Photo Courtesy: Cindy Funk
Perhaps it’s the fact that the UK is alive with Jubilee fever, or perhaps it’s the current economic conditions, but retro chic has never been more fashionable. All of the major department stores are awash with kitchen accessories which are straight from the 1950s, and some of the hottest trends in fashion hark back to the 1960s and 1970s. But is it better to go out and buy a new piece of furniture or kitchen accessories in a retro style, or try to get hold of the real thing?
Demand and Supply
The current fad for all things retro has pushed up the price of items which are from the 1950s or 60s. Internet websites such as Ebay have also made selling retro goods far easier, and sellers are canny when it comes to getting the best price possible for their items. Prices are not as low as you may first expect, and in many cases, it’s cheaper to go to a homewares store and buy a new cream enamel biscuit tin than try to source an original from the 50s.
It’s often said that modern items are not built to last and this can certainly be the case when looking for retro items. Items made 50 or 60 years ago can still look as good as the day they were made, but a lot will depend on how well they have been looked after. Minor damage such as scratches on a table can be easily remedied, but chips in the cream enamel of a flour container or biscuit barrel may spoil the look of the item completely. Always inspect items carefully before buying. Modern items may not be made to the same standards as the originals from the period, but if for someone who wants to quickly update the look of their home and isn’t expecting something to last for decades, they can be a good budget option.
Make it Yourself?
Make do and mend was in the past done out of necessity, but more people are turning to making their own soft furnishings as a way of reusing old fabric or getting a truly individual finish. Only basic sewing skills are needed to turn an old pair of curtains into a bed throw or some cushion covers, and there are numerous college courses available to teach everyone the basics.
Car Boot and Jumble Sales
Although it’s unlikely that at a car boot sale or jumble sale you will be able to pick up a whole new dinner set or selection of carefully coordinated kitchenware, they are great places to pick up bits and pieces such as serving plates or fabric which can be made into table runners or cushion covers. In order to curb the natural desire to go mad and buy everything, it is best to decide on a theme such as a specific period of time or color scheme and just buy items which fit into that plan. For example, a bright orange serving platter from the 70s will make more of an impact on the table than a whole set of orange crockery would.
The Contemporary Home have a great range of cream enamel storage tins perfect for any retro kitchen.