Retro furniture is furniture from the past that becomes popular again.  For a piece of furniture to be considered retro, it usually has to be older than 15 years old. When buying retro furniture, it hehlps to be familiar with the various time periods and what was stylish during a particular decade.

The 1940s

The decade of the 40s is typified by deep, wide coaches with reversible seat cushions and low arms. This time period features living room décor upholstered in bold tapestries. Chairs were usually constructed of plywood or plastic and had wired bases and curved seats.

The 1950s

In the 50s, the rage was Formica dining tables that came with chrome chairs. Geometric mirrors, kidney-shaped coffee tables and boxy furniture with simple, sleep lines were trendy. The bold upholstery tapestries of the 1940s were replaced by solid colors.

The Late 1950s-Early 1960s

The most popular retro furniture comes from the late 1950s through the early 1960s. These pieces include furniture such as dinette sets, couches and lighting fixtures.  Most of the furniture looks futuristic or space-like as this was a time when space exploration was big. Geometric prints were stylish, as well as metal lamps.

The Late 1960s and Early 1970s

You can see the influence of the hippie movement and rebellion against the establishment during this time period. Wicker furniture was popular then, and a typical home had furnishings from various cultures and time periods. Most upholstery was either in solid velvets on in Eastern prints, depicting a Bohemian mood.

The 1980s

Furniture from this decade is the most recent retro furniture. The 1980s are known for furniture with geometric shapes and solid colors. Home décor had a Southwestern theme, and it was common to see polished brass furniture.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Often, people confuse retro furniture with antique furniture, but they’re not the same. Antiques are furniture pieces can be at least a century, while retro furniture refers to furniture that only dates back to the 1940s.
  • Excess retro colors can give a room an outdated look. It helps to place a retro color with a more contemporary color.
  • Try mixing old items with new ones. By just sticking to a single era, a room can appear outdated.
  • Choose furniture having good bones. For example, make sure furniture frames are sturdy.

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