What is the definition of Retro when we think in terms of decor? Well according to Wikipedia “Retro is a culturally outdated or aged style, trend, mode, or fashion, from the overall postmodern past, that has since that time become functionally or superficially the norm once again.“
Others will tell you that it is something 20-25 years old which is being revived, the article itself doesn’t necessarily need to ‘be’ old, but can reference styles of the past. Most consider Retro to reflect the post-modern styles of the 1940’s-1970’s and is not to be confused with Vintage (although some would disagree). Vintage is supposed to reflect items that are less than 100 years old as opposed to Antique which is 100 years old or older. In a nutshell for the uninitiated Retro then actually means something Vintage which has been revived.
With the research out of the way, how do we then apply Retro when it comes to organising the home? Well mostly it’s about the style of the pieces you would use for the function of organising your home or space. You may want to settle on a particular period of time, for example the 50’s and try and acquire objects from op-shops or copies that reflect that time and either use it for the same purpose or re-purpose it to do something else thereby giving it a quirky twist. One easy example would be to re-purpose those orange Lustro Ware canisters for dry ingredients that were so popular during the 70’s, but let’s think outside of the ‘box’ a little bit.
Think of a piece of industrial design such as the C-47 Aircraft from 1948/49 which became famous as the Candy Bombers, and incorporate the shape into something functional such as a wall mounted coat hanger in the same aluminium. Marry it with a background of new fashion colour such as an apple green and you get a useful work of art with a Retro theme as seen at The wardrobe Tempelhof .
Perhaps you might have an old school-case (port) or beauty case from the 60’s or 70’s lying around? Have you ever thought how cool it could be if you put some legs on it and turned it into a storage table? Stick some retro stickers on it and you’re really in business. Great for holding remote controls, or perhaps bits of memorabilia such as programs you’ve kept from theatre shows or rock concerts.
Speaking of rock concerts, got some old scratched vinyl records hanging around? I just LOVE this cute little table via The Flourishing Abode. I’m putting it on my ‘To-Attempt’ list. Great ways of turning clutter into something practical.
Back to new uses for old cases. Why not turn an old fashioned metal lunchbox such as those featured on Retro Planet’s blog into a sewing box, jewellery case or as a hold-all for bits and pieces on your bedside or hall table?
Lastly, maybe it’s just about a ‘touch’ of Retro? How about taking a leaf out of Deb DiSalvo’s blog and have a go at framing stuff like old magazines or sewing patterns in the way she has done, which just look awesome! Simply replace the glass/ceramic models with some raised modge-podge cut-outs instead. It will not only help them keep their value, but take up less space in the cupboard! Collectible Retro can look great en-masse like these framed vintage bathing suits.
A few years ago for a music room I had sewn daggy old t-shirts with a rock’n’roll prints into cushion covers for a sofa.
In the photo you will see I have also incorporated some of my favourite collection of vinyl LP’s into the backs of a shelving unit. I decided not to mount them because as a retro Audio-file, I keep wanting to play them! It also means that I can change the display often. Being in a rental property means nothing on the walls, so I’m always looking for creative ways to break up expanses of white walls and this works really well, with a modern practical Ikea unit.
Retro can also be about sound, smell and feel, and for me there’s nothing like the crackle on a vinyl LP while reading the album sleeves, so my 70’s Turntable ain’t going anywhere fast!
For more inspiration and links to Retro Styling ideas and recommended products check out my other article ‘Top 5 Links to All Things Retro‘.