You’re ready to take on the challenge of redesigning your mobile home. But you’re not just dreaming of a random redesign—you have something specific in mind. You want to draw inspiration from not-so-long-gone history. And that adds a whole new level of challenge and opportunity to your mobile home redesign.
Maybe you’ve grown accustomed to your mobile home, and you want to shake things up a bit. Or maybe any chance to cultivate a new look simply warms your heart. Some people want to renovate their homes to “bring them up to speed.” But gorgeous styles existed in previous eras, too. So if you’re looking for a throwback, today’s article is just for you—tips to recreate a retro mobile home!
Retro tips for the outside
Naturally, your mind may gravitate toward what you can do to bring the retro look inside your mobile home. And don’t worry, we’ll get to that. But first, we want to make a stop at your mobile home’s exterior. Here are some ways you could convey retro flair on the outside of your home.
1 – Place canopies over the windows
You’ll notice that some early trailers had canopies over the windows. Not only will repeating this help you shade your home from the sun’s glare, but window canopies could also help you cultivate retro flair. Check out this retro trailer for inspiration. Or take a look at this Florida mobile home.
2 – Introduce a metal railing
Been wondering what railings you should use for your mobile home steps? Time to consider whether a wrought iron (or other metal) railing on your mobile home steps will help you cultivate the look of a former era. Plus, you can even consider a metal railing as an option inside the house too.
3 – Splash on paint in a retro style
When it’s time for a whole new retro look, head for your favorite paint source. Why not try for the retro trailer look with a two-tone exterior? White and yellow would be one way to go—grabbing inspiration from this travel trailer. But you could also choose white and avocado or combine white with turquoise. Alternatively, you could paint in white and peach or put white alongside sky blue.
Retro tips for the inside
Metaphorically, we’re now going to step inside that retro-mobile-home-to-be and take a look at tips for creating a retro feel on your home’s interior.
4 – Incorporate wood and white
To get going on your interior renovations, you can consider remodeling with wood and white as part of your color scheme (or even main components of it). For instance, check out the prominence of the wood look in this 1958 mobile home (or this wood beauty). And don’t think your whites have to be snow-white either—off-white or cream colors might do the trick, too!
5 – Work with wood & deep colors
Another way to go is to pair the wood look with deep colors like rust or forest green. Incorporate these hues via furniture, carpeting, or other accents.
6 – Lean into laminate
By now you know wood (or at least the appearance of wood) could help you out on your retro journey. But don’t overlook laminate—whether it’s the floor, the countertops, or even the dining room table.
7 – Go bold with color & patterns
If you’re thinking simple wood and laminate could lead to a bland appearance, then maybe it’s time to think about bolder options—colors and patterns. Whether you choose green, red, yellow, or pink, introducing color could definitely help your mobile home become a retro paradise. Similarly, patterns that hearken back to popular looks could also assist—maybe it’ll be florals or diamonds.
Retro tips for the kitchen
Your mobile home kitchen has so much potential to display the retro look. Not only can the cabinets, countertops, floor, and walls provide a retro canvas, but even your appliances can get in on the act.
8 – Introduce colorful appliances
Maybe ours is the era of neutral-colored refrigerators and microwaves. But if you’re looking for a retro pop, a cotton candy refrigerator is just the thing. Or an avocado oven with a matching hood. On the other hand, you could opt for a pale canary-colored motif among your major appliances.
9 – Let retro tools double as decor
And if you like keeping your cooking tools on the counter, add a vintage-looking stand mixer. Plus, you could even make old-fashioned egg beaters part of the decor.
10 – Fix the place with furniture appropriate to the age
Another retro option is a laminate table (with metal edging on the tabletop). And maybe even some vintage metal chairs. Need more kitchen inspiration? You can’t afford to miss Elle Decor’s delightful collection of 25 Retro Kitchens to Inspire the Ultimate Throwback Renovation. (Especially this wonderful cooking spot).
Retro tips for the living room
Naturally, in any whole-house retro treatment, you can’t leave out the living room. Here’s a great place to select patterned couches, chairs, or carpets (maybe even some flower patterns).
11 – Cull retro curtains
Curtain choice is an area you can optimize for maximum retro appearance (or for whatever retro look you’re aiming for). Sheer drapes are one option, but so are somber rich patterns. Then again, you could also opt for a bold, bright colorful design.
12 – Bring in vintage extras
A vintage TV set—now that could really add retro to the room. Better yet? A record player. And by all means, remember the light fixtures. Every room needs light, so these required features offer you yet another chance to bring in retro items. One way to go—a retro metal stand lamp with three globes.
Retro tips for the bedrooms
And don’t leave your bedrooms behind when you start your renovation. You can opt for a cohesive retro look among all your bedrooms. Or you could personalize each according to different retro tastes.
13 – Make it a vibrant space
Have a lot of sunlight streaming in through the bedroom window? You might be in great shape for a crimson room. Just wait until the sun hits the walls and make the whole space glow with color. But if crimson is not your favorite color, there’s no reason you can’t bathe the space in whatever retro hue you do find delightful.
