Office furniture trends are always shifting and evolving. Functionally and aesthetically, new styles come and go, transforming to fit demand. However, many timeless design models stick around, gaining dashes of contemporary flair where it fits. Of these influential classics, mid-century design is perhaps the most prominent and celebrated, particularly over the last decade. Rooted in the post-war design revival of the 1940s, mid-century design is being reflected in modern interpretations from all over the world. Sleek, clean edges with a paired down minimalist slant are a staple of many in-vogue designers.

Recently, we’ve seen a number of collections taking mid-century design and incorporating elements of art deco, creating a blended perspective we might call “retro”. Now, we’re not talking about the flashy styling that retro may evoke. We’re talking pastel color palettes, metal accents, and unique textiles. When tastefully implemented, these retro elements add a refined quirk to your space.

Here are some of our favorite retro trends that are finding a well-deserved place in modern design:

Pastel Retro Colors

Turquoise, mint green, and orange; gold, brown, and yellow. These subdued but standout color palettes have made a comeback. Incorporate these hues into walls and textiles for the best effect. Be cautious of going overboard with these colors; instead, utilize them primarily as accents. Implementing these characteristic pastels with restraint also gives you the option to match a couple different areas of your space with the same color, which can help maintain a cohesive balance when using non-neutral retro tones.

Metal Accents

Retro styling embraces the chrome, whether in tables and chairs or mirrors and lighting. A bit of gleam and shine can add some attractive contrast to a space, if used sparingly. Like pastel colors, too much chrome can overwhelm the aesthetic of a room. Introduce metal as an accent, such as in desk lamps or retro “uplights” — vertical spotlights angled up and onto walls from the floor.

Unique Textiles and Surface Materials

When we say retro, it’s hard not to think of velvet sofas, busy wallpaper, and linoleum floors. Don’t discount these kinds of elements! The key here, like much of the styling in this post, is in utilizing these retro materials as accents.

A breakroom couch may be the perfect piece to reupholster with geometric or velvet-like textiles (which are much easier to clean than traditional velvet). If that’s not quite your aesthetic, you may find that a checkerboard linoleum floor or geometric patterned rug adds a loose and casual character to your breakroom. Though a flowery wallpaper may not fit the office environment, a subtle textured wallpaper like grass cloth may be the perfect accent to a lobby where you welcome clients. These small components will make a difference in your overall aesthetic.

Retro is back and in-vogue as a style to complement and accent your space. Muted pastel colors, chrome accessories, and patterned surfaces are great ways to achieve some of that throwback panache. Environments works with a fantastic selection of office furniture with a retro touch, alongside a wide variety of designs. Contact us today to learn how we can help accentuate and elevate your aesthetic.