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interior design styles small bedroom ideas Modern Retro-2

The next article in my mini series of bedroom design ideas is going to be Modern Retro, an innovative interior design style that’s really shaped how and what we see around us today.

Retro interior design style flourished in the 60’s and 70’s, when designers Charles & Ray Eames made the well-known Eames Lounge Chair, which questioned the ergonomics and function of furniture. Retro has always been a respected style – check out Wes Anderson’s latest film, Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), and you’ll see what I mean. The hotel lobby oozes a luxurious 60’s feel. With architecture, the Brutalist movement of this era used concrete and rawness to add an ‘atmospheric’ sense of space.

Modern Retro continues to convey this solidarity, sense of atmosphere and luxury whilst artfully merging old and new to bring out the playfulness and fun of interior décor and align it with 21st century living.


Modern Retro flooring can simply be laminated beech wood floor. There’s no fussing about with it. The minimalistic, authenticity and lightness of the beech allows us to focus on other elements of the style.

If you want to jazz it up a bit, a rug in proportion to your bedroom size can add a layer of fun and warmth.

interior design styles Modern Retro Dulux Colours


Similarly to the floors, keeping a basic light foundation with the walls in a white and light grey spectrum allows us to focus on the décor.

In the 1960s, it was not unusual for interiors to clad walls with sheets of wood to show a certain richness. Retro takes pride in indulging in rich, earthy tones with a pop of colour here and there.

With Modern Retro, we see a balance in these tones to suit an adaptable and airy way of living for the 21st Century. It expresses the earthy tones but in a lighter, fun hue, showcasing hints of bright orange, mustard yellow, lime green and grey (see image above). These colours shouldn’t be overbearing, so they can be expressed in an eccentric pattern within a wallpaper, bed sheet or poster, to contrast with the neutral coloured walls.


There are two significant materials used in Retro style and which are carried through to Modern Retro. These are teak wood and leather. By cleverly combining teak wood, a dark reddish brown wood which darkens with age, and leather, it gives a lavish and sophisticated Retro look.


Consider teak wood items to maintain consistency. Retro furniture is usually seen standing on low and minimalistic legs, which can be replaced with brightly coloured hairpin legs for a modern look. If you prefer, stick to cylinder wooden legs for ultimate Retro authenticity.

Chairsare practical, functional and aesthetically pleasing, often utilising smooth curves. You could have a low teak wood frame, with large built-in leather cushioning as an armchair, or a scooped white plastic desk chair, with sturdy wooden legs.

The furniture in this style is solid and basic in shape, offering a chance to use colourful accents. Place brightly coloured cushions around the room to create a warm and playful look.


Accessories can quickly transform a room into a fun and vibrant space. Think retro radios and black or white picture frames with minimalistic artwork, typography or signage in them. Indoor green leafy plants, such a split leaf plant in a big white or grey pot, will add a cool 60’s vibe.


Tall, thin and overhanging floor lamps will add a modern character to your bedroom, especially when they’re in bright colours. Place lamps over spaces that need extra light and highlight focal points of the bedroom. As with all interior styles, always allow as much natural light into the room as possible.

Interior Architecture

For this style, it’s pivotal to ensure there’s lots of open space. If you can work with it, symmetry is also important. Due to the playfulness of Modern Retro, and the way that Retro was a serious turning point for innovative design and thinking, the sleeping area shouldn’t necessarily be the focus of the bedroom.

Consider a conversation or entertainment area that uses retro armchairs and minimalistic 60’s teak wood furniture together with a modern flat screen TV.

Modern Retro is a careful balance of playfulness and minimalism. It’s aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. It’s a bedroom style that would suit someone who likes a practical clean cut style, but is also an innovative thinker and isn’t afraid to show a bit of personality with a pop of colour.

Here are some products that I think will make a great Modern Retro bedroom:

interior design styles OKA KARL CHAIR, LEATHER

OKA Karl Chair, leather

interior design styles John Lewis Orla Kiely Scribble Stem Bedding

John Lewis Orla Kiely Bedding

interior design styles John Lewis Anglepoise Floor Lamp

John Lewis Anglepoise Floor Lamp

interior design styles Houseology Vitra Charles & Ray Eames DAW Chair

Houseology White Vitra Charles & Ray Eames Chair

Type Mid Century Modern into the search for more ideas!

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