14 – Collect your favorite vintage items (in your favorite color)
Still, if you don’t want to splash your retro enthusiasm on the walls, how about arranging vibrantly colored items against a more neutral backdrop. Let the walls and floor provide a calm appearance thanks to neutral colors, then you can add vibrant retro colors in other places. For instance, bring them in via the bedspread or the desk and chair or area rugs.
Plus, you can take the opportunity to highlight the interests of the person the bedroom belongs too—whether it’s music or books or animals. This lets you collect your retro items around a theme.
Retro tips for the bathrooms
The bathroom—now here’s a place where color can really be the star.
15 – Bring in colored sinks, tubs & showers
It’s time for retro to kick into full gear. The bathroom is fair game for retro colors from avocado to lemon to blush pink. And, unexpectedly (or not-so-unexpectedly if you’re already familiar with retro design), the shower, sink, tub, and even the toilet are possibilities. Check out these colorful toilet lids for yourself!
16 – Shake up the shower curtain
Your shower curtain makes another great retro canvas. Take your pick of options—ranging from small patterns to large statement pieces.
Retro tips for everywhere
Now that we’ve walked through major areas inside your mobile home (not to mention the home’s outside, too), here are general tips for all around your space.
17 – Put your own spin on it
Taking your mobile home in its entirety, keep in mind that you can personalize your retro look in a variety of ways. Not all retro spaces will look the same anyway—and we wouldn’t want them to, either. How boring would that be?
Even though you’re generally shooting for “retro,” the term will mean different things to different people. Additionally, you don’t have to limit it to what you might have seen in a 1980s home. And you don’t have to make it look like a carbon copy of a home from the 1950s either.
Now, both of those eras and their styles could be great depending on your personal preferences. And feel free to shoot for them, if that’s your ideal retro look. But keep in mind you can blend the retro style with other looks you like, too—whether it’s modern, farmhouse, or something else. Let’s dig into some ways to do this.
18 – Go light
Admittedly, mobile homes outfitted to be retro could easily take on a dark and depressing look. And this could especially hold true if the home is full of vintage wood paneling (and maybe even dark wood or laminate floors, too).
Yet if your own preference is to have plenty of natural light and brightness, there’s no reason you can’t steer clear of too much darkness. Combine retro colors with plenty of white. In the kitchen, this could look like white cabinets with retro table and chairs and retro appliances. Why not bring in bright pops of colors like lemon, turquoise or avocado—maybe via your teakettle, dishtowels, and even your wall decor.
19 – Meld with modern accents
Go ahead and mix modern and retro together. Some elements in your room can be one, and some the other. For instance, you can select furniture with a retro feel, then add fixtures with a modern look.
20 – Embrace the concept that mild is more
The idea of designing a retro area could easily make people think of full-bore throwback. But embracing retro style doesn’t mean that you have to fully deck out your house with a retro look from the rafters to the basement.
Actually, there’s something to be said for a more mild approach. In a living room, this could mean selecting a couch that’s a neutral color that doesn’t scream retro (but doesn’t scream “modern” either).
Similarly, you can select a dining table with a mild appearance—beautiful, certainly, but again it doesn’t have to scream “retro.” Then, in both of these cases, you can use other elements to add a retro touch. In the case of the living room, maybe it will be a light fixture bursting with vintage character. Or it could be a set of end tables and lamps that offer endless retro charm.
In the dining room, you can arrange retro chairs around that more timeless table. Or you can feature a shag rug in the living room. A happy upside to choosing some mild elements is that it could make it easier for you to change your style in the future if you need something different.
21 – Find a focal piece
There are so many parts to any room—so many things that combine to make the space what it is as a whole. In a kitchen, there are the appliances, the flooring, the walls, the cabinets, the countertops, and more. In a dining room, you could have a table, chairs, flooring, walls, China cabinet, etc.
In any room, you can select one or two items to be the retro stars. Perhaps you’ll have a grand adventure hunting for your focal pieces at antique stores, auctions, or the internet. If you find a dining table brimming with retro style, that could be your starting point. You can build around it, introducing other elements of furniture or decor, retro or not.
22 – Identify your other favorite styles
If you think you may want to mix and match other styles with your retro look, you may find it helpful to identify what your other preferences are. For instance, maybe you’re drawn to the farmhouse look and want to blend it with your retro outfittings. Or maybe you’d like to shoot for retro alongside a distinctive log cabin appearance.
Look to the landscape
With a retro home in your future, you’ll have plenty to think about for the house’s interior and exterior. And maybe the landscape outside your mobile home needs a change, too. If so, take a look at our How To Fix Common Mobile Home Landscaping Problems.
Renting the retro mobile home and more
If you need some space-maximizing suggestions as you undertake your redo, check out Clever Built-Ins For More Space In Your Mobile Home. And if you’re crafting the retro mobile home look so that you can rent the place out, we have you covered there, too. Take a look at How To Create A Vibrant & Welcoming Mobile Home Rental.