The 1960s was the peak of chic when it came to home decor. From experimental, geometric designs to wonderfully kitsch feature pieces, there’s something for everyone. If you’re on the hunt for some stunning vintage living room ideas, you may have come to the right place.
Once you start looking at the sophisticated array of ‘Mad Men’ esque ideas, we’re certain that you’ll want to incorporate some into your very own home. Here at Nyde, we love nothing more than exploring room decorating styles. So, without further ado, here are some simply gorgeous vintage living room decorating ideas.
Get to grips with geometry
While you don’t want to go overboard when it comes to garish prints, featuring just one wall in this style adds a certain pizazz to any room.
Geometric patterns were just about everywhere during the mid-century, and the good news is that they’ve made something of a comeback in recent years.
The key here is to choose a muted colour for the print so that it’s not overpowering. Pale pastel colours tend to work best as they draw the eye but are still relatively subtle.
Go back to the future
During the 1960s, the world was obsessed with all things space aged. The space race was very much on and that was something which was highly reflected in the home decor of the time. It would frankly be rude to mention vintage living room furniture without taking a look at this classic piece.
The ball chair was first seen in Finnish design but soon made its way around the globe with many countries adopting it as a stable of their own decor style. You will see this piece featured in most pictures of retro living rooms, and for good reason. The sleek, futuristic (for the time) design of this piece of furniture caught the attention of the world at the middle of the century and we can still marvel at its beauty today.
Play with pastels
Before it comes to designing your living space, you must first consider the palette you will use. When it comes to vintage living room ideas, people often make the mistake of believing that they have to include over-the-top, bold colours in the design. Nothing could be further from the truth.
You can achieve a much more sophisticated look by employing the use of softer, pastel colours throughout the room. Pale pinks, plush blues, and violets, all work well when properly used in retro living spaces. Once you start to plan your room, ensure that you put together a colour and mood board to inspire the design.
…And clash some colours
While you simply must use pastel colours, there’s no harm in clashing the tones that you choose. The 1960s was all about experimentation in every area of modern life.
When it comes to vintage living room decorating ideas, you may want to choose some opposing colour tones to create a daring and interesting look.
Drink in style
Where do you currently keep your alcohol? Most people tend to have a wine rack or simply store things away in their cupboards. Your selection of spirits can actually be a feature piece within any room. One of the greatest pieces of vintage living room furniture from this era has to be the drinks cabinet or trolley.
Having one of these in your living spaces allows you to showcase your taste in fine liquor for all the world to see. The portable trolleys are ideal should you regularly host dinner parties or have friends over for an evening. Not only does this make a fabulous addition to any home, but it’s also a conversation piece.
Quirky and quaint
If you really want to bring your home design to life in true 1960s style, you absolutely have to embrace all things quirky. Cute, kitsch pieces were a theme throughout this era and simply including a few unique ornaments in your home could make all the difference.
This is one of the easiest (and most cost-effective) vintage living room decorating ideas since you can pick these things up in local charity shops or for mere pennies online.
Upcycle vintage pieces
Vintage living room furniture is not so hard to come by. If you spend a little time antiquing in shops and at car boot sales, you should find some truly original pieces to spruce up your home. But, what if the furniture you find is not up to scratch?
If you want to bring an old, worn out piece back to life, upcycling it is surely the answer. That means getting crafty when it comes to sanding down, painting and varnishing pieces. Ensure that you stay within your colour palette for the ideal finished look.
Stencil, stencil, stencil!
Should you opt to upcycle pieces of retro living room furniture, there’s one key thing that you must not neglect – the humble stencil.
The 1960s were all about creativity and experimenting with brand new styles. Adding a unique stencilled pattern to any piece is certain to take it from bland and boring to beautiful and bold.
Choose intriguing fabrics
From your curtains to your cushion covers, the fabrics you use within your living space will do wonders for its sense of character and individuality. This is an area in which many designers tend to be slightly neglectful. Sure, it’s easier to just opt for plain pieces of material in these areas, but don’t you want to go above and beyond with your decor style?
