Retro Furniture

Whether you are considering redecorating your bedroom, kitchen, living room or any other room in your home, retro is definitely "in" these days. Perhaps it is a desire to return to the era our parents or grandparents lived in and which we relate to simpler times, the birth of Jazz and Rock and Roll music, jukeboxes and classic diners, that draws us back to the “retro” style of furniture and decor.

Retro furniture is typically defined by American 1950s and 1960s styles and nostalgia, which are typified by the use of chrome, cracked vinyl, Naugahyde or other simulated leather, wood veneers and Formica, bright plastics and similar materials and finishes.

Monotone green, glass and veneer finishes make this retro furnished room quite elegant.

Vintage Furniture Designers

Furniture styles in the home during this era can range in quality from junky mass-produced items, to extremely high end collectible modern furniture pieces designed by the likes of famed designers like Pieff, George Nelson, Robert Heritage and Merrow Associates in Great Britain and Europe, as well as American designers like Hans & Florence Knoll, Milo Baughman, Charles & Ray Eames and many others.

These designers eschewed fancy ornamentation and highly decorative designs in favor of geometric shapes, clean lines, functional use and modern forms. You can learn more about many of these well known mid-century furniture designers over at

Wood veneer, sleek lines and chrome accents are typical features of retro furniture design as shown by this retro sideboard.Thanks to the post war American manufacturing boom, affordable mass-produced retro style furniture is still widely available in specialty furniture shops, garage sales and online at eBay and other Internet sources.

The more sought after designer retro furniture however, has become quite collectible and so original pieces will often fetch extremely high prices at auction.

A number of designers and manufacturers also offer reproduction items so you can get new, modern furniture with that 1950s or 1950s retro look without sacrificing comfort and features.

Bedroom Furniture Ideas

You won’t find a fancy canopy or sleigh bed in a retro style bedroom. Simple lines and geometric shapes were the style of the day in bedroom furnishings. Wood veneer materials with Rosewood were popular for beds, dressers and nightstands.

You could use a vintage chenille bedspread to cover your retro bed. For your window treatment you might try Priscilla curtains with frivolous wide ruffles and pulled back to the sides. Use a shaggy white area rug to add texture.

A great accessory item you can pick up is a reproduction version of the vintage 1950s Big Ben Moon Beam alarm clock for your nightstand.

This retro sofa has been finished in black with contrasting bright red pillows. Simple geometric shapes like these square coffee tables are a hallmark of 1950s retro furniture.

Kitchen & Dining Room

Formica and chrome dining tables are the way to go! You can still find originals at garage sales and second hand stores or get a reproduction set in bright 1950s colors like cherry red, sunshine yellow or blueberry blue.

Since enamelware was all the rage in the fifties, try finding original items like a bread box, coffee pot or tea kettle to display in your kitchen. Add color with a nice collection of fiesta ware bowls and dishware. If you can’t find originals, you’ll find plenty of reproduction enamelware and Fiestaware items online or in specialty shops.

You can even find retro kitchen appliances like refrigerators, stoves and toasters.

To create a little wall art for your retro room, try framing some 1950s magazine ads or posters.

Sofas & Living Room FurnishingsPale green fabric accents this retro sofa, featuring plain shape and no arm rests.

Sofas and chairs will be low, sleek designs with mahogany or wood veneer finishes and textured fabrics or leather upholstery. A floor lamp with a chrome finish and iced glass globe for the shade will complement your retro living room decor.

If you really want to create a living room focal point that will be a great conversation piece, try using a vintage or reproduction 1950s entertainment center, featuring a radio with dials and knobs and a vinyl album record player!

You can also find reproduction 1950s phones in bright plastics, complete with a dial instead of the keypad. You might still want to keep the cordless handy for daily use!

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