Large scale geometrics, in-your-face florals, rich and vibrant colours, and oversized abstract designs. Yep, we’re in the midst of a 70s comeback in the interior design world. Nostalgia is a key theme in 2023, making us reach for those dated prints and patterns, and giving retro wallpaper the revival it’s been waiting for.
While a major focus for designers and architects is the 70s resurgence (cue cool archways, curvy furniture and satisfyingly textured cord), there’s also retro of every kind in this year’s home design narrative. Stories of 80s diners and bowling alleys, tales of mid-century modern fashion and consumerism, and chronicles of art deco reappearing through decades like an unshakeable addiction… all of this comes to life in this year’s retro wallpaper trend!
Here are some murals to consider if you’re looking to update your home with a touch of retro, ready for the new season.
Retro terrazzo wallpaper
Mural in image: Candy Terrazzo
We simply cannot talk about the 70s without mentioning terrazzo. This mish-mash flooring material is poured in place with chips of marble, granite, quartz or glass to create a pick and mix effect. The finished result is colourful, unique and multi-dimensional, but with a smooth surface, making it ideal for floors, walls and kitchen counters.
This material saw a massive surge in popularity (although short-lived) in 1970s America and has since made its way back into the mainstream. But in recent years, we’ve seen terrazzo not just as a tile or on floors, but as retro wallpaper. With terrazzo wallpaper, you can get the look without the commitment of a full renovation – and it’s a great alternative to marble if you’re bored of the millennial marble trend.
Pastel shapes and curves
Mural in image: Pastel Shapes
There’s something very comforting about curves and circular silhouettes in interiors, as seen in this ‘Pastel Shapes’ mural from our collection. In fact, both interior designers and psychologists agree that curves have the power to relax us and promote better wellbeing, so we can take that as gospel. Need a mood lift? Add round shapes to your living space!
Rounded shapes – as opposed to harsh lines – are naturally soothing to the eye. They make sense in the context of nature, have an easy flow, and create smooth movements to connect different elements of the room.
The return of art deco murals
Mural in image: Vintage Mermaid
Art deco (meaning French Arts Décoratifs) first emerged in the 1920s and the French government funded its unveiling to the world at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. It took the globe by storm and has consistently come in and out of fashion ever since.
No matter what decade, deco styles have always been embraced – and this ‘Vintage Mermaid’ mural is a celebration of retro wallpaper trends that go way back. Plus, there are also extra style points for black and gold or navy and gold wallpaper – one of the hottest colour combinations we’re seeing in 2023. Dark wallpaper colours can be transformed with metallic accents, creating a super luxurious look that instantly elevates your home. Achieve super high-end interiors for less, and add a layer of sophistication to your design scheme.
Retro flower power walls
Mural in image: Greenhouse Pastel
If there’s one thing that defines the 70s it has to be flower power. Florals were a big deal during this moment in time and they appeared everywhere, from clothing and artwork to fabrics and walls. What’s really characteristic of this period is the use of different florals within the same space. Think florals of every size, shape and colour – as well as clashing floral prints that are totally (and purposefully) mismatched.
This ‘Greenhouse Pastel' mural looks just as great on its own as a simple feature wall, or balanced against a whole bunch of other botanicals. Layer on the floral prints with cushions and artwork, and don’t bother searching for tonal colours. Go bold and dare to experiment with big, loud, blaring contrasts.
Retro shapes (but supersized)
Mural in image: Terracotta Tiles
Make way for oversized prints in wallpaper design this year, something that goes hand in hand with the 70s resurgence. Bright geometric shapes in shades such as brown, orange, mustard yellow, purple and green are definitely highly coveted – but don’t just be drawn in by the most obvious colour palettes from this decade.
You can get the retro look with a whole rainbow of hues – particularly rich blues and red that are ultra-pigmented but not too bright. This ‘Terracotta Tiles’ mural is the perfect example of retro done in a modern way, making it ideal for your home office, a dull hallway, or somewhere more central such as your living or dining room.
Dark retro wallpaper
Mural in photo: Nouveau Tulip
This ‘Nouveau Tulip’ wallpaper by Nici Gabriel takes on two important trends in recent years – the dark interiors trend and the vintage florals trend. We love how this mural can be styled with mid-century modern pieces in your furniture collection, and how it brings out the wood finishes in antique sideboards.
It’s also a mural that is surprisingly versatile. It’s perfect as a feature wall in any bedroom, office or living room. At the same time, it can add a high-end finish to your hallway, giving the space a grown-up makeover – and this works especially well in narrow townhouses where long halls can be otherwise boring to walk through. This wallpaper is a talking point too, so prepare for your guests to be wowed.
Old paisley made modern
Mural in photo: Paisley
Paisley wallpaper is a sure winner for the retro wallpaper trend this year. Big, bold prints have become a fast favourite and wallpaper murals are all about making a statement. While traditional paisley wallpapers (which shot to popularity in the 1960s) feature small, intricate patterns that cannot be picked out from a distance, new paisley grabs your attention instantly.
Supersized and modernised, murals like this ‘Pastel Paisley’ wallpaper are not made for the shy and retiring. Choose a wallpaper like this – and you better style it with conviction. Opt for simple furnishings with smooth edges to allow the paisley print to take centre stage.
Are you a fan of retro interiors? Which is your favourite decade and what sort of retro or vintage wallpaper are you dreaming of in your home? Let us know in the comments below…