Vintage style – interior design styles 21.

The vintage style is an interior design trend that refers to older periods and exudes a nostalgic atmosphere, often incorporating elements of antique, retro, and other old styles. Below is a summary of the characteristics of vintage style:

Within vintage style – classic modernist, mid-century Scandinavian modernist, and the most beloved vintage, the rustic white vintage interior – picture mix

  • Color Scheme: The color palette of vintage style is rather charming, cheerful, fresh, but not gaudy. Typical colors include pastel shades such as powder pink, light blue, mint green, and yellow. Additionally, earth tones like beige, brown, and gray are often used, especially when referring to the first half of the 20th century in the interior. Matured or worn-out colors are also characteristic.
  • Form Design: In vintage style, shapes and details are important. For larger furniture pieces, simpler designs with characteristic lines take precedence, while smaller pieces tend to have more intricate details and playfulness. Thus, smaller furniture and decorations can have more rounded lines and finer carvings or decorations.
  • Use of Patterns: Vintage style often includes patterns such as flowers, stripes, or geometric shapes. Vibrant patterns and various textures contribute to a warm and friendly atmosphere.
  • Textiles: Natural materials like cotton, linen, and silk are often used in vintage-style interior design. Delicate floral patterns are quite common. However, these are avoided if opting for a classic modernist furniture approach within the vintage framework. Smaller decorative items often feature lace and other embellished textiles to evoke a timeless atmosphere.
  • Material Properties: Various materials can be used in vintage style, but they should be high-quality and durable. Wood, leather, canvas, silk, and porcelain are frequently found.
  • Furniture Characteristics: Vintage style includes old, restored, and refurbished furniture, which can be made of wood, wood-metal-leather combinations, industrially processed wood (veneer, plywood), or turned wood (chair, table, cabinet legs). The forms of furniture are generally simple and can be either angular or curved, with elegance derived from the lines rather than ornamentation (which is usually avoided). They are airy, almost always standing on visible, thin legs to enhance the airy effect – almost as if floating. A true vintage piece is original, typically 40-100 years old. However, when creating a vintage-style room, it is completely secondary whether the furniture is 50 years old or manufactured last month. The main point is that it harmonizes with the room’s style and other furnishings to achieve the intended overall look. An eclectic effect with a mix of antique or retro furniture is also accepted in vintage style. Therefore, one might encounter richly carved wooden furniture as well as lighter, simpler forms typical of retro style, sometimes even in bright colors.
  • Vintage interior design often uses home accessories that are older (or appear older – antique). These can include old pictures, mirror frames, crystal chandeliers, porcelain items (knick-knacks), or old books. Silver or bronze decorations, such as vases, candle holders, and clocks, can also be beautiful accessories.

The emergence of vintage style dates back to the mid-20th century when people began to take an interest in the past, and the fascination with antique furniture and items grew. In the 1970s, with the rise in popularity of retro style, vintage style also gained new momentum. In recent years, vintage style has come back into fashion, allowing for the creation of unique, personal interior design by combining old and new elements.

Let’s look in more detail:

There are several approaches to defining vintage style.

Like retro or antique styles, vintage is not just a single style but an experience of an era.

  • To understand this debate, it’s practical to start from retro and go backward. Some argue that retro refers to what has gone out of fashion in the past 20 years. Anything older than that but not older than 100 years, or at least more recent than 1900, is vintage, and anything even older is antique. According to this, these definitions should continuously change with time. That is, what is retro now are items from after the year 2000. Therefore, vintage refers to what came before. So, as time passes, what is retro will eventually become vintage, and if we neglect to update our vintage interior, will it turn into antique?
    Some place this boundary not at 20 years but around 1980, or some even earlier, around the 1960s.
  • Another theory suggests that only at least 20-year-old, original items can be called vintage. They argue that retro is a current thing, which mimics past fashion, and you are not buying the original but a reproduction that just looks like the old one. In contrast, vintage can only be what is original from that time, not just looks like it, but was actually made then. Some further narrow this period to between 1920 and 1980. So, if you have a 1960s-style radio that is an original tube radio, it is vintage, but if it just looks old while being a modern manufacture with a hidden CD tray or a USB port, it’s just retro-looking. Similarly, you can buy a retro-looking stove or refrigerator, and even if it has a design from the 1950s or 1960s, you can’t call it vintage because it hides modern mechanics inside.

Ultimately, even if we can broadly define the era, it is confusing that many styles coexisted within this period. It seems contradictory to classify them all as vintage.

  • One category could be the furniture of the classic modernism period, their revival. This could include a late Art Nouveau, or a bit of Art Deco, as well as Bauhaus with either its tubular steel or lightweight wooden furniture, and its functionalist approach favoring open storage, fitting well with the vintage characteristic of “visibly” decorating the interior with small objects.

Within vintage style – unadorned black tubular classic modernist kitchen furniture trend

  • Another category is mid-century modernism, typically influenced by Scandinavian design, which often features softer lines and a more feminine touch. The use of materials, colors, and forms is gentler compared to earlier styles. Here we see shapes like the egg chair, reimagined previously antique wing chairs, and Scandinavian tulip-shaped chairs and armchairs.

Within vintage style – mid-century Scandinavian modernist white living room

  • But NO and NO! Despite all this, when people talk about vintage, most think of images similar to the following.

