Retro style is, by definition, a thing of the past. It is a throwback, an homage, a shrine to the tacky, the outdated and the wood paneling…unless you do it right. Retro can also be part of the modern interior with a little creativity and a lot of daring. Here are three modern home accents that are really retro in their hearts.
The Bubble Chair by Eero Aarnio is perhaps the most iconic item to come out of the ’60s. Made in 1968, this chair has never really gone out of style. However, because it is from the ’60s, it has that retro space-age feel. Get a clear bubble chair and use it to augment the minimalism in your home, or use it as part of a lounge or in-home bar set up.
Image courtesy of Jeff Andrews Design
Aaah, the bead curtain. While once the domain of hippies and dazed and confused teens of the ’60s, they can now be incorporated into modern design without any strings attached. Take a look at the shimmering white bead curtain in the image above – it is subtle (no rainbow beads here!) and compliments the surrounding brown and white color palate.
Image courtesy of Martha Stewart
When going retro with oriental rugs, consider your art and color palate. Oriental rugs can be too bold, so you can offset them with simple colors and minimal patterns. It is usually best to choose tribal-like rugs over floral as well, as the geometric patterns in tribal rugs compliment minimalism and the modern home.
Image courtesy of HomeDesignFind.com
There is a fine line between playful and silly, and it can be difficult to determine where exactly that line is sometimes. If you want to incorporate playfulness, whimsy and fun into your modern interior without going over the top, we’ve got some tips for you.
- Inject some youthfulness with bright colors. Yellows, pinks, purples and oranges are all fresh and funky colors that can be playful if used as accent walls, throw pillows or lighting fixtures.
- Use patterns in conjunction with bright colors for even more playfulness. Striped sofas and dotted rugs can go a long way in bringing some fun into your home.
- Consider wallpaper. While not the supreme trend lately, patterned, playful wallpaper can bring new life to a room that’s a little on the dull side.
- Go for some contrast. Add surprising flashes of yellow amidst an all-white space, or a shag rug on a smooth wooden floor.
- Think retro. Retro-mod is inherently playful. The bubble chair, bead curtains, and yes, even wood paneling can bring some nostalgia as well as playfulness into your home
- Go on the hunt for cute accent pieces. Check out your local thrift stores and farmers markets for some whimsical accents, like carved wooden birds or wind chimes.
As with anything, keep moderation in mind. When you add playful elements to your home, it’s usually best to start small and increase from there, in order to let things grow organically.
Have you ever had one of those unfortunate days where you abruptly discover that coloring books and scrap paper suddenly weren’t good enough for your children so they moved onto your walls? There is just something about a wall that makes such a better coloring station! Well, did you know that you can paint a chalkboard on a wall? It’s a super easy do-it-yourself project that your kids will love and you will never have to worry about wasted paper (or your walls) again!
Things You Will Need
Grab all of your supplies before you start. You’ll need chalkboard paint, paint roller or brush, painter’s tape, paint pan, sandpaper, drywall spackle and it doesn’t hurt to have a drop cloth handy too!
- Prep – Clean the wall with soap and water. Fill any holes with the spackle and then sand them to a smooth surface.
- Tape – Measure and mark the designated area, whether it’s the whole bottom half of a wall or a smaller section and tape it off, making sure that your lines are level.
- Paint – Most chalkboard paint labels will recommend two coats, allowing sufficient drying time in between. The chalkboard should be permitted to dry completely for 72 hours before using it.
Chalkboards aren’t just for a kids room either! Paint a small one in your kitchen for everyone to leave messages so Post-it notes aren’t scattered everywhere or paint one in your home office to keep track of appointments.
If you are thinking that you’re ready to give your living room a modern look, you may feel like a fish out of water. For many people, this is a huge transition! If you have found yourself a little lost and don’t quite know where to begin you should know that there are many variations to the word modern. So, if you are struggling to fit into a cookie-cutter theme, relax and enjoy your redecorating. Chances are, you’re trying way too hard!
For the less is more look, you have to be ready to completely commit to clutter-free living. You can’t have a minimalist room with unnecessary items laying around. Aim to stick with three colors but you can bring a few extra colors in with artistic pieces. Sofas should be plain with straight lines, patterns really have no home here.
The goal with Feng Shui is to create a perfect balance. You don’t want all straight lines. You need to add in a few rounded items such as bean bag chair, round mirror, sphere or round stainless steel serving tray. Earth, water, fire, metal and wood are the five elements of Feng Shui. Ideally you will incorporate these into the room. Adding a water feature, tabletop fireplace, stone tiles and clay pots will help you achieve the look!
Think texture and aim for pieces that remind you of countries such as Italy or Belgium. Glass, ceramic and metals should be scattered throughout the room and don’t forget vibrant pieces of art and pillows, rugs and curtains in various colors and textures!
Stripes painted on a wall can make quite a dramatic impact on an entire space. They can be subtle with two very close colors or bold with a full palette of vibrant shades and they are ideal for any room in the house. Stripes look outstanding horizontal or vertical, on an entire wall or on the bottom half with a border to break up the area. That being said, as remarkable as they can look, they must be done properly, with a lot of care. There is truly nothing at all appealing about a crooked, uneven or smudged stripe.
