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Go retro

My family is in the planning stages of a massive renovation of our Ottawa home. For the past year I’ve been deep in the throes of big picture planning and we’ve been asking ourselves lots of questions such as: how many bathrooms do we need, what’s the best kind of kitchen layout, and can we make do without a garage? My head is spinning. Pinterest, along with all the inspiring interior design articles I’ve been consuming lately, has me bursting with ideas. But I’ve had to take a giant step backwards and start with nailing down our personal style. Frankly, I’m still not sure if I can define it. Retro modern? Casual glam? Quirky country? Classic contemporary? Gah. The one word that jumps out on that list for me is retro. I think when people introduce retro design into their homes it makes their living space really shine, and this personality injection is something I’d like more of.

One easy way to do this is to introduce a few retro elements into a household. There’s no better way to do this than by scouring Used listings (which I have been doing, rather obsessively) for inexpensive touches.

The one thing I’d really like is a working rotary phone. Extra points if it’s a wall phone, or if it a black one, like this one on UsedOttawa.

Or what about an antique radio? They’re not very expensive. We actually have one! Here is ours, nestled in our bookcase:

They don’t make them like this anymore. It has a solid wood casing, and actually works (which just adds to the cool factor if you ask me).

Another item that can add a retro element to a home design is seating. Retro chairs can be a relatively inexpensive way to inject some fun into your decor. Check out this red chrome chair.  I love this yellow one too!

What about old signs? Even if they’re new ones made to look old, they can be pretty cool. Especially in a rec room. Here’s one I like from UsedOttawa.

Before our children came along, my husband and I had a collection of vintage cameras on display. It got put away awhile ago, but I think once our reno is over we will resurrect it. It’s too good to keep squirrelled away in storage. This one would be a good addition to our collection. Maybe we could find a way to display it on this liquor cart! Ha. I think my parents had one just like it.

Another inexpensive way to add that retro touch is by printing vintage images and having them framed. How about scanning some vintage hockey cards and turning them into a poster?

If you have the “retro” bug like I do, let me give you a tip. Use use “retro” or “vintage” or “antique” as one of your search terms the next time you are browsing your local Used site. You never know what treasures you might find!

Mother of two imps and wife of one. Writer, photographer, pro blogger, adventure-seeker, Ottawaholic, social media evangelist and lover of STUFF. Also known as @missfish on Twitter.

2 Responses to “Go retro”


I adore retro, but sadly, my husband does not. He can’t understand why someone would want old junk in their house. GAH. Perhaps this explains why our house is still barren of wall art and decoration of any kind?


    Andrea Tomkins

    I think the answer is that to make sure it’s personal. My husband and I love photography, so it makes sense for us to have a display of old cameras. Granted, a lot of what is branded “retro” out there is truly junky. But this is also in the eye of the beholder. 🙂

    For me, a lot of the retro stuff that catches my eye is really about great design… which can be hard to find nowadays. For example, can you honestly look at your home phone and say that you love it, and that’s it’s beautiful? I can’t. That’s why I’d love one of those rotary phones. I just love the design of them.

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