Wallcovering Wednesday: When to go Retro with Wallpaper

Retro wallpaper

Retro is Relative

Your children might think of the 1990s as retro, while your grandmother is nostalgic for the 1930s. For you? Maybe the 1980s are more your style. So whether it’s the bold colors and psychedelic patterns of the 1970s, the delicate florals of the 1930s or tiny geometric designs of the 1950s you’re looking for, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

Retro Wallpaper
Spirit and Soul by Scion

“I find that the term “retro” depends greatly on the individual using it,” says Kathy Basil, Hirshfield’s Design Showroom Manager. “If you’re renovating a true mid-century modern home, you’ll most likely want to stay very true to the period.”

Basil recommends treading lightly with ‘retro.’ That is, once you define what ‘retro’ means to each individual.

“When customers come in asking for a retro wallcovering, it’s usually more ‘trend’ that they’re after,” says Basil. “These patterns are very effective in lofts to create interest but still keeping the current vibe of the space.”

However, it can be difficult to blend too many styles in a more traditional space. “I really can’t think of a situation where I would recommend retro wallcovering in a traditional space,” says Basil. “…oil and vinegar.”

Serephina Wallpaper by Thibaut
Serephina by Anna French

Basil does, however, recommend sparse and specific use of retro wallpaper in more creative ways. “I love using small scale retro/geometric wallcoverings in the inside backs of bookcases and also love them on powder room and vestibule ceilings!”

So whether you’re looking to go fully retro with your space or simply include splashes of the trend, use these recommendations to bring your ideas to life. But don’t go too crazy, and remember – less is more.

Since Frank and Elizabeth Hirshfield opened their first store in 1894, it has been our mission to do the best job possible meeting customer needs and solving customer problems. Hirshfield’s. People and products you can trust.

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