- Measure the Wall – Measure the entire wall and then determine how many stripes you want to create as well as how wide they will be. Keep in mind, they do not all have to be the same width but there should be some sort of pattern.
- Mark Lines – Beginning at one corner, mark where the first line will go at both the ceiling and the floor. Continue to do this across the entire wall.
- Tape – Use painter’s tape to run the roll from the ceiling down to the floor on either side of the stripe, making sure it lines up perfectly to the marks you created.
- Paint – The roller you use to paint should be scaled to the size of the stripes you’re creating, generally a small one will work best. You can paint right over the tape so don’t worry about staying in the lines.
- Remove Tape – While the paint is still slightly wet, remove the tape very careful and leave the wall to dry.
Stripes are a nice change for a room that you just can’t decide what to do with. They are also an easy way to bring a little color into a dull space. Vertical lines can help if you have low ceilings to make the room appear taller while horizontal lines can offer the illusion of a larger area.
So, you’ve thought the decor of your home through very carefully and everything is absolutely exquisite but did you overlook your ceiling fan? It’s alright, most people do! Really, what is a ceiling fan besides a spinning object that draws attention to itself while it’s working, right? Well, why not have a fan that will be the center of attention (in a good way) even when it’s not in motion?
Ceiling fans have come a long way, you are no longer forced to have those all white, boring five blades hanging, just to circulate air through your home. Today, they are available in various finishes and even contemporary styles like the Cirque Brushed Nickel fan displayed by Minka Aire. This is certainly not your average fan, it is one that will definitely get noticed!
This futuristic design has pod-shaped blades, an integrated halogen light and a wall-mount, touch control, full function system. There are three speeds and despite its rich and heavy appearance, it weighs only 26 pounds. This is a fan that could find itself at home in any room. Don’t just hang a generic ceiling fan, your room deserves so much more!
You can find information on the Minke Cirque at Lamps Plus.
Bringing nature indoors is a great way to stay ahead of the curve of interior design trends. Â Because of the new eco-friendly wave that is hitting everything from cars to soda cans, you can now find many ways to “go green” in your own home. Â Potted plants are a great way to enliven your living space, as they will not only clean the air around them but they are also great at tying a room together with a warm, inviting atmosphere. Â When adding large, leafy greens to your home as accent pieces, you’ll notice the vibrant energy right away, and you can expand on this by playing with greens and earthy tones to highlight the natural elements in your decor.
We’ve all seen the typical urban-industrial loft highlighted in the glossy pages of interior design mags (or splashed on the front page of design blogs), but much of the design ethos of loft living is seeping into the everyday. Take this relatively recent trend: eco-friendly, sustainable concrete slabs as countertops. These can be made as rough or as smooth as one desires, and they really are quite a durable surface. You can use them as kitchen counters or as bathroom accents, and they’ll bring that industrial vibe into your home in a lasting way. The above pictures are of a poured concrete counter with color inlays and recycled glass chips (above) and a polished but rough kitchen bar (below). For information on how to create your own concrete countertops, check out NaturalHandyMan.com, or visit The Concrete Network for inspiration.
A relatively new trend on the modern interior decor scene is incorporating the relaxing atmosphere of a spa into your bedroom. Any master bedroom can be given an aura of calm with a little attention to detail. Add some over-stuffed chairs, subtle aromatherapy, mood lighting and even an indoor waterfall to really bring out the chill. You don’t have to have a masseuse on hand, but if you work a little creativity into your decor, you can make your bedroom a place that’s more than just a bed and a good book – it can be the go-to-place for all of your relaxation needs.
If you’re a moderately proficient interior designer – even if you only have design experience in your own home – you’re probably pretty comfortable within a single “look”. You can pick out a high end, modern glass table that matches the gauzy curtains, or work within your retro-modern themed bar and barstools.
However, it can be tough to move out of your comfort zone. We want to help you achieve a new level of modern style, so we’re going to cover how to mix glamor – upscale, detailed and ultra-modern furniture – with shabby – antiqued, distressed and reclaimed furniture.
Shabby chic furniture has an organic feel, so it is a great natural compliment to the graceful curves of glamorous furnishings.
Try mixing a reclaimed wood table with a beautiful silk table cloth. This will give a touch of sophistication to an otherwise dull piece, and it will tone down the table cloth’s potentially overbearing sheen.
A nice overstuffed sofa with white linen upholstery can benefit from a touch of glamor with some silky colorful accent pillows or a nice throw. White linen is a staple of shabby chic, but it can get a little humdrum if it’s not dressed up.
Curvy glamorous furniture like a mahogany side table could be accented with a lacy table cloth or a distressed white wood picture frame.
A glamorous look all at once can be a bit overpowering, and shabby chic can come off as dis-organized. Together, they are combined to produce a look that will be elegant, versatile and unique – perfect for your modern home!