When it comes to designing a new home, the possibilities can seem overwhelming. The art of interior design stretches throughout history, and there are endless aesthetic themes to choose from. We’ve created a detailed guide to several major vintage design eras, so you can build your interior around one of these famously stylish periods. Use our expert tips to choose the right color palette, furniture, and wall art, and you’ll be transported to your favorite moment in time.
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Vintage Interior Design: A Summary
While we cannot possibly summarize the entire history of design in one article, there are certain periods that were particularly influential. 2022 is bringing back a whole host of vintage design trends, so we’ve decided to focus on the top trending eras for the upcoming year. Vintage décor is all about taking color palettes, furniture, and composition from the past, and making it fit your modern lifestyle. You can also pick and choose décor from different periods of time, that’s part of the beauty of having access to so many different styles! Plus, vintage décor allows for an organized hodge-podge and wide array of details.
Retro Interior Design
While vintage décor encompasses the past as a whole, retro design typically refers to the more recent past. Interior design shifted from embracing excess to careful selection of items. We’re going to take you through the more elaborate eras, and then move on to more recent retro ideas. From Mid-century modern to the groovy 1970s, tons of retro periods are making a massive comeback this year.
The Victorian era technically covered all of Queen Victoria’s reign, but the classic “Victorian style” usually refers to the late Victorian period, in the late 1800s. Just before the turn of the century, architects are designers were fascinated with ornate details and gothic décor. Vintage home interiors in the Victorian style were opulent and moody, with a focus on dark woods and elaborate furniture. If you consider yourself a lover of antiques who believes “more is more,” turn your home into a Victorian-inspired retreat!
There was a continued love for organic shapes and curvature during the turn of the century, but with a slightly more surrealistic style. While Victorian design was dripping with luxury, the Art Nouveau period was more artistic and ethereal. In addition to a prominent use of earthy colors like olive and sage, Art Nouveau pioneered the rise of vibrant, warm tones like peach and gold. Imagine whimsical flowers trellising up your walls, and curved, velvet furniture filling every corner. If this fluid, floral-inspired style speaks to you – go with Art Nouveau!
Art Deco saw similar gold tones and velvet fabrics rise to prominence, but the shapes became much more rigid and geometric. The warm colors of the Art Nouveau period shifted to a love for royal hues like navy, eggplant, and jade. The Art Deco period was all about playing with lines and patterns. The jazz age incorporated luxurious elements like floor to ceiling curtains and rectangular chandeliers. We’re living in the “20s” all over again, so there’s no better time to redecorate your home in an Art Deco style.
Fun, funky, but surprisingly minimalist – it’s the ever-popular Mid-century style. The Mid-century period took the low, simplistic furniture from the Art Deco period and gave it a modern twist. Incorporating both organic curvature and cubic shapes, the defining characteristic of a Mid-century interior is its effortless ease. Bridging the gap between aesthetics and functionality, Mid-century design reimagined the future with its slightly space-age feel. If you’re a self-proclaimed minimalist who doesn’t take yourself too seriously, go with this fun, retro interior design trend! It's also an ideal way to blend the past and the present, making it a perfect vintage/modern living room idea.
Last but not least, we have the contemporary period. This style of design began in the 1980s and continues into the 21st century. It’s all about clean lines, neutral colors, and giving your home a museum-like quality. Embrace white and grey with pops of black. To modernize the contemporary style of the 80s and 90s, use matte metals rather than finishes that shine. Look for simple, abstract art that enhances rather than distracts from the rest of your interior. Furnish your home with only the necessities and avoid clutter at all costs. A contemporary interior is meant for the mature homeowner with a love for sleek luxury. (You can also add a subtle touch of the past for a vintage-meets-modern living room idea!)
Vintage Home Interiors & Beyond
History has brought us some stunning periods of interior design. The beauty of living today is that you have the freedom to choose the look that best suits your personality! From the 1880s, to the 1960s, and beyond, turn your space into a stylish time capsule. Whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist, there was a vintage era that catered to your unique taste. What are you waiting for? Jump in that time machine and start decorating!