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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Rihmland

Retro Flooring

A Step Back In Time

Retro flooring brings a nostalgic charm to any space, evoking a sense of the past while adding character and style to modern interiors. Whether you're a fan of the vibrant patterns of the 1960s or the sleek elegance of mid-century designs, retro flooring offers a wide range of options to create a unique and timeless look. In this blog post, we will delve into the history, trends, and inspiration behind retro flooring, taking cues from the captivating visuals on the Wilmac Flooring Pinterest board dedicated to retro aesthetics.

The Origins of Retro Flooring

Retro flooring finds its roots in the post-World War II era, specifically from the 1940s to the 1970s. As the world recovered from the war, there was a renewed sense of optimism, which manifested itself in vibrant colors, bold patterns, and innovative materials. Linoleum, vinyl, and laminate became popular choices due to their durability, affordability, and versatility. These materials opened up a whole new world of possibilities for flooring design, paving the way for the iconic styles that would define the retro era.

Popular Retro Flooring Styles

Checkerboard Patterns

Checkerboard patterns are one of the most recognizable retro flooring styles. Inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 1920s, these black-and-white or colorful checkered floors add a touch of sophistication to any space. They were commonly found in kitchens, dining areas, and even commercial spaces like diners and soda fountains.

Bold Geometric Designs

The 1960s and 1970s embraced bold geometric patterns. Retro flooring during this time featured intricate designs with a mix of vibrant colors, such as oranges, yellows, and greens. These patterns often had a playful, psychedelic vibe, reflecting the spirit of the era.


Terrazzo flooring, with its distinctive speckled appearance, gained popularity in the mid-20th century. Made by embedding small pieces of marble, glass, or other aggregates into a cement or resin base, terrazzo floors exude elegance and timeless appeal. Today, terrazzo is experiencing a revival, making it a sought-after choice for retro-inspired interiors.


Orange wood parquet flooring in a living room
Parquet flooring in the living room adds depth and warmth to the space

Parquet flooring, characterized by the intricate arrangement of small wooden pieces, has been used for centuries. However, it became particularly popular in the mid-century period. Parquet floors added warmth and a touch of luxury to living rooms, dining rooms, and entryways. The herringbone and chevron patterns were especially favored during this time.

Contemporary Takes on Retro Flooring

While authentic retro flooring options can be challenging to find, modern manufacturers have embraced the demand for vintage-inspired designs. Today, homeowners can enjoy the charm of retro flooring with the added benefits of advanced materials and improved installation techniques. Here are a few contemporary takes on retro flooring:

Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT)

LVT has gained immense popularity as a versatile and affordable flooring option. Manufacturers now offer LVT products that mimic the look of retro flooring styles, providing an authentic aesthetic without compromising on durability and maintenance.

Porcelain Tiles

Porcelain tiles have come a long way in replicating the appearance of materials like linoleum and terrazzo. With digital printing technology, porcelain tiles can imitate the intricate patterns and colors of retro flooring, while providing enhanced durability and ease of maintenance.

Refinishing and Restoration

For those fortunate enough to have original retro flooring in their homes, refinishing and restoration can bring back its former glory. Skilled professionals can repair, clean, and refinish vintage floors, preserving their authenticity and character.

Incorporating Retro Flooring into Your Space

Statement Entryways

Create a bold first impression by installing retro flooring in your entryway. Whether you opt for a checkerboard pattern or a striking geometric design, a retro-inspired floor sets the tone for the rest of your home and welcomes guests with a touch of nostalgia.

Retro Kitchens

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and retro flooring can infuse it with a delightful vintage charm. Consider a playful checkerboard pattern or a colorful mosaic tile design for your kitchen floor. Pair it with retro-inspired appliances, vibrant cabinet colors, and nostalgic accessories to create a cohesive and inviting space.

Vibrant Bathrooms

Retro flooring can transform your bathroom into a vibrant oasis. Experiment with bold geometric patterns or go for a serene pastel palette with a touch of Art Deco influence. Combine your retro flooring with vintage-inspired fixtures, colorful tiles, and retro wallpaper to achieve a cohesive retro look.

Cozy Living Rooms

Parquet flooring in a retro living room
Parquet flooring in this airy living room makes the space feel cozy

Incorporate retro flooring into your living room to create a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere. Parquet floors in herringbone or chevron patterns add elegance and warmth to the space. Enhance the retro vibe by incorporating mid-century furniture, vintage-inspired lighting, and retro accessories.

Playful Kids' Rooms

Colorful kids' playroom with herringbone floors and white tiled ceiling
This playful room comes together with herringbone wood flooring and a tile ceiling

Retro flooring is an excellent choice for children's rooms, offering a fun and playful environment. Opt for vibrant colors, whimsical patterns, or even a mix of different retro styles to create a room that sparks imagination and creativity. Pair it with retro-inspired furniture and accessories to complete the look.

Retro flooring offers a nostalgic journey through design history, bringing the unique charm of the mid-20th century into our modern spaces. From checkerboard patterns to intricate parquet designs, retro floors add character, personality, and a touch of vintage elegance to any room. With contemporary options, homeowners can embrace retro aesthetics while enjoying the benefits of modern materials and durability. So, whether you're renovating your kitchen, revamping your bathroom, or simply looking to make a statement, retro flooring is a timeless choice that brings the past to life in the most stylish and nostalgic way possible.

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