Vintage Interior Design: Modernized Trends of the Last 50 Years

We can’t live in the past, but we sure can borrow from it. While innovators in design are dreaming up new ideas, plenty of vintage interior design elements are constantly re-entering the latest trend cycle, too. Ready to incorporate modern vintage interior design in your home? Let’s take a walk down memory lane, and pick up a few things to bring into today’s design along the way.

The 1970s: Vintage Inspired Fashion Trends for Today

The 70s were a notable era of retro interior design for cringeworthy things like dark wood paneling, over-the-top shag carpet, and bold bathtub colors. But this decade also gave us trends like retro-futurism interior design, nature-inspired decor, rattan, macrame, and bold wallpaper — all of which are making a comeback right now. 

Hues like mustard, burnt orange, and warm green are having a moment. Retro-futuristic design is showing up today in circular pieces like tulip dining tables and bold, globe-shaped light fixtures. Lighter wood textures like the Lacing Accent Chair or rattan, wicker, and cane furniture pieces are all over social media and design blogs these days, and they can be a great way to add texture to your modern vintage home. 

The 1980s: Retro Interior Design Trends That Are Back

The fashion industry was booming in the 80s, with big hair and neon prints reigning supreme. But in the world of interior design, lucite, round-edged furniture, and mauve and teal color schemes were taking over. So, how can you use these trends now?

Lucite and acrylic dining chairs or accent tables add a chic and minimalistic feel to your home, with a dose of retro style that isn’t over-the-top. Mauve and teal still make a great color combo; just dial up the saturation for more modern vibes. As for round-edged furniture, a waterfall dresser offers both clean lines and a retro-inspired shape, and round-edged glass coffee tables with sleek bases are reappearing in modern living rooms. And hey, if neon is your thing, bold pops of color are back in vogue, too. 

The 1990s: Interior Design Trends To Try

While you may not want to plop an inflatable chair in the middle of your living room, some 90s trends are worth bringing back. The 90s saw a rise in brass accents (we all remember that one brass chandelier that every 90s home had), and that trend is most definitely back in the form of brushed brass hardware and decorative accessories for an upscale look. 

Botanical and damask patterned wallpaper was huge in the 1990s, and you can easily take notes from that trend with modern floral printed wallpaper in your home. Animal print accents are a trendy 90s nod (though, it might be an interior design mistake to have EVERYTHING in animal print; use it sparingly). Textured wall treatments are coming back in the form of DIY accent walls, too—who would’ve thought sponge painting would have a resurgence of sorts?

The 2000s: Open Concept Design Style

The rise of home improvement television in the 2000s gave us the start of open kitchens, a trend that’s still popular now. It also brought us ornate Tuscan and old-world decor, dark brown walls, and shabby chic design. While some of these trends should probably be left in the past, you can easily update shabby chic vibes by incorporating true vintage pieces into your home, rather than something new that’s “faux old,” if you will. The turn of the century also brought back mid-century modern style. The trend started to re-emerge in the 1990s, but it exploded in the 2000s — and it’s still hot 20 years later. 

The 2010s: The Rise of Online Design

While the 1990s and 2000s had warm, dark colors (like chocolate brown, deep red, and deep mustard), the 2010s seemed to be the breaking point for these heavy color schemes. Gray walls became the standard, and modern farmhouse style was everywhere (shiplap, anyone?). While many of these ideas have stuck around for today’s fashion trend cycles, they’ve softened over the last decade. For example, gray paint has been replaced with warm greige or creamy white. In this decade, social media influencers and designers became the primary trend forecasters, and this contributed to the rise of eclectic and transitional design (which hasn’t slowed down since). Who wants to stick to just one design style anyway?!

The 2020s: It’s Time to Find Your Personal Style

Ready to try your hand at these modern takes on vintage style? Find timeless furniture and decor pieces at your local CORT Furniture Outlet that fit your unique sense of style. For over 50 years CORT has been helping customers find their style with durable, quality furniture and decor pieces. Shop online or at your nearby CORT Furniture Outlet and browse our ever-changing collection of new and gently used furniture today.


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