of the classic textures and finishes in retro design: golden, metallic, polished, and mirrored

Regardless of how you utilize retro style in your home, it can be a great way to bring some liveliness to any space. Retro decorating is all about celebrating the past and bringing some old-school style to your home. You can choose to redecorate a whole room or just add some small retro pieces for little pops of personality. No matter how you execute vintage and retro decorating, it just may be the perfect way to express your own style in your home.

Can’t tell the difference between retro and vintage furniture? Read on further to learn all about it!

Editors' Recommendations

Kids’ bedding that doesn’t scream ‘theme’ – Your children may just love these ideas
These kids' bedding options will make their room a dream
Pink kid's bedroom

When kids reach a certain age, many seem to land on a favorite movie, cartoon, or team. When that happens, their bedrooms can turn into a reenactment of sorts, with toys, dolls, posters, blankets, and even bedding flanked in their chosen obsession. While it's adorable, and we love to inspire play and imagination, sometimes it can feel like a little too much of a good thing. If you're looking to keep your kid's room theme-free (or as close as possible), here are some kids' bedding ideas that will inspire you to get started.
Try dark colors

Yes, kids can get a bit messy, so if you can avoid a pristine white duvet, why not save yourself the cleaning headache? We love this Crate and Barrel dark blue organic reversible cotton blanket. It's soft and warm and washes up like a dream. The color also goes with just about anything, so you could opt for pink or green sheets and then cover it with ivory or light gray pillows to keep it a bit brighter.

Read more
5 tips for renovating your space from an HGTV star
Here's what the experts say you need to consider when starting a DIY home remodel
Happy couple looks at bedroom renovation plans

Recently, homeowners flocked to the annual Indianapolis Home Show featuring designers, brands, contractors, and more. During its final weekend, HGTV’s Good Bones star Mina Starsiak spoke to locals about her TV show, upcoming projects, and tips for renovating a property. For homeowners looking to take on a fixer-upper or DIY home remodel, Starsiak has a few pro tips.

Itemize your renovation with your contractor
One of the most important tips Starsiak and her team stressed to homeowners undergoing a renovation is to itemize the project with your contractor. Starsiak emphasized, "When speaking to a contractor, itemize the project and have them list everything with the price." She said that homeowners can avoid miscommunication with their contractors by listing project specifics.

Read more
Survey: These are the biggest kitchen trends
Cabinets, appliances, lighting and more for 2023
Kitchen remodel plans

Most people spend a ton of time in their kitchen. No matter the primary use for your kitchen, it's likely the gathering place for your family as well. For this reason, many homeowners look to the kitchen when it’s time to update their home’s decor. A kitchen update can improve your home’s functionality and style and raise the resale value. If you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel, check out the hottest kitchen trends for 2023 below.

A recent study by Houzz surveyed 2,380 U.S. homeowners to find the significant kitchen trends for 2023. From cabinetry trends to sustainability and electrical updates to lighting, check out the highlights of the Houzz study below. 

Read more