Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Kate Smith

A childhood love of color turned into a college-age fascination with the interaction of colors, then into a career of color trend forecasting and product development. Today, Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH, is president and chief color maven at Sensational Color, a company that provides color knowledge and know-how to corporations primarily in the home industry. Kate is an inspirational keynote speaker and seminar leader, blending color theory and psychology into entertaining and informative talks that bring color to life.

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  • retro decorating
    Photo: Kate Smith
  • From longer, slimmer hemlines in fashion to mid-century furniture popping up in stores everywhere, retro is suddenly en vogue again. Vintage style with a slightly modern twist can easily be achieved in your home with a focus on the right furniture selections, accent pieces, and color choices.
    As we become an age enmeshed in technology and the busyness of the day-to-day, we have discovered that joy from our careers, possessions, or bank accounts can be short-lived. Nostalgia for yesteryear has us daydreaming of a slower paced lifestyle with an emphasis on more meaningful sources of wellbeing and personal balance.
    Along with a focus on family, functionality, and a "less is more" mantra, the retro revival also emphasized quality over quantity. As we think about this era, we are reminded to both live and design authentically. 
  • retro modern living room
    Photo: Elle Decor
  • Adding a green shag rug to your living room isn't the only way to keep with a retro vibe. This living room (above) works because of the emphasis on greens, blues, chocolate browns with subtle hints of mustard yellow--all standard fare in retro decor. It stays relevant with an area rug with just a nod to mod and swanky kelly-green club chairs.
    When designing in a retro scheme, keep furniture low and lines clean. Textural fabrics like velvets, leather, and tweeds are perfect choices for mid-century design. Choose earthy colors and natural fabrics that feel handmade or hand-dyed. Accessories can incorporate bolder colors that pop in the space.
  • retro modern
    Photo: HGTV
  • This beautiful dining space (above) screams retro-mod in the best way. The geometric shapes throughout the space--on fabrics, walls, and lighting--are subtle hints that don't overwhelm the room. Sticking with buttery yellows and deep dark browns allows the pumpkin orange wall to stand out against the credenza.

    The retro style of this room is a blend of clean line contemporary, mid-century modern, tag sale antiques, and Hollywood glamour. The result is a space that is fresh and comfortable, without being fussy.
  • retro modern living room
    Photo: Elle Decor
  • In this living room (above) graphic prints become the focal point. The furniture and accessories are kept clean-lined and fairly neutral so the room seems full and interesting, not busy.
  • retro modern kitchen
    Photo: HGTV
  • Kitchens can go retro with ease. Vivid red, robin-egg blue, and shiny stainless steel brings nostalgia into an otherwise modern space (above).

    Retro revival is about reminding ourselves that life doesn't need to be fast-paced, that dinner doesn't need to come out of a box or the microwave, and clothing and home decor don't have to come with a high price tag. Simple, purposeful homes filled with family, memories, and vintage homemade goods create spaces as mid-century as apple pie.
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