Decor, like fashion, is constantly being reinvented. Retro style is the perfect example, and it appeals to those who hold the past in high regard, reminiscing on a time when everything seemed more beautiful. Inspired by cool Nordic countries, and different eras known for their signature styles, such as Les Trente Glorieuses in France, and flower power in the West. If you are looking to add a touch of vintage style to your spaces, the key is finding the right balance between old and new.
1. Scandinavian inspired
When you hear Nordic furniture, Ikea probably comes to mind. What you might not know is that Scandinavian countries—Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—are home to many furniture designers. In countries where the climate is unforgiving and the population rarely sees the sun during winter months, a house is seen as a comfortable, cherished refuge.
Which explains why this cozy decorating style continues to inspire our interiors. Often described as sleek and elegant, ergonomic and functional, with a mix of clean lines, voluminous details, natural finishes and light colour schemes. You can choose to inject this style into your space with a few accent pieces, or go for the entire look.
Pieces to have: the Ant chair, a sideboard, a hanging light fixture.
2. Industrial wave
The industrial style made its appearance at the beginning of the century, and rose in popularity during the industrial revolution the 1950s. At the time, furniture was built to last, designed from heavy raw materials with strong lines, and neutral colours (shades of gray and brown). They were going for functional.
Today, this style is still trending, especially when it comes to objects in their raw state with a weathered feel. The main advantage is that it can easily be adapted to all interiors, since (almost) any object can become a part of the decor: a metal ladder becomes shelves, and a wooden box, a coffee table.
Pieces to have: Tolix steel chairs, furniture on wheels, a big clock.
3. The 1960s
The ’60s represent the discovery of all things disposable, colourful furniture, plastic and Formica laminate finishes—I still remember the worn, bright red laminate table my grandmother held on to for decades. There I go feeling nostalgic again. Designed in warm, vibrant shades (mustard yellow, green, burnt orange), pop furniture, is also recognized for its round shapes, and graphic and floral prints. This period is also known for bold, inventive, and unexpected pieces, as seen in the Toronto home that looks frozen in the time. It can be fun to add graphic posters and pops of colour to reflect this free-spirited decade.
Pieces to have: a Formica laminate table, a graphic sofa, a turntable.
4. Country style
Ah, fresh air, pretty landscapes, nature…With its bright spaces and warm, family feel, rustic decor recreates the tranquil atmosphere of the countryside. It features wood and metals, beige and gray tones, ceramic tableware, and authentic furniture.
To complete the nostalgic country decor, accessorize with candlesticks, wine racks, enamel plates, antique mirrors, rattan baskets, and brass details. Simple and unpretentious, you can achieve the perfect antique look by browsing the isles of flea markets.
Pieces to have: a wooden coat hanger, country chairs, a metallic serving cart.
What’s your decorating style? Do you have any favourite shops or designers? Tell us in the comments.
Adapted from French by Jonelle Larouche.