8 tricks to bring back retro details in recently-remodeled homes

vintage home remodel entryway

I hate when vintage homes get remodeled and lose all of their retro flavor. Once-quirky kitchens get stripped of their bright colors, funky appliances, and all personality, and get slathered with boring granite and Home Depot cabinets. Living rooms lose all personality and their fireplaces get "updated" and de-focal-pointed. It breaks my original detail-loving heart.

But there's hope! This Las Vegas home can give us all a great lesson in how to bring back some retro details to recently-remodeled homes!

1. Paint the front door a fun throw-back color

bright green front door

2. Add a vintage room divider

vintage remodel living room

3. Make the fireplace a focal point again

vintage fireplace remodel

4. Decorate with vintage items and colors

decorate with vintage throwback items

5. Use retro light fixtures

vintage remodel ideas

6. Paint modern kitchen cabinets with throw-back colors

how to vintage-ify modern kitchens

7. Display your vintage kitchen products

vintage kitchen products in a modern kitchen

8. Use retro patterns wherever you can

retro wall pattern

What are YOUR favorite ways to vintage-ify recently updated homes?

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  1. Thank you for this post! I would love to see more like them. I just bought a 100 year old home that was owned by the most boring people that loved light oak.

    3 agree
  2. This is perfectly-timed! This week, we closed on a house built in 1971 and we move in this weekend. We have a big, curved brick fireplace that I'm dying to paint a bright color(I'd be content with the original brick, but it has already been painted over) and I can't wait to display my vintage owl collection. I was so sad to find that the currently-white cabinets had previously been painted a gorgeous aqua color. I had intended on painting the cabinets roughly that color anyway and it would have saved so much time an effort had they not painted over all the beautiful details that gave the house character.

    1 agrees
  3. I love all these and have done most of them. My house was built in 1955, but was flipped by the guy we bought it from so it doesn't have any of that cool old stuff. We like to say that it looks like an antique store and Ikea got married. I have two vintage light fixtures (one from hubby's grandmother, one from a friend's grandmother) and several pieces of vintage furniture (also from hubby's grandmother). The wall paper in number 8 is very similar to a roll that I have (also from his grandmother!) but am too scared to use for fear of wasting it. I just wish there was a way to get back my beautiful wood doors and door frames, I can't stand the white 6-panel doors we have. If you're interested, here's some pics of the vintage touches in our house…
    grandma's light (and her flamingo mirror in the background): https://www.instagram.com/p/BHV2KZJgQ8H/
    vintage light, grandma's chair, grandpa's somberero, vintage gnome: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHIx1V5Awdi/
    vintage German stereo cabinet (holds modern tv accessories great!) https://www.instagram.com/p/_k7SwuEkdR/

  4. We were lucky enough to have a mid-century house that had only one prior owner. There were original oak floors under the carpet, birch cabinetry and maple interior doors & trim. We embraced the mix of woods. We bought some of our furniture (also mid-century & teak) from the prior home owner. We also had a lot of furniture handed down from our families that we didn't want to part with. The pieces were from many different eras and were made from different types of woods. In the end, it all worked together to create a vibe that was mostly traditional with a modern, whimsical touch. We recently bought a house that is also mid century, but has had many owners & has had some unfortunate upgrades. I am trying to find the right mix to make it work here. I don't have the energy to strip the paint off all the woodwork. I like your ideas of using mod fabrics & painting mid century colors onto surfaces that have been painted boring colors. I think that could really bring it all back together. Thanks!

  5. I agree with you SO HARD! There was this super cute ranch that my husband and I wanted to take a look at. It looked really adorable from the outside but when we looked at the listing online we were so disappointed! It's just so … well, it's freakin' boring as all hell to us. These are really great tips to liven up a house that has been subjected to unnecessary updating.

    Because I know you're so curious here's the link! http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/4738-SR-438_Dalton_PA_18414_M41524-50009#photo23

    1 agrees
    • Looks like a nice house. I wouldn't let surface details deter you from an otherwise good home!

      • The price is what deterred us more so than the updates! Our budget is 120K max which actually gives us the advantage of seeing homes that are less likely to have been updated.

  6. Good tips! I'm house hunting and there seems to be a lack of cool MCM houses for sale in my area (booo) but when I eventually get a house I'll redecorate it more to my liking. Most houses I've seen look like a country craft fair exploded in it..

  7. I love older homes, but after moving into my very boring, very ugly 20 year old home (which I guess is still kind-of old-ish?) it is kind-of nice to have weird grimey corners, fully functioning hinges, level floors, and not having to look for weird non-standard sizes for things. But I do pine for some interesting kitch to home decor.

    My husband knows I am not thrilled by this house, so he keeps asking about what homes I like in the area. And I told him my "dream home" is one that we build from scratch within a certain period. Get the best of both worlds. New things, but the look you want. ^__^

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