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11 retro design archetypes — which style are you?

retro design styleA while back, Pam and I created 11 retro decorating “archetypes” — and “retroscopes” to go with. We made these as a “freemium” for the signing up for our newsletter… and now, we decided to just put all this analysis out there. This archetyping was mostly in the spirit of fun, but reading through the retro vintage design styles we gave names to again, well, golly, we still kinda think they capture the different buckets pretty accurately. What do you think? Which archetype, or mix of archetypes are YOU? 

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Did we miss any???

No matter what your retro style – or mix – rest assured that here on Retro Renovation, you can feel at home. In fact, we are pretty insanely crazy about ALL the retro styles – so, we cover them all. To top it off, our community of readers really is like one big, retro-loving family – appreciative of everyone’s unique style – because, yup, we know: There’s more than one way to retro.

See the archetypes enlarged:

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:


  1. Kelly Montano says:

    Thanks Pam! I learned a long time ago that a happy home is not just a well decorated home, but one that your loved ones feel comfortable in. My fiance is coming around and has semi-embraced my mid century style obsession. He has the whole 40 foot basement to decorate all by himself and has already picked up a 1967 pool table off of Craigslist as the focus of his dream entertainment room. I also showed him the post about the 1966 Rat Pack Vegas time capsule home and now he wants to find a few of those awesome Moe pendant lights for above the pool table. Over time his vision has become a little more sixties swanky thanks to the posts I show him on Retro Renovation. It is such an awesome resource! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. pam kueber says:

    Very cool! Be sure to take lots of before, during and after photos and submit them to the blog when you’re ready for prime time!

  3. Jackie says:

    Definately rocka a billy! I had a kitchen set that was pink, gray, and white boomerang with hair pin legs. Chairs were pink and white with hair pin legs. Unfortunately, we were living in Homestead Fl when hurricane Andrew came thru and it didn’t survive. Neither did the majority of my spaghetti poodles! I also have a weakness for danish modern furniture and have a stereo circa 1964 in the danish style that I STILL PLAY.

  4. Jukesgrrl says:

    Yes! I live in Tucson, AZ, and we still have plenty of MCM ranches around here where the interiors are definitely “Tostada,” whether they are highlighting the Mexican, the cowboy, or the home-steader design vibe.

  5. Kathy says:

    I guess I fit in the tasteful traditionalist category with a big dash of trash to treasure. My tastes cover all just about all historical periods and I love color and pattern and texture. I wasn’t much of a fan of MCM until I found your blog five years ago, and it has helped me appreciate the circa 1962 touches in my remodeled bungalow. I think just about any style and time period can be beautiful if done right.

  6. Joe Felice says:

    My style is definitely minimalist. I say “If I can’t do it like Cullen, I’m not even going to go there!” But I do collect cat statuary, and there was no shortage of that back in the day (along with poodles, which I never really cared for, except on skirts). And I tend to go with the bright colors that I recall from the ’50s & ’60s. My nod to the ’70s & ’80s is the worlds largest collection of disco songs. I did not really like the colors of the ’70s (although I did do a bathroom in red, white and blue foil wallpaper to celebrate the Bicentennial), but that was a disaster to accessorize without it’s looking like a museum at a military base! But the music of the ’70s was the best ever!

  7. RocketSquirrel says:

    Just discovered this fun post! We’re trash-to-treasure mid-modern mashups. On our main floor–an open space of living room, kitchen, dining and sitting areas–we bought only four pieces new, and they’re all IKEA. (One is the tulip table!) The rest are ReStore, craigslist, and even a few street treats. Of course one of the chairs has been wearing a sheet over it’s head for months since I only reupholstered half of it so far.

    And our sofa is, indeed, a not-my-style sectional in greige from craigslist whose best property is that I don’t care who spills what on it. I’m still coveting the Petrie sofa at Crate and Barrel. Someday, when the children are no longer walking disasters…. Someday….

  8. Julie says:

    I feel like I’m a combo of 7, 8 & 10. We built our house new with Retro in mind. We feel pretty lucky.

  9. I’m definitely a #7, Grandma’s Little Darling. When I found a retro floral couch that looked like it had been protected by plastic (just like a grandma would do), I bought it without showing it to hubby and prayed he’d like it. I think I’d prefer to be a Rockabilly Classic, but it would take too much work and expense.

  10. Zovesta says:

    Love all of these! Who did the art? 🙂

    I’d say I’m closest to Rockabilly Classic, but I’m not really any of them. I love aspects of retro design, but I love modern day tastes. For example: I like pink bathrooms, but Mamie pink is so warm in tone it drives me a little insane and gives me a gross feeling. So I like cooler, cotton candy pink with white to make the room seem “healthy”! I don’t like following trends – new or old – blindly. I’d rather look at everything and pull together a look that seems comfortable to me. My tastes just happen to include atomic shapes and a pastel palette!

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