How to Give Your Garage a Retro Feel

How to Give Your Garage a Retro Feel

If you’re interested in overhauling the look and feel of your garage, consider giving it a “retro” upgrade. This transformation doesn’t have to be difficult, nor does it have to be expensive. Instead, with even a modest budget and a bit of time on your hands, you can completely give your garage a retro feel.

The Value of a Retro Garage

Why would you want your garage to have a retro feel? These are some of the most common motivations:

  • Coherence and consistency: Spending significant time in your garage might want this space to have a coherent, consistent feel. So, rather than aggregating various design elements from many different sources, you’ll have one dominating theme throughout the space.
  • Distinctiveness: You might also want to incorporate a retro feel to make your garage stand out. If you and your friends are in the habit of admiring each other’s garages, you might want yours to feel more unique. You may also want the garage to stand out from the rest of your house. In any case, a retro feel can give you the distinctiveness you wish.
  • Nostalgia: Most retro designs are chosen for one powerful reason: they tap into the power of nostalgia. Marketers and advertisers use retro elements when they want to evoke nostalgia and drive purchasing decisions. For example, you may want to evoke nostalgia because you want to feel cozier or be reminded of pleasant memories when you spend time in your garage.
  • Subjective desire: Some people like the aesthetics of retro design elements. This may apply to you if you find yourself smiling at old logos or shop signs.
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Photo by Derek Lee on Unsplash

How to Give Your Garage a Retro Feel

So what steps can you take to make your garage more retro?

Start with a general period and location in mind

Before shopping for signs or design elements, consider the available time and location. “Retro” refers to events in the past, but there’s a big difference between 1950s America and Ancient Egypt. 

When most people talk about retro designs in the modern United States, they’re usually referring to American or Western items from around the 1930s to the 1980s, with a couple of decades of wiggle room on either side of this spectrum. You don’t have to be especially precise here. Still, it will help improve your consistency if you understand the time period you want to capture.

Install neon signs

Neon signs were one of the most popular ways to advertise a business in the early 20th century. They were bright, eye-catching, colorful, and dynamic. These days, authentic neon signs are rarer, so they’re even more impressive in many ways. A neon sign showcasing your favorite brand’s logo, a neon clock to help you stay on time, or a generic neon sign in the shape of something you love could all be valuable additions.

Add a vintage gas station sign

Vintage gas station signs come in many varieties, and they can instantly make your garage feel nostalgic. Gas station signs and advertising have changed radically over the years, so when you see a sign from 1963, it sticks out. Plus, the gas station theme will fit perfectly with your garage – mainly when your cars are occupying that garage.

Showcase some old-school logos

Major American brands, like Chrysler, have gone through significant changes over the years. Consider investing in a display that showcases some of these old logos or old marketing materials. You might be surprised to see how much some of your most beloved brands have evolved.

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Reassess your lighting

This is an excellent opportunity to reassess the lighting you have available in your garage. If you do frequent work on your cars or if you work on separate projects in your garage, you’ll need bright task lighting to illuminate your workspace. But you can make your garage feel more retro and possibly, more inviting if you experiment with the lighting and add a more vintage vibe. For example, you can install warmer, dimmer lights to simulate incandescent bulbs or rely on the soft glow of your neon sign collection to passively illuminate the area.

Consider installing vintage hardware and accessories

If you want to take things a step further, consider installing vintage hardware and accessories. For example, you can replace your door knob, install a different sink, and even replace the cabinet hardware in your storage area to capture an older, more nostalgic vibe.

Shop around for other antiques

If there’s still something missing, and you’re not sure what, consider shopping around for other antiques. Antique shops are great places to find unfamiliar and unexpected additions, such as old lamps, retro pieces of furniture, and other collectibles.

Avoid jarring juxtapositions

If you’re going for a consistent retro feel, you’ll want to avoid jarring juxtapositions. For example, you don’t want a gigantic LED flatscreen television next to your 1950s advertisement poster.

Choose the right playlist

You can tap into your nostalgia and enhance the power of your retro design elements with the help of the right music. Consider putting together a playlist of all your old favorites – and make sure you put it on whenever you spend an extended amount of time in your garage!

If you have old cars, show them off! 

Finally, if you have any old cars that fit perfectly in this retro space, make it a point to show them off. Prominently display your favorite vehicles, keep them cleaned and waxed, and consider adding spotlights to highlight them even more.

Thank you for reading How to Give Your Garage a Retro Feel

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