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Step Back In Time: Transform Your Home With Retro Wallpaper

Vintage wallpaper never goes out of style; if you’re unsure which home decor style is the right one for you or you don’t want to opt for something that will quickly look dated, look to the past for inspiration. 

Retro decor is timeless, and you’ll find a fantastic collection of designs inspired by every decade from the 1920s to the 2020s at I Want Wallpaper. Read on to find out how you can step back in time and bring a touch of retro style to your home decor.

1920s Wallpaper

art deco wallpaper

Transport your home decor back in time 100 years and take inspiration from the Roaring Twenties, a decade characterised by its fabulous displays of wealth and decadence, until the stock market crashed in 1929. Look to films like The Great Gatsby for art deco-inspired interiors, featuring plenty of glitz, sparkle, metallic accents, and scallop designs. 

Art deco wallpaper is a great choice if you love to entertain; use a design like the Rasch Art Deco Dan Black Metallic Gold Non Woven Abstract Peacock Gold and Black Wallpaper (priced at £16 per roll) in your living room, dining room, or even a bedroom. 

For a modern twist on art deco, go for a neutral-coloured design with metallic geometric accents, like the Erismann Art Decor Marble Tile Metallic Wallpaper (£15 per roll), which is another gorgeous 1920s wallpaper design. With its open pattern and modern design, this wallpaper would work in any room, including a kitchen or hallway.  

Bring 1920s accessories to your home with:

  • A scalloped lampshade
  • A vintage drinks trolley laden with cocktail glasses
  • Lots of mirrors – a good way to make a room with a busy wallpaper pattern both look and feel bigger

1930s Wallpaper

The economic depression and eventual outbreak of war in the 1930s meant many people were forced to keep their decor from the 1920s, although it may have been looking a little more muted and slightly more ‘shabby chic’ ten years on. 

gramophone and striped wallpaper

Introduce 1930s features to your home with:

  • The Rasch Exotic Deco Japanese Sea Shell Wallpaper (£17 per roll), which features a muted cream and gold shell design for a delicate take on art deco wallpaper
  • An old-fashioned radio or gramophone
  • A front door with a stained glass panel – ideally with panes painted in jewel tones
  • Tiled flooring

1940s Wallpaper

During the Second World War, spending on home updates was simply not a priority, so many homes would have had the same wallpaper they had in the 1930s, albeit a little more faded looking. 

Floral prints were also popular in the 1940s; opt for a ditsy floral pattern in muted colours like the Arthouse Catkin Floral Smooth Metallic Flower Pattern Sage Green Wallpaper (£15 per roll), which features delicate flowers and vines on a neutral background. 

For a different take on 1940s wallpaper, go for a vintage floral design in muted tones like the Holden Decor Bertuccia Exotic Flower Pattern Floral Lead Monkey Gold Beige Wallpaper (£23.99 per roll). This retro wallpaper design features bold flowers on a gold background and would be perfect for a 1940s-inspired feature wall. 

1940s wallpaper

Accessorise your vintage wallpaper with:

  • Linoleum flooring
  • Hand-knitted throws – remember, this was the era of make do and mend
  • Reupholstered chairs from the period
  • A vintage dressing table

1950s Wallpaper

A few years after the end of the war, many people were ready to invest in home updates once more, with trends having changed significantly over the last few decades. Pastel shades, Scandinavian inspiration, and futuristic geometric shapes were all popular in the 1950s, as people looked to a bright future.

The Fresco Retro Ogee Wage Trellis Flat Surface Paper Pattern Yellow Light Grey Wallpaper (£13 per roll) is a brilliant 1950s wallpaper, incorporating all three of these trends with its hint of pastel yellow, fresh-feeling, bright Scandinavian-inspired colour scheme, and geometric trellis design. 

