Retro styles are very popular these days and with good reason because they are a great way to get clear about the style of room you want and they add a fun element to your room too.
But retro is not a single style as each era had a completely different style of everything from curtains and valances to kitchen tables and stoves.
You need to pick your style before you start so that your room hangs together well. It is no good putting a wonderful sixties refrigerator together with an art deco style kitchen chair and a seventies toaster.
You may be able to make it work if you a genius at home decoration but it is unlikely. It is best to choose your era and stick to it.
You will usually find that a couple of key pieces are enough to set the tone of your room and you don’t need everything to be retro unless you want your room to look like a piece of history frozen in time.
Styles of the Art Deco Years
Art Deco is really on the edge of what we might classify as retro. (Before that period you could classify original pieces almost as antique rather than retro and with the prices charged for Art Deco I expect this is slipping into the realms of antique too).
However if you are lucky enough to find art deco pieces and be able to afford them you will recognize the style as being one with mirrored surfaces, rounded corners, polished walnut and matte oak furniture.
Chrome and tubular metal was popular too and squares and circles in designs.
The fifties brought a new affluence which was reflected in the style of the day with sugared almond colors and new materials such as melamine and plastic.
Instead of buying furniture and other items to withstand wear, the affluent could see that products would not have to last forever.
Studio couches were popular and furniture with rounded feet. And abstract designs were based on nature or science.
The powder colors of the fifties gave way to bright plastics of the sixties. Geometric flower prints were popular in everything from curtains to bedding but shapes were simple and anything too frilly or fancy was out.
Not for this era the swag and tail valances that would become popular in later years. The new informal way of living brought a mass of floor cushions to our living rooms and bedrooms and open shelving for storage.
In the seventies we became a little more subdued and started using more natural materials such as cork and wicker but there were still lots of fun pieces around such as you see in the shag pile carpet (now making a comeback).