From bold floral pieces to geometric styles, the era was all about large, all-encompassing patterns. You can pick up vintage fabrics online or at specialist shops around the country. Remember to be brave – those who dare, win!
Invest in feature pieces
If you’re not entirely comfortable with creating a complete vintage style room, this little tip will work for you. Rather than transforming the entire space, pick out a few retro living room furniture pieces as statements in the room.
It’s well worth investing in pieces that were iconic of the era such as one-off, brass-legged chairs, and sofas. In this instance, less is very much more. Choosing just a couple of furnishings rather than a complete living room set is the only way forward for this subtle look.
11. Bring the outdoors into your home
If there’s one thing that will take your vintage living room to the very next level it’s a whole lot of flora. Using plants and floral designs in living spaces was highly popular during the mid-century. There are two core ways in which you can incorporate this style into your room.
First of all, you can invest in some potted plants for the room. Be sure to choose low-maintenance plants that are as mess-free as possible.
Secondly, you should opt for pieces of art and fabrics which include floral, green designs. This simple design hack will create an inviting atmosphere in any home.
Expose some brick
If you decide not to opt for a geometric design for your feature wall, there’s another option you may want to consider. This vintage living room decorating idea is not for the faint of heart since it will take time, energy, and a large budget to complete.
Exposed walls are very much on trend right now but this phase is actually a throwback to the 1960s. Stripping a wall of its decoration completely is anything but easy, but it may just be worth it. Finish the effect by painting a high gloss colour directly onto the bricks. The results will astound you.
It’s all about the minor details
From chic 60s clocks to kitsch landline phones, there is no end to the retro details you may wish to add to your living room.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that vintage living room ideas have to be grand. That’s not the case. On occasion, the smaller and less noticeable details have a grand effect on the overall look of the room.
Avoid buying new copies of these pieces – it’s honestly a waste of money. Most antique stores have a home accessories section where you can find treasure troves of feature pieces like this that are true originals.
Save space to study
If you’re blessed with a large living room, a study space could be the ideal addition to it. When browsing vintage living room furniture online, be sure to look out for a 1960s style desk.
Many of these pieces are finished in varnished wood and have not one, but two levels, which means that you can separate your files and computer with utter ease. These pieces were home staples some fifty years ago, and there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be today as well.
Divide your living room
Many people choose to have open-plan living and kitchen spaces these days and they really do work rather well. Still, it’s important to have some definition as to where one part of the room ends and the other begins.
Creating different sections within your room does not have to be difficult, and often you can use the natural shape of the space in this feat. You should note that most vintage living room decorating ideas include a split in the middle of the room. As you can see here, the designer has opted to use the alcoves to mark out the separation between the two rooms.
Pay homage to heroes
From Bob Dylan to Audrey Hepburn, there are many all-too-familiar names that are truly synonymous with this interesting era. When it comes to designing your home, you may well wish to pay homage to some of the heroes of the time.
Of course, you can invest in some original prints of these icons online, which will make an intriguing addition to your home.
Experiment with abstract art
If you’re none too taken with the idea of featuring heroes in your art, why not go for something a little different? We mean really different… Choosing some bizarre, abstract art is the height of design in vintage living room ideas.
Ensure that you do a little research before choosing the right piece for your home. You may wish to opt for a piece that complements your colour palette so that the whole thing works as one look.
Shed a little light on things
Throughout the mid-century, pendant lights were at the peak of their popularity. When it comes to choosing the right fixtures for your home, you ought to consider a design classic such as these colourful lamps.
As retro living room furniture goes, these are some of the more readily available items. Since they never really went out of style, many mainstream manufacturers still make and sell these things. It’s well worth checking them out online and finding some shades that suit your home.
Create a chill-out nook
Finally, if you have any excess space, you must create a chill-out nook. Comfortable, cosy furniture was plentiful during the 1960s, which means that you should have no problem finding a unique piece for your home.
Browse an array of vintage living room furniture before you make your choice so that you can be sure it’s the right one for you. Clear a small space, such as a corner or an alcove, in your room and create the nook just there. This feature of the room is certain to draw people’s attention and get them talking.
Hero image: Vinyl unit by Bolia, available at Nyde