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Design Through The Decades : Homing In On Retro Interior Design

Written by Redrow

16 Sep 2021

Retro interior design is a huge trend this year as we seek the comfort that nostalgia brings and look to reinvent classic looks for our homes today.

At Redrow we take pride in the fact that we create show homes that are inspired by the elegant styles of decades gone by, alongside a contemporary twist so our schemes feel right up to date. 

If you’re intrigued by ‘what is retro interior design?’, our in-house head of interiors, Alysha Alli, takes us through three decades – the 1950s, 60s and 70s - and tells us which elements from those revered eras are right on trend today.


We first talked about timeless Hollywood glamour coming to the fore as a trend last year in our style rivals article. That classic retro 50s design style has continued to influence the interiors of our show homes throughout 2021.

Alysha says: “The trend for metallics, velvet and embossed materials are straight out of a classic Hollywood 50s movie and can be brought into your home in a number of ways.  

“Anything less than 100 years old but older than 20 years can be classed as vintage and we love to include vintage inspired pieces in our show homes. When it comes to Hollywood glamour, oversized embossed headboards can create a striking focal point for your room and add a subtle nod to this bygone era. Opt for fabrics in calming colours like dusky pink or deep inky blue hues to stay true to the essence of the era.

“The new textile trends for the coming year include high-shine yarns, velours and velvets, which all emulate that 1950s timeless elegance and look fabulous in a main bedroom or guest suite as well as in more formal lounges. To bring this look into your bedroom space why not add a pop of colour onto an occasional velvet chair or a deep padded throw with a subtle metallic sheen running through?

“Metallics are a great way to add warmth and depth as we approach the colder months, particularly to create a cosy living room. Metallic threads in wallpapers, curtain fabrics and scatter cushions can be understated yet luxurious while on-trend metallics like bronze, brass and dulled gold can be introduced through your lighting and accessories.”


This mid-century narrative continues through the decades and into the swinging 60s, when curvilinear forms and embellished statement furniture pieces made their mark. And they are back once again leading the trends more than 50 years on. 

Alysha explains: “Globe like forms and circular patterns became really popular in the 1960s and they have been given a renaissance this year. It’s a look we’ve used across our latest show homes. We love adding oversized spherical mirrors to hallways and living rooms in a range of burnished metallic finishes while we’ve introduced spherical shapes through our lighting, which creates a celestial feel.

“Curved forms are also an element of the mid-century modern trend and these simple shapes work really well for sofas, occasional chair details and coffee tables. Mid century modern furniture in both curved and more angular forms has featured in many of our recent show homes as it is hugely stylish while being really functional.  The signature of this style tends to be low-slung and bold shapes which make a real style statement.

“Bohemian style, which originated in the late 1960s, has inspired lots of modern retro textile design looks. Handmade embellishments and highly patterned materials are very on-trend and can help you to create a really distinctive look. Boho style works really well in a garden room as it creates a laid back feel but brings a depth of colour and texture. Try layering fabrics and introducing woven materials, embroidery and even patchwork in your own home to achieve this look.”


The 1970s is remembered for its bold tones and stylised patterns and we’re seeing a resurgence of the colours that first made waves back in the groovy 70s. Surprising mid-tones, near brights and touches of muted earthy tones are big news alongside classic browns, blues and greens.

Alysha adds: “I like to use retro-infused juxtapositions of green and red in saturated yet considered hues in our show homes. We will often bring in these tones through curtains, Roman blinds and accessories to create a retro kitchen design scheme and blend with abstract art which brings the colour scheme together.

“Another feature of 70s interior design is geometric patterns so by combining bright hues and bold shapes in repeating forms, you can really begin to capture the spirit of the 70s. Feature wallpaper in a geometric print can be a really fun addition for a child’s bedroom or a statement in a home office or hallway area. 

“Nature influenced many classic 1970s interiors through elements like sisal and jute weave rugs, rattan furniture, oversized house plants and exposed, natural textures. These are all very popular contemporary interior design trends today and can be seen through our latest show homes. Macrame wall hangings and plant holders – which had their heyday in the 70s - have also made a comeback this year.”

For more interior inspiration visit follow us on Instagram - @redrowhomes – or search Redrow Homes on Pinterest.