All of our retro chairs have a steel frame with a shiny chrome plated finish and are available in a variety of colors and options. These retro chairs are sure to last you a long time - just like the ones made in the 1940's and 1950's!
Our commercial quality retro booths are offered in hundreds of colors and many unique styles to compliment your classic 50's style retro kitchen or retro diner. These diner booths are perfect for your home or restuarant.
At American Chairs, we specialize in retro style furniture, and more specifically in retro chrome furniture. Without a doubt, American Chairs is the right place if you are looking to revive the characteristic Style of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s for your home or business, as well as the iconic chrome coverings that automatically take us back to the 50s.
Here is a guide on furniture to help you understand what retro and retro chrome styles are all about:
What is Retro Style?
Retro Style begins with the furniture and décor of the 1950s and spans the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Retro references include both originals and reproductions inspired by that era. It is easy to confuse with Vintage. However, this also refers to furniture and objects before those years, which should be original. In any case, you will find that these definitions are interchangeable.
You will find retro-vintage or vintage designations used for the word retro.
What is chrome plating?
Chrome plating is a technique of depositing a thin layer of chromium on an object made of another metal or plastic by electroplating. The chromium layer may be simply decorative, provide corrosion resistance, facilitate cleaning, or increase its surface hardness. Sometimes a cheaper imitation of chrome is used for purely aesthetic purposes.
Retro-chrome is a type of decoration that was very present in the 50s and 60s. This beautiful decoration style marked the chairs, stools, tables, and sofas of the time and was very present in all kinds of environments, from family homes to restaurants, bars, malls, squares, and nightclubs. It is characterized by the chrome coating on the metal parts of pieces that usually have their backs and seats upholstered with leather.
The retro chrome diner-style furniture of the 50s is a trend that today seems to be adopted again in many establishments and homes worldwide. As a result, it is becoming more and more common to see restaurants and entertainment venues with 1950s chrome styling. The characteristic note is tables, stools, and chairs with white, red, or blue leather seats and backs, and tables with chrome overlay edges.
Characteristics of Retro style furniture
As several decades merge, some characteristics that changed over the years are also mixed. The 50s, for example, showed a more austere aesthetic than the 60s and 70s, but they were the starting point.
- Furniture with unique stylized patterns straight of lines. We find stylized pieces with straight lines and practically no ornaments. The legs of furniture such as sideboards, display cabinets, and other auxiliary pieces are straight and thin, almost always cylindrical. Dining and coffee tables show the same design, but it is lighter and airier, being taller.
One design icon of the '50s was Charles Eames, who experimented with metals (and other materials). He created the welded metal base on his chairs and was recognized as the first to be invited by MoMA to make a solo exhibition. Thanks to his invention, the chrome plating became an iconic style tendency of the 50s. Other designers of these years were Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia.
At the end of the '60s and '70s, furniture began to acquire rounder and thicker shapes and incorporate plastic materials. In addition, the table started to appear that would later become commonplace in homes due to the changes in society, such as bunk beds, convertible sofas, and with the appearance of television, furniture to place it on.
Other very popular elements also make their appearance, such as bar furniture, incorporated into the living rooms, waiter tables with wheels, high stools, and gradually gathering areas incorporated into living rooms along with spaces for watching television with the family.
Other novel furnishings of the period include the modular sofa and telephone tables.
- Upholstery colors. Upholstery went from being gray in the 50s, sober and elegant, to the cheerful and bright colors of the 60s and the years of hippie aesthetics. The 50's added an urban, cosmopolitan decoration of New York City style, reflected in countless films and series. The upholstery ranges from leather to leather imitations, and the more luxurious materials, such as velvet or corduroy.
The sixties brought pop designs with strident colors and large, bright patterns on fabrics and upholstery. In wallpapers, stripes, large circles, and large geometric designs were also familiar. The colors give way to the more psychedelic and futuristic colors of later years. In the '70s, playfulness and fun are sought after.
- Wood alternates with other materials. Wood is the protagonist, as well as glass. You can find glossy finishes on Formica, coffee tables combined with mirrors, and chrome on the legs of chairs and tables.
- The "own" design emerges. In the '80s, numerous individual initiatives emerge that mix with the pluralism of styles, trends, and design. There is a move towards eclecticism and experimentation with new materials.
Retro is part of the current set of trends in furniture. We find it again and again in textiles, furniture, sofa designs, and even revamped wallpapers. Almost everything, however, is labeled "neo."