How to Become a Master of Retro Decor

One of the best things about owning your own home is having the freedom to decorate in any way you choose. You don’t have to worry about breaking a lease agreement and getting in trouble with the landlord. That’s good, especially if you are into retro décor. The retro look is not for everyone, especially landlords who hope to re-let the same unit time and again.


Apartments and home ownership aside, let us talk about mastering retro décor. Let’s talk about how you can win the retro décor game by creating an ideal space you will love and your guests won’t stop talking about. Below are some basic principles of retro décor, compliments of Jami Ray Vintage in Lehi, Utah.

You Define Retro for Yourself


It wasn’t too long ago that interior designers limited retro décor to 1930s and 40s Art Deco and early 1950s pop culture. Such narrow definitions have now gone by the wayside. You get to define retro for yourself. Maybe you prefer ’60s flower power. Maybe you think the 1970s were the bee’s knees.


On the other hand, you might agree with Jami Ray and her passion for farmhouse vintage. You want everything in your home to look like it came from an old farmhouse originally built more than a hundred years ago. That’s fine. The main key to mastering retro décor is to decide what retro means to you.

Start with Furniture


Whether we like it or not, furniture grabs most of the attention in any room. It takes up the most space and creates the most visual interference. Therefore, decorating any room in a retro style demands starting with the furniture. Find pieces that speak directly to the era you most fancy. If you like more than one era, that’s fine. Just make sure you find pieces that play well together visually.

Match the Colors


Next, the colors in the room should not only be chosen for their retro appeal, but also how well they complement your furniture choices. Colors like avocado green and mustard yellow are fantastic choices for late 1960s and early 70s oversized furniture with faux leather upholstery. And by the way, don’t be afraid to try different colors with the furniture pieces themselves.

Choose the Flooring


Flooring choices might be the most difficult thing about designing with retro décor in mind. Let’s say you’re going for that 70s look. Thick, shag carpeting was big back then, but you might not be able to find it today. Nobody makes shag anymore.


If you are going for something from the 1950s or earlier, hardwood floors work just fine. A few throw rugs here and there and you’re all set. Avoid modern laminates, though. They look terribly fake underneath retro furniture.

Everything Else


Your furniture, colors, and floor set the stage for everything else. With that stage set, you have the opportunity to do whatever you want to the rest of the room. Find the perfect lighting pieces that accurately reflect the retro era you’re going for. Invest in accent tables, artwork, and all the knickknacks necessary to complete the picture.


You’ll know you have truly mastered retro décor when you can step back and see that everything in a finished room is complementary. You don’t want any specific piece or element to stick out above anything else. You should also be able to step back in time and imagine that room existing way back then.


Remember, the key to mastering retro décor is understanding that you get to choose what retro means. Then you build around your definition. It is really that simple.

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