Retro Vintage Decorating Ideas


Express your love of eras past with retro or vintage home decor, or some combination of the two. Display collected items, such as vintage kitchenware or advertising pieces, as a way to show off your favorite finds in every room decked out in vintage decor.

Kitschy or Classic Kitchen

  • Turn your kitchen into a Mid-Century diner complete with checkerboard flooring with new or retro-inspire furnishings. Choose a color scheme, such as red, black and white, using any two of the colors for a checkerboard floor and one or two of the shades for a bench-style booth or bar stools and a breakfast bar countertop. Add a large wall clock encircled in neon, or a kitschy cat clock with moving eyes. If you enjoy kitchens from other eras but don't want the diner vibe, add a dinette set with a Formica-topped kitchen table, decorated with atomic-style boomerangs in pink and gray, or your chosen kitchen color scheme. Display old kitchen canisters and small appliances that match the era or the kitchen's color scheme, such as harvest gold or avocado green from the 1970s. Remove cupboard doors from a cupboard or two to display cups or glasses from your chosen decorating era, such as collectible drinking glasses with screen-printed cartoon characters or stacks of jadeite coffee cups.

Luscious Living Room

  • String ball lamps pair with starburst clocks and wall art as additions to vintage furniture displayed in the living room. For an all-out mod look, choose bright colors such as orange and red, adding an area rug in those tones, as well as the furniture. Op art decorates the walls, while a rattan chair provides a place to read a book in the corner. For a room more inspired by the Atomic Age, pair a boomerang-shaped coffee table and bark-cloth curtains with green or blue upholstered furniture. Decorate matching end tables with a pair of matching plaster genie lamps. Add a leaf-shaped ceramic ashtray to the coffee table just for looks.

Bedroom Flashbacks

  • A bedroom offers a private space to play around with decor from your favorite era. Blacklight posters -- velvety posters printed in fluorescent inks -- glow when lit from a nearby blacklight, showing off unicorns, wizards, pop stars and optical illusions. For an '80s-inspired room, create a silhouette or mural featuring favorite video game characters from 8-bit gaming systems or coin-operated games from the early part of the decade. To bring the bedroom back farther in time, add an original princess phone in turquoise or pink, a chenille bedspread and a poodle statue or stuffed animal. A vintage vanity sits in a corner, holding a mix of modern and vintage perfume and toiletries bottles.

Beautiful Bathroom

  • For a classic look that suits a span of decades, decorate the room with subway tiles or ceramic tile in white for most of the wall, with black for accent trim. For an over-the-top 1940s or 1950s bathroom makeover, go for a seafoam green or light blue tile color, and purchase a tub, sink and toilet from the era -- and in the same color -- to match. Bring things up a decade or two by adding a floral foil wallpaper above the tile line. Add era-specific artwork, or frame vintage advertising that suits your favorite decade, such as a full-page ad for bubble bath, bar soap or a brand of shampoo that no longer exists.

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