Step back in time
Design trends tend to look back to the past for inspiration. Fashion definitely does, with the 1990s now back in fashion. This probably makes anyone over the age of 35 feel very old indeed and few of us would feel ready to recreate interior design from this time, as your attempt at retro may well just look ‘dated’.
Look back a few more decades, however, and you will probably find ideas that you feel more comfortable with. Mid-century furniture continues to be very fashionable. Original pieces by designers such as Le Corbusier and Eames sell for thousands of pounds, although you can pick up great-quality reproductions for a fraction of the price.
If the 1950s have proved to be a rich source of inspiration, it makes sense that designers will start to look to other decades. With the 1960s and 1970s once more inspiring fashion, inevitably they are doing the same in the world of interior design. With much of the housing stock in the UK built in this period, there is definitely more interest in creating interiors to match.
Choosing a vintage theme does not mean faithfully recreating an era in the same way as a time capsule or film set. The beauty of retro is that we can be very selective about what we use and what we do not bring back. Swirly-patterned carpets and ankle-deep shag pile will hopefully not make a comeback, for example, especially when teamed with patterned wallpaper and patterned curtains! You get the picture. We have chosen a few areas that might inspire you to take a step back in time, tastefully of course.
One area that has a lot to offer is textiles and fabrics, with vast floral prints big news in the late 60s and 70s. Laura Ashley made her name during this period with her designs and many homes across the UK featured her textiles. Arts and crafts pioneers William Morris and Liberty were having a revival at this time, and they are again. You may feel bold enough to go the whole hog and chose a big bold wallpaper; however, if this is a bit much, stick to a feature wall, curtains or cushions.
Space age minimalism
The 20th century was a period fascinated by all things space and futuristic. From the 1950s onwards, science fiction became huge. Space travel was becoming a reality and there were science fiction-inspired films, books and TV shows. The very stylised ‘space’ interiors may not be terrible practical or appealing at first glance; however, we are simply talking about glossy white and glass surfaces and a minimalist, pared back look. That sounds more familiar! White and glass furniture is available from most retailers these days, and bright white kitchens are very fashionable. To this blank canvas you can add whatever you like and suddenly those bright 60s and 70s fabrics will look stylish and not at all over-whelming, we promise.
Boho - short for bohemian - has come to mean a flamboyant style that owes a lot to the 60s and 70s; however, it is more restrained and glamourous, and definitely not all tie dye and macramé plant holders! With scrubbed pine, rugs and a mix of patterns, it was a homely, homemade and comfortable look that borrowed from cultures around the world as the ‘hippy trail’ took people to north Africa, India and Asia, and it does not look out of place today. Again, you are not aiming for a faithful reproduction of the era unless you are going the whole hog. The look these days is more sumptuous, such as velvets and beautiful bright jewel colours, ethnic prints, and brass lamps and lanterns.
If you have been inspired to bring a little 1960s or 1970s into your home, the internet is an amazing source for ideas and inspiration. Of particular interest are blogs, many of which specialise in vintage and retro design.
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