Decorating a Retro Dining Room
By Nan Werther
, last updated August 14, 2011
Embodying a retro dining room in your home's decorating style is a great way to reference bygone eras while allowing your unique personality to shine through. Retro is not indicative of any specific decade but rather references the entire century. Whether your heart belongs to the elegant and art-deco inspired 1920s, the psychedelic 1960s or the cheery kitsch of the 1950s, your retro style can span the years or highlight a certain period. Depending on where your tastes run, there are many different ways to achieve a retro dining room. Check out period-specific details for a favorite era or mix and match your favorites for a unique and eclectic dining experience.
Swing Into The Roaring 20s
The 1920s and 30s are most well known for their Art Deco or Art Moderne aesthetic, which is modern and clean in line. Influenced by discoveries of the time, its emphasis on the architectural reflected the mystique of Middle Eastern and European cultures from which much of its inspiration was drawn. Cubism also heavily influenced the Art Deco, so consider playing with shapes. Chrome and mirrored surfaces were also popular at this time, especially on furniture. Curved edges and surfaces were seen on a lot of furniture. Because war was still impacting production, there was a minimalism present in a lot of design. Colors were simple and rooms were not heavily furnished. Lighting however was very important and oftentimes elaborate.
One of the most popular aesthetics even now, the 1950s were a boom of new products and ideas. With space travel dominating the collective imagination, a lot of furnishings and designs of the time reflected a fascination with materials that reflected the new frontier. Vinyl and plastic both became popular at this time, with efficiency following close behind. While the 1950s have become highly collectible there are still many pieces to find at flea markets or online as mass production also came into effect at that time. Chrome tables and glittery vinyl booths were hugely popular. Look for furniture with organic shapes and abstract patterns in bright colors such as lemon yellow or candy red. Accessorize with old diner memorabilia such as metal Coca-Cola advertisements. Fiestaware is a highly collectible dish set that immediately calls to mind that retro touch. Tongue-in-cheek art and decor are great ways to evoke this cheeky and cheery era while white and black checkerboard vinyl floors are classic finishes to a retro room. Add a jukebox to the room for that kitschy touch and look for upholstered chairs or rugs in 1950s fabric favorites such as tropical flowers or spacey designs.
Play Up the Flower Power in 1970
Not everyone's favorite era, the 1970s had a natural, earthy appeal that speak to the flower child in everyone. Colors such as avocado, gold, rust and mahogany will immediately evoke the feel of the decade. Shag rugs came into style at this time. While not for everyone, update your home with a modern shag to keep the look contemporary. Add some psychedelic art and lava lamps.