    These are the so-called country style enthusiasts, who favor white furniture, light pastel, restrained, timeless environments. This dominant vintage trend features simpler 20th-century furniture influenced by country style but less ornate. Cabinets are mostly rectangular with paneled or wainscoted bodies and door fronts, which align with the classical modernist constructionist approach. The more details visible in, for example, the creation of a door, such as a visible wooden frame and distinguishable paneling, the more old-fashioned it appears. Over time, paneling disappears, replaced by a plywood panel, and eventually, the door framing also disappears, leaving only the visible edge of the body around the door to hint at its original characteristics. These stages essentially move from country style toward a more modern, now-trendy minimalist Scandinavian style.

White vintage-style study room – based on Scandinavian country and mid-century Scandinavian modernist foundations

Within vintage style, as we increasingly incorporate Scandinavian country and then modernist furniture trends, the visual result is a more streamlined furniture style. When nostalgic and calm permanence is achieved only by the elegance of plain inserts in simple wooden-framed doors. However, these pieces often feature glass cabinet designs, allowing for style variation depending on the accessories displayed inside, and providing a feminine charm. Open shelves, as a stylistic element, offer outstanding opportunities for placing accessories.

From the above three visual styles, people generally aim to recreate the third version when thinking of vintage.

As we move from modernist features toward country styles based on the three images above, we transition from masculine to feminine traits. The softening effect of country styles prevails, bringing a sense of delicacy and almost gentleness. Followers of a slower, more conservative lifestyle often choose simpler, more conservative furniture forms influenced by the 19th-century industrial revolution, even opting for more ornate pieces, especially when considering French or English country styles. For instance, English country style obviously reflects Victorian influence, which theoretically ended around the turn of the century (1901), but persisted in rural styles. In contrast, Scandinavian country style is simpler and more puritan. Furniture predating vintage is referred to as antique, so antique-style furniture can be included in vintage. Some opinion makers go so far in the vintage field as to call everything vintage, whether it’s a Chesterfield sofa or a baroque piece of furniture.This might be a bit hard to digest. Obviously, there can be a delicate curved world, it can be pink, it can be velvet; a larger upholstered surface needs to be somehow handled, so it can be quilted, it can be tufted, and even a Chesterfield can fit into a vintage interior if we consider it merely as a complementary rather than a dominating piece.

Overall, it’s a special blend of styles from the last century. So, the vintage style evokes styles from the past century, such as the extravagant, premium material, and functionalist design of Art Deco furniture, or the natural plant motifs from Art Nouveau, which are best imagined in vintage through wallpaper patterns or drapery. Country styles appear in the form of furniture, but in terms of modern acceptance, less ornate ones are more favorably received. Therefore, the less ornate or more puritan Scandinavian country and Scandinavian modernist-inspired furniture can be played with more elegantly today by complementing them with smaller but more ornate accessories and decorative objects. Despite vintage’s origins being traced back to French country styles, whose furniture was more ornate and detailed.

The atmosphere of vintage-style interior design. The main goal is to create a pleasant, nostalgic, and warm ambiance. To achieve this atmosphere, the harmony of timeless designs of furniture and accessories is sought. Overall, vintage style combines elements of different styles from 60 to 80 years ago (a style evolution).

Responding to the perceptible public taste, we are better off narrowing down vintage-appropriate styles as follows:

White vintage-style study room – based on Scandinavian country and mid-century Scandinavian modernist foundations

Vintage interior design style was born in France and quickly spread. The most popular trend is a style rooted in French country style but strongly influenced by Scandinavian country and Scandinavian modernist styles based on the furniture. Vintage encompasses graceful features like femininity, elegance, charming, and enchanting romantic solutions. Achieving this style requires not only antique furniture, fabrics, or dishes but also a special mindset and skill. However, this cannot be accomplished with the aforementioned view that only original furniture and objects should be sought. Since this trend has become so popular that meeting its originality is impossible, you can now find vintage interior design accessories in the offerings of many manufacturers, which bear the characteristics of vintage. Their surfaces are artificially antique, weathered, thus while being new interior pieces, they also evoke an old-fashioned feel.

White vintage-style kitchen – based on Scandinavian country and mid-century Scandinavian modernist foundations

Characteristics of vintage interior design style include the use of numerous decorative, intricate embellishments, furniture and accessories surviving from the Victorian era, delicate patterned fabrics, dinnerware with floral patterns, vases, clocks, and other accessories that will look particularly splendid together. Vintage interiors are closely related to flowers. It can be a bouquet of wildflowers or roses. In addition, the use of butterflies, handwritten old-fashioned text excerpts, seals can also be typical.

White vintage-style bathroom – based on Scandinavian country foundations

The essence is to feel good in the end, reflecting the romance, love, and charm of life. Vintage can be mixed with other styles such as rustic, farmhouse, or modern styles.

White vintage-style bedroom – based on Scandinavian country foundations

The colors of the vintage style include soft pastel shades, white, off-white, various mild shades of pink. Complementary colors can be gray, and in antiquing, brown and gold. The key is not to use flashy colors and to ensure harmony in the color palette of the room.

Vintage-style – clutter-free white country kitchen furniture trendVintage-style – clutter-free white country kitchen furniture trend / All images in the article were drawn by DALL-E.


In vintage interior design style, we select from the characteristic furniture and other decorative elements of decades past to build harmony. Vintage interior design style carries the marks of timelessness, nostalgia, and elegance, creating a special atmosphere in the apartment. Combining mostly country and modernist furniture spanning nearly 100 years, along with distinctive textiles and decorations from bygone eras, makes this style particularly attractive to those who appreciate tried-and-true design and the atmosphere of the past.