The Window Covering Lady
The Window Covering Lady
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Retro Curtains

If you are looking to create an old-fashioned look, retro curtains may be what you need. The old-fashioned look may be as recent as twenty years ago, but it could be even longer ago than that, like the turn of the twentieth century. There are lots of places you can look for retro curtains.

What makes curtains (or anything else) "retro"? A layperson might say, "I know it when I see it", but that's hardly good enough for experts who catalog and categorize everything. Retro curtains are no exception.

Fundamentally, retro curtains hearken back to bygone eras of colors, patterns, and themes. Retro curtains reflect the times in which they were made; the economics, fashions, and even politics of those times.

Thus we see Space Age retro curtains, bearing aerodynamic and futuristic abstract patterns such as "boomerangs". In the age of jazz we might find retro curtains bearing piano keys or musical notes. In the Atomic Age of the 1950s we might see jagged, electrifying patterns designed to evoke limitless energy. In the 60s we were likely to see retro curtains with figures of people on them, perhaps cartoon characters, or fairytale figures. The 70s brought us monochrome retro curtains in coarse weaves like "barkcloth", as well as some truly mind-boggling metallized fabrics and bold, paisley prints.

The colors of retro curtains are equally distinctive. Coffee-colored fabric with slender threads of gold running through it are characteristic of the 1950s retro curtains. Retro shades of orange, olive green, black, off white and mustard yellow are also typical of the post-World War II era. Avocado and gold were popular in the 1960s and is often found in retro curtains from that period. Rust, burgundy, burnt orange and other reddish hues mark retro curtains of the 1970s.

Notice that we do not want to get too recent in our definition of retro curtains. The word "retro" is a nostalgic one, cherished in part because it refers to a time that today's youngest generation cannot remember. Retro curtains appeal to older collectors primarily, although some youngsters buy retro curtains just because they think they look unusual and therefore cool. The main joy of owning retro curtains is the same joy that teenagers find in speaking their newly-invented slang: the other generation doesn't know what you're talking about. It's your special secret.

Where can you find retro curtains? The authentic retro curtains are most often found in antique stores, estate sales, and on eBay. Basically, you have to scrounge to find retro curtains that really were made 30 years ago. Happy hunting! Ruby Lane is one online source for authentic retro curtains. It's a consortium of over 1,700 online antique sellers, searchable from a single search box.

The look of retro curtains is available in new curtains from many sellers. These nouveau retro curtains are usually executed in modern fabrics, making them more sun-resistant and easier to care for. The retro curtains made today are often most retro in their bold, geometric patterns reminiscent of the 1970s -­ when the Baby Boomer generation was buying its first curtains. Contempo Curtains is one place to find such new retro curtains; they have an excellent selection at reasonable prices. And often the nouveau retro curtains have slightly updated colors, reminiscent of the original colors, so they fit into your decor better.

Retro curtains are fun to find and fun to hang in your home. The search for a piece of your lost youth can end with a great conversation starter hanging in your living room.

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