The retro revival trend has recently hit the internet, with vintage pieces and retro looks dictating how some style their spaces.
While there is often a rush of Interior design trendsthe retro revival look offers a timeless yet earthy alternative to so-called “quick household goods”. Decorating with vintage is back, and while some people are looking forward to what’s new and next in the world of design, those drawn to the retro revival are looking for a slower pace of life that appreciates original pieces and their nostalgic appeal .
We spoke to designers about the retro revival trend to see how you can incorporate this enduring look into your home
What is the retro revival trend?
The original “retro” style began around the 1960s when post-war designers attempted to create a bright and bold “hope” style. This style therefore had a fun and vibrant appeal that people today want to revitalize in their homes.
For designer Victoria-Maria von Victoria Maria interior design (opens in new tab), Retro interior design looks offer exciting results. “Our vision is both avant-garde and sensitive to the current times,” she explains. “I cultivate the famous ‘Zeitgeist’, as we say in German.” The designer likes to combine patterns, materials and eras, creating bold room color ideas that are a source of endless joy. “The result is always stunning: warm, graphic and with a cheerful touch of surrealism.”
The retro-revival aesthetic features timeless silhouettes that convey a lived-in feel. A sister style too Mid-century modern decorthe retro revival trend plays with traditional looks that are vibrant, impactful and forever exude personality – similar to many styles that play with vintage decorations.
As a bonus, it also prevents waste and allows for redesign. “Nothing is created, everything is transformed,” says the duo Aurélien Raymond and Costanza Rossi von Studio Academy (opens in new tab). “We believe that the current trend, which is growing exponentially at the moment, is that people want versatile interiors, or interiors that tell a story and stimulate a conversation between past and present.
“Eclecticism has become such a big trend because globalization has made travel the status symbol of the human being in our society. It’s all about where you go and how often you travel. By blending past and present and different cultures, one demonstrates one’s ability to navigate our global society.’
However, the duo takes a different approach to this style trend, focusing on the connectedness of design across time. “We don’t really believe in a retro revival trend as such, as each era took inspiration from the other,” they add. “The Beaux-Arts style, for example, drew inspiration from classical (Graeco-Roman) codes, just as Art Deco reinterpreted those same classical codes. Each stylistic epoch is both a synthesis of the evaluated past and a reinterpretation of these codes.’
How to incorporate the new retro revival trend into your home
What separates the retro-revival trend from established styles like mid-century modern is its use of warm, saturated colors, flowing lines, layered textures, and vintage accents as opposed to more traditional muted tones with occasional accents of boldness, minimal embellishment, and clean lines . To achieve the retro look, it is important to integrate it tastefully to avoid a clashing or garish space.
In their Apartment Monaco project, for example Humbert & Poet (opens in new tab) Designers Christophe Poyet and Emil Humbert used retro pieces to capture the Riviera lifestyle while remaining timeless and understatedly luxurious. “The building is straight out of the 70s,” they explain, “with a ceramic mosaic facade, it is the perfect marriage to an interior inspired by the iconic images of Monaco, Palm Beach and Palm Springs.
“The design is of measured sobriety punctuated by touches of bright colour, plant-influenced printed wallpaper and stunning exterior views. The challenge of the project was to combine beautiful 20th-century furniture from galleries across France with contemporary new pieces and bespoke designs.”
It’s good that a project starts with an object, “usually a picture or a piece of furniture that catches the eye,” reveals Victoria-Maria. From this she weaves a story.
The Akademos duo agrees: “While ‘retro’ isn’t necessarily our main focus, we always strive to create soulful interiors that have a story to tell. We don’t think people are still looking for those picture perfect interiors where everything has been carefully placed. Nowadays people need to make their homes look like they are actually inhabited. In most cases, what is labeled “retro” generally plays a role as we like to give our interiors a cross-generational feel. We think people are starting to go back to a more ‘natural’ look.’
Consider earthy greens and yellows alongside terracotta, burnt oranges and reds to blend into the warm scheme. To update the retro palette and add a touch of sophistication, mix in warm neutrals like cream and beige tones.
Abstract forms are also a must in this style, as ‘retro’ designers experimented with unexpected, sculptural furniture in a range of tactile materials. Warmth is also brought to the style through fabrics like crumpled velvet and boucle, both of which convey a sense of casual comfort. Play with textures in space to create an eclectic, personal look and, as Studio Akademos recommends, layer pieces from different eras and design periods for a space that tells a story.
Why is retro trendy?
Retro Revival is trending for its eco-friendly appeal and timeless design. While some people are simply looking for a nostalgic experience, others are looking for pieces that can be reused or that were made to last. The radiant fascination of post-war optimism is returning to homes after a difficult period and, with its lively look, offers the opportunity to brighten up dreary interiors and everyday life.
Additionally, the recent review of Fast Homeware – the cousin of Fast Fashion – has reinvigorated retro design styles as people repurpose vintage items and rebel against the ever-changing and modernizing way we view our homes.