What exactly is retro furniture? Which era is considered retro and which is simply old? Furniture styles which were seen in the decades of 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s are known as retro. At that time, the war was over, there was a joy in the air and creativity was bursting through everywhere. New products, materials and designs were being launched.  Some examples of such experiments were melamine, Formica, loud prints and curvy lines in design.

retro furniture chairs

Some reasons why retro furniture is back in fashion:

  1. If you want to express your ideas and creativity through your home décor, retro furniture is the way to go. Retro style has vibrant color schemes like avocado green and burnt orange color which suit most creative palettes and ideas.
  2. Another reason for the popularity of retro furniture is its nostalgic appeal. Everyone likes some reminders of their childhood and what better way to bring back those memories than to use retro style furniture in your home. It brings a sense of comfort in home.
  3. It is said that style works in a circular way. What is currently trendy will soon get old and what is old will come back as the latest trend. This also goes for retro style furniture items. The older look of retro appeals to this generation because many of us are tired of the common modern designs and want a new experience.
  4. The fun element of retro furniture. These furniture items have a funky sense of design and make a bold statement. Instead of stark plainness which defines the modern and contemporary furniture style, retro style offers rich and eclectic colors, design and details.
  5. Another appealing factor is that you can find these retro furniture items for cheap. As they are still rising in popularity, they haven’t become as pricey as the trendiest options in the market. Also, there is a good chance that you can find many retro pieces in your own attic or basement. If you opt for this style, you get a completely new and bold home décor at a fraction of price.
  6. Retro furniture is also a good choice for the environment. When you use old furniture instead of buying new, you save trees and reduce your carbon footprint.
  7. These furniture items are also treated as collectibles. If you opt for a retro theme for your home décor, you get a new collecting hobby. Not only that, many of these pieces can be very valuable on market as retro furniture items are a popular choice amongst hobbyists and collecting enthusiasts. Their value increase in value as they get old. So it’s prudent to hold on to these items.

This green tufted sofa is a great retro piece that is almost a Chesterfield sofa, adding a bit more of a shabby chic touch.

retro furniture sofa

These retro furniture pieces can also be passed on to your children and grandchildren as vintage heirlooms. These items will be source of stories for your coming generations.

This book “Retro Furniture Classics” by Fay Sweet is a great resource to learn more:

retro furniture book

Reclaimed wood furniture is made from wood which had been previously used in old structures like barns and warehouses. Using reclaimed wood furniture is one of the best ways to preserve the existing forests and tress because when old wood is repurposed and reused, new trees don’t get cut. It helps reduce global warming and also saves the natural habitat of flora and fauna found in forests. Apart from conserving environment, many people opt for reclaimed wood furniture as it is usually cheaper, more durable and adds a unique charm to the décor.

Here are some reasons why you should for reclaimed wood next time you go furniture buying:

1.  Reclaimed wood furniture pieces are environmentally friendly: When you buy reclaimed wood, you can rest assured that you aren’t contributing to severe environmental issues like deforestation, global warming. The first part of recycling is reusing and reclaimed wood is just that. Reclaimed wood also doesn’t require a large amount of energy for its production and hence reduces the carbon footprint.

reclaimed wood frame

2.  Reclaimed wood furniture has a unique charm of its own:Just like fine things like cheese, wine, scotch, and whiskey wood also matures with age. Wood is very durable and as time passes, old wood gains a unique charm of its own which never goes out of style. This is why it is such a popular choice among builders and interior decorators. Wooden furniture blends in with several different themes and styles of home décor and doesn’t go out of style. And reclaimed wood furniture adds its own unique charm to the room. The main appeal of reclaimed wood is its excellent grain which is enhanced after the finishing process.


3.  Reclaimed wood furniture usually costs less: Wood is an expensive manufacturing material. Often, reclaimed wood furniture is priced lower than the new pieces as the manufacturer doesn’t have to pay money for tasks like chopping, shipping etc. Also, as this wood is purchased just before it is going to be destroyed, the sellers are happy to sell it at a lower price because otherwise, they would have to go through a lot of trouble to get rid of these old wood pieces.

4.  Reclaimed wood can be stronger:In many cases, reclaimed wood turns out to be stronger and sturdier than the new wood because the old wood was cut from the trees in an era when we didn’t have issues like ozone layer depletion, global warming, and commercial tree growing. This resulted in a wood which is stronger than the new wood which comes from tress affected by the factors mentioned above.

reclaimed wood wine rack

Before buying reclaimed wood furniture, you should make sure of important things like:

  1. Is it high quality? You can get good quality reclaimed wood if you buy from the trusted and reputed companies.
  2. Before purchasing reclaimed wood furniture, make sure that the entire piece is made from reclaimed wood. Many manufacturers try to cheat the customers by aging new wood to look like old or buy using reclaimed wood in the easily visible parts only.
  3. Where the wood was reclaimed from?
  4. The types of joints used: Dovetail joints are the best and most sturdy joints and are used in making high quality furniture pieces.
  5. Type of finish used: Most inexperienced carpenters simply use a lot of wax for finishing purposes and it is not ideal as wax becomes visibly white in cold and starts melting in higher temperatures.

Reclaimed wood +Rolling+Box

Antique shabby chic French furniture is one of the most popular furniture styles. Whether you want a farmhouse feel or a palace like look, French furniture style offers something for everyone.

A big benefit of choosing a French theme for your furniture is that this style goes well in many types of rooms. Whether it is a rustic feeling kitchen or an intimate and romantic boudoir, suitable French furniture pieces can be found for both options. The aged feel found in many rustic classic French furniture articles provides a comforting and refreshing change from the ultra-modern furniture styles we commonly see.

