Why do we have such a fascination with old things? Retro design is forever coming back into the mainstream trends with decades of the past frequently presenting themselves in a new light. My dad describes his fashion sense as “seven years out, but still bang on trend” – commenting on what might may not cool currently but insists will come back round and be the next high street throwback trend. Whilst he may not always be right, one thing is for certain and that’s the popularity of vintage designs.
It seems our love of ‘retro’ is fairly deep rooted. Psychological explanations for our love of old objects suggest that it’s due to our ability to experience design through different eyes, using our imagination to try and read it’s history. There is a hard to explain but undoubted feel and aesthetic to vintage items, particularly with textiles or furnishings as they often offer something different to the modern alternative. Usually (but not always!) there is an association of higher quality manufacturing procedure for vintage products, with furniture often being bespoke or small batch runs rather than the modern cheaper methods of mass production.
The experience of a vintage wallpaper or a old-fashioned interior design scheme allows our imagination to run wild and leave the ordinary experiences of day-to-day modern life. Research suggests objects from the past are becoming increasingly popular with the younger generations. We’ve all witnessed the ‘Hipster’ trend of re-used objects as furniture, the love of vintage clothing and vinyl records. We’ve always been partial to a blast from the past but it seems resurgence and revival is more popular than ever.
The design world is constantly throwing up past generations’ styles, methods and ideas. It seems almost ironic that in the age of state-of-the-art technology and constant connectivity that we hunt for vintage design. We’re talking textiles, prints, furniture – even typography and signage. We have more access than ever to fonts, digital type and print facilities yet hand-rendered sign writing is the new trend.
As experts in interior design we understand the different ways we experience a space and the factors we can consider to alter or improve it. There are several components to take into account when designing interiors which may help uncover why vintage pieces are highly sought after design elements. We experience a space through the senses – sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell – all of which are easily triggered with retro objects such as the aesthetics of a shag-pile rug, the feel of an old varnished table, the look of a lava lamp or smell of old books. These senses trigger our emotional responses – playing on our personal experiences, memories and those connotations.
Rooms filled with antiques offers a snapshot into the time and place that piece was created, allowing us to escape from our own reality. Think of introducing vintage pieces into a design scheme as the same process as buying a souvenir. Retro decor is here to stay – here’s a collection of our favourite vintage inspired designs for you to enjoy!