10 Ways to Add a Dash of Retro Design to Your Home

asbe/iStock; realtor.com

Love the idea of some retro design in your home, but don’t want to fully commit? We understand where you’re coming from. Going all in with an avocado- or orange-splashed “Brady Bunch” look can just be a bit toogroovy to live with in your home.

But the good news is you can try a touch of some of the more interesting looks from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s or some other bygone decade without going overboard. Instead, you can add a bit of retro decor with a few key pieces, colors, and accessories.

And if your overall decor style seems to be the opposite of retro, don’t despair. Many of today’s home decor styles can dovetail nicely with vintage looks, including modern farmhouse, Palm Beach, Scandinavian, and boho.

One word of warning: To keep your various decades and designs from clashing too much, stick with a neutral background for some of the bolder colors and rich wood tones found in these past periods, notes Dessie Sliekers, an interior designer with Slick Designs.

To get you started, here are some ideas to make your home a little bit retro, but not too retro.

1. 1950s mint-green fridge

A mini retro fridge is ideal in a man cave.The Home Depot

Fun curves and a vintage hue aren’t the only things this refrigerator line offers. These throwback appliances from Magic Chef are also Energy Star–rated, which means they’re efficient as well as fab-looking ($249, Home Depot). And just opening it will take you back to the days of after-school cookies and paper routes.

2. 1970s shag carpet

You’ll feel good using this handmade, ethically produced rug.Wayfair

Sure, shag carpets were once all the rage in rec rooms across America, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring it back in small doses. A baby nursery or guest quarters will benefit nicely from this soft piece underfoot ($198, Wayfair).

Prefer a more bare look? “A black-and-white-checkered pattern on the floor is definitely reminiscent of past eras, and it’s one of the best improvement investments you can make in the home,” says Kymberlyn Lacy, principal designer at International Flair Designs.

Try installing these tiles on a 90-degree angle in the kitchen, foyer, or powder room for a trompe-l’oeil effect, which tricks the eye into thinking the space is larger than it actually is.

3. 1950s leather chair

Have a seat in this Don Draper–inspired perch.Crate & Barrel

Clean, straight lines and hairpin or round-tapered legs are key features of chairs from the 1950s, reports Sliekers. This one gets high marks as it’s made from sustainable walnut and comes in many brown shades from mushroom to smoke ($1,299, Crate & Barrel).

4. 1960s minimalist bed

This bed’s finish is water-based and low-VOC.West Elm

Crafted from eucalyptus wood that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, this sleeper sports sleek lines and a light, pleasing wood tone ($720, West Elm).

5. 1950s gossip bench

Psst—did you hear the latest?Wayfair

These days no one really hangs out on a telephone bench to make a call, but the look is so cute and cheeky that bringing it into your foyer or bedroom makes adorable sense.

This gently priced upholstered pick also features a storage drawer for reading glasses, tissues, and a phone charger ($187, Wayfair).

6. 1970s boxy couch

Add colorful geometric print pillows to complete the “Brady Bunch” look.Wayfair

When you’re looking for a retro sofa, focus on simple curves and a low back, recommends Sliekers.

This one fits the bill and comes in several ’70s colors, including orange-red and lime-green ($780, Wayfair).

7. 1960s wavy wallpaper

Feel like you’re tripping? Pour a little more coffee.Etsy

This groovy design can add a much-needed lift to a breakfast nook or half-bath ($180 per roll, Etsy).

Another small retro improvement is fresh hardware on cabinets (think door handles and drawer pulls) for an instant upgrade, suggests Lacy, who recommends the Emtek line for the best looks.

8. 1970s starburst light

A sputnik light fixture is the perfect addition to a retro-inspired dining room.Pottery Barn

Nope—you’re not on the set of “Star Trek.”

A starburst light is a vintage look, but it’s also a bold statement that can define a particular room, such as an entryway or dining area ($599, Pottery Barn). Midcentury designers favored traditional materials, including the brass tones shown here.

9. 1960s peacock chair

Try this gorgeous accent chair in a sunroom.Anthropologie

This curvy wonder is older than the late ’60s and ’70s—it actually dates from Victorian times—but the hippie craze from a few decades ago gave it new life ($898, Anthropologie).

10. 1970s macramé

This string design could be a makeshift headboard or wall art.Amazon

Light and airy, macramé designs were all the rage in the ’70s, but they also feel right at home in an eclectic or boho-themed bedroom ($37, Amazon).

Article by Jennifer Kelly Geddes