Instead of buying new antique looking French furniture, you can easily make-over any wooden furniture into rustic and shabby chic French style furniture with some paint and finishes. Classic French style colors include soft shades of light and breezy colors like blue, yellow and white. A furniture item painted in French-style will add warmth and charm to your room décor. Painting any normal furniture to look like French style is an easy task and it doesn’t cost much. You can recycle old furniture items and get a totally new look for your home at a budget price.

Here is a step-by-step guide about how to paint your furniture for a rustic French look:

  1. Choose a wooden furniture item which you want to give a new look. You can find something in your house or you can buy something which suits your tastes from a secondhand shop. The furniture doesn’t need to be antique but its shape is an important factor to consider. As most French furniture have curves, in design or details, any furniture items which has some curved details will be a good choice.
  2. If you want to replace them, take off the hardware items like knobs, handles, and pulls. Otherwise, you should cover them up with painter’s tape to protect them from paint and finishes. If you’re renovating any upholstered furniture item, you should remove the upholstery or you can cover it with newspaper or plastic. Next, cover your working area with a painter’s drop cloth or an old bed-sheet.
  3. Remove the original polish of the furniture using sandpaper.
  4. Apply a thin coat of primer. Make sure that you are using wood primer, not metal primer.french furniture paint
  5. Then apply one coat of the darker shade of paint. Let it dry. This coat of paint is known as a base coat. The base coat will get covered by another coat of paint in a lighter shade. This is done to create surface texture.
  6. Once the base coat has dried, apply a coat of the lighter shade of paint. Let it dry. The outer coat should be the color you want your furniture to be.
  7. Now to get a rustic, shabby chic or antique look for your freshly painted furniture, use steel wool to rub away small areas of the outer coat.
  8. Again, proceed to remove more paint with coarse sandpaper. But you should do this only in the spots where natural wear and tear happens, leading to faded or removed paint in areas like corners, edges and around the hardware like handles and knobs. This will result in an antique and shabby chic look.
  9. Take a step back and take a look at your work. If you have removed too much paint, you should add some back in.
  10. Now for finishing, take some furniture wax and rub a thin coat of it all over your renovated furniture item. Furniture wax is available in several tints, shades and color. Let it dry and then buff it.

painted french furniture

Mirrored furniture was a major part of 1930’s art and home décor style. Now updated with better designs to meet modern sensibilities, mirrored furniture is back in fashion and here to stay.  These furniture pieces look elegant and add class and beauty to a room.  As mirror reflects light, these furniture pieces also make a room look bigger than it is. Also, if there is a lack of proper sunlight and your room looks a bit dull and dim, add one of these elegant mirrored pieces to ensure more brightness in the room.

Some pieces can be very elaborate and also expensive. mirrored furniture

Want a great mirrored piece without the high price? You can make your own at home.  Before you begin, know that accurate measurements are the key to success of this DIY project. It’s always better to measure twice and cut once. This project is easier completed with a small furniture piece with straight lines and edges such as a coffee table or side table. But feel free to get crazy and creative!

Here is a list of things which you will need for this DIY project:

  1. A piece of furniture
  2. Paint supplies
  3. Measuring tape or ruler
  4. Mirror Glue
  5. Mirror cut to size, with polished edges
  6. Gloves and Eye protection gear
  7. Grout
  8. Acetone

Here is how to make mirrored furniture at home in just 5 easy steps:

  1. Get hold of an old and inexpensive furniture piece. Perhaps you can find something in your storage room or attic or you can buy it from Craigslist.
  2. Paint it in the color of your choice.
  3. Measure the area where you want to apply the mirror. Now get the mirror cut at any local hardware store according to the size requirements. Ask them to polish the edges.
  4. Apply mirror glue at the back of mirror and stick it to the furniture. Put some tight tape on the mirror and tape it across the furniture so that the mirror doesn’t move while the glue dries.
  5. Apply grout to soften the edges and to fill in any gaps that may have been left. Clean the mirror with acetone. Let dry overnight.

Voila! You now have a trendy piece of mirrored furniture and that you didn’t pay an arm and a leg for. Enjoy the elegance, beauty and class it will add to your room.

My Home Ideas has a great example of this type of makeover:

mirror table

1.  You know exactly what you are getting:

Many manufacturers hide the low quality of wood used and poor carpentry skills behind the finishing. Everything looks good when it is painted and polished. But when you buy it unfinished, you can really see the wood used and how well is the furniture made.  In unfinished wood furniture, there is no hiding the defects under stains or paints.

Furniture Fashion has some great unfinished pieces in their post.

unfinished furniture

2.  It is customizable:

You can easily customize these unfinished pieces to suit your taste and home décor. Maybe the black painted furniture will go better with the color of your curtains, rugs and the wall paint, or maybe it’s white. But in the end, it will be whatever you want it to be. With unfinished furniture, you can choose the paint, the stains, the size, protective coatings etc. You can give it the full shabby chic furniture treatment!

Here is a great post with info on how to paint unfinished furniture from Painting Furniture.

3.  Made with love:

If you decide to finish it yourself, you can be sure that it is really made with love. Although sweat, cussing, tears and hard work may be involved too. But when you do finish it, you can be proud of something you made. It will be a proof of your hard work and persistence.  Finishing your own furniture gives you a sense of accomplishment and also saves you the time used in crafting, assembling and sanding the piece if you would have started from the scratch.

4.  It is cheaper than finished furniture:

When you buy your furniture unfinished, the manufacturer saves on labor, paint, polish etc. and this leads to a cheaper price for you. Quality solid wood furniture is made to last, so you get a piece that can be passed down for generations.

unfinished furniture


Need more information on buying unfinished furniture? Find it here at How Stuff Works.