Bring a touch of the 1950s to your home decor with:

  • Pastel-coloured kitchen cupboards
  • Patterned floor tiles
  • A coloured bathroom suite – pastel pink or sunny yellow are perhaps less likely to look dated than avocado green

1960s Wallpaper

The Swinging Sixties were the era of flower power and free love, with trend boundaries being pushed like never before. Bring a touch of flower power to your home with the Fine Decor Luxury Daffodil Floral Silver Wallpaper (£8.99 per roll), with its light grey background and yellow and white daffodil design. 

Geometric patterns featuring clean lines were also popular in the 1960s and you can bring these to your home with the Arthouse Parallel Geometric Metallic Line Retro Modern Textured Wallpaper (£13 per roll), which would look great on a quirky feature wall. 

1960s geometric wallpaper

Take further inspiration from the 1960s around your home with:

  • Clashing floral curtains, cushions, and throws
  • Soft furnishings in browns, oranges, and yellows
  • A record player
  • A lava lamp
  • A vintage typewriter

1970s Wallpaper

In the 1970s, browns, oranges, yellows, and geometric designs were all big news, and the Muriva Floral Leaf Pattern Bronze Textured Vinyl Wallpaper (£30 per roll) captures the style of the decade perfectly with its repeating pattern of brown petals. This fabulously retro wallpaper would look smart on a feature wall, or even on all four walls in a 1970s-inspired den. 

Continue the 1970s theme throughout your home with:

  • Bold orange soft furnishings
  • Crocheted throws and cushion covers
  • Macramé hanging plant pots

1980s Wallpaper

cassette tapes

The 1980s was the era of Dynasty, when the hair was big, shoulder pads were bigger, and tastes were lavish. Channel this in your home with a wallpaper Alexis Carrington Colby would be envious of with the Arthouse Geometric Desire Faux Leather Quilted Navy Blue Wallpaper (£9 per roll). 

This 3D-effect quilted wallpaper design would look truly striking behind a headboard in a master bedroom. It’s also available in silver, black, and off-white.

Bring more of the 1980s to your home with:

  • A Hi-Fi stereo system
  • A rack for all your cassette tapes
  • A drinks trolley or mini bar for entertaining
  • Brass accents on furniture or ornaments

1990s Wallpaper

The 1990s saw a return to minimalism, but with some pastel shades and striped patterns still featuring. We’re thinking of 90s films like You’ve Got Mail, where stripes and neutrals feature heavily in Kathleen Kelly’s home decor – see the A.S. Creation Striped Pattern Modern Glitter Motif Embossed White Textured Wallpaper (£13 per roll). 

Alternatively, take inspiration from the lilac walls of the Friends apartment and bring a touch of 1990s pop culture to your home. If you’re looking for a plain lilac wallpaper, we recommend the Grandeco Reflect Plain Pattern Mauve Wallpaper (£14 per roll), which has just a hint of glitter for an extra fabulous touch.

Our 1990s-inspired home accessories recommendations include:

  • Inflatable chairs
  • Lots of pine furniture
  • A novelty landline phone – bonus points if you can find one shaped like a burger or a shoe

2000s Wallpaper

baroque wallpaper

The noughties may be only 20 years ago, but the fashion of the era is already considered vintage, which is ironic, as the decade saw a return to vintage and shabby chic home decor, with plenty of nods to the baroque style.

Bring shabby chic baroque wallpaper to your home with the Rasch Trianon Luxury Damask Baroque Ornament Satin Effect Cream Wallpaper (£19 per roll) or go a little bolder with a similar design that features bold black accents, the A.S. Creation Baroque Floral Damask Ornament Metallic Textured Non Woven Black Wallpaper (£16 per roll).

Throw back to the 2000s with:

  • Rose gold and copper accents
  • Hints of ‘millennial pink’
  • Plenty of jars to either drink out or display flowers in
  • Digital photo frames

Discover The Latest Wallpaper Designs

It’s not just retro wallpaper that you’ll find at I Want Wallpaper, but plenty of modern designs to transform your home for the here and now too. From minimalist neutral designs to modern geometric prints, browse our full collection today. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a question about any of our designs.