Tile Design Ideas For A Retro-Inspired Interior

While there is no doubt that white minimalism remains the norm in most modern builds, we’re excited to note that retro trends are making a serious comeback in contemporary bathroom designs, mainly seen in vintage tiles! Working with residential and commercial clients willing to incorporate pops of colour, classic fixtures, and patterned surfaces in their new plans is thrilling.

Bathrooms have undergone significant style transformations over the years. An essential room in every residential and commercial space, don’t be afraid to add character. From the classic avocado green and mustard yellow tiles and accessories from the 1970s to the muted pastel shades of the ’80s, we’ve witnessed some brave style choices.

Retro: what is it?

Retro interior design typically refers to reviving trends from the 1950s – 1980s by incorporating them into modern spaces. Bringing retro elements into your design can involve using colour, accessories, furniture, or geometric shapes and patterns specific to a particular era. Don’t be fooled into thinking this results in an aged or outdated aesthetic; rather, it implies an eclectic mix of the old and new. For example, adding retro pale pink tiles breathed new life into our Burleigh Pavillion project, adding a nostalgic touch to a modern renovation. The contemporary version of retro looks is popular among homeowners attracted to a unique and playful aesthetic

retro pale pink tiles in Burleigh Pavillion


How can you apply a modern twist on retro designs with vintage tiles?

Try combining old forms with modern materials and finishes. Let’s look deeper into how you can achieve a retro look.


Geometric shapes

We love ceramic tiles for their versatility, durability, water resistance, and ease of maintenance. With their inherent geometric nature, ceramic tiles grew in popularity between the 50s and 70s. They offered designers of the time a range of colours to work with (pink and mint tiles in the 50s, and bright green, turquoise, yellow and orange tiles in the 70s).

Our team of designers is seeing a resurgence in vintage-inspired ceramic tiles in interiors, especially in kitchen and bathroom spaces. Whereas many modern kitchens and bathrooms come in muted contemporary shades, others are reviving classic retro colours. Our Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College project showcases classic Retro and vintage tile colours in their communal bathrooms.

classic Retro and vintage tile colours in Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College communal bathrooms


Manufacturing techniques’ advances mean ceramic tile designs are evolving far beyond simple rectangles and squares. Tiles can now adopt every shape, texture, thickness, and size. At the same time, modern ceramic tiles offer increased performance and can create complex geometric surfaces with a modernised retro aesthetic.

create complex geometric surfaces with a modernised retro aesthetic


Bold colours

Bold colours are a retro staple. Although whites and neutrals replaced these in the 90s, many modern interiors feature playful colour schemes from the 50s-80s era. Think kitchens featuring pastel tiles that match modern countertops, cabinets, and appliances.

Combining vibrant tones with unique geometric shapes can transmit a robust retro aesthetic in bathrooms. Our Greenwell Point project nods to the past with its mid-green rectangular tile choice, which contrasts beautifully with the rest of the space. Featuring premium glazed Isola tiles here.

isola molara ceramic wall splashback greenwell point bowling


Intricate patterns – think terrazzo

Traditionally composed of marble or granite chips set in concrete and then polished, terrazzo was popular in homes during the 50s and 60s until the 70s when it fell out of fashion. However, this stunning look didn’t take long to come back in style in modern interiors. Advances in tile manufacturing technology now allow the creation of porcelain products that authentically replicate the aesthetics of natural products, providing a versatile alternative to traditional terrazzo surfaces. Classic Ceramics’ offers a terrazzo look tile range that perfectly captures the essence of natural terrazzo using the latest porcelain technology.

Classic Ceramics’ offer a terrazzo range that perfectly captures the essence of natural terrazzo using the latest porcelain technology.


Retro tile ideas


Chevron (or herringbone), chequerboard, diamond pattern, brick effect, and tessellated are a few examples of classic retro tiles.

Geometric shapes:

Hexagons, circles, semi-circles, rectangles, and diamonds recreate the vintage look.


Bright, bold colours add drama and retro style to any room.


Consider using border and combination floor tiles to add vintage chic to an open-plan dining room or kitchen. Combine two or more patterns to define separate areas within a bathroom.


Retro – not for everyone

We all know that not every trend is well-liked, which is fine. Life is about finding what you like, not being afraid of taking chances, and choosing to be brave. We think that retro elements add an extra level of appeal to any room. Our range of incredible Retro and vintage tiles allows you to explore and redefine any residential or commercial area.

Why not take the opportunity to luxuriate in spaces where retro colours, patterns, and characters are back? There’s no better inspiration than our retro tiles to lend a timeless look and lived-in warmth to bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and living rooms.


Why choose Classic Ceramics for your vintage tiles in Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne?

At Classic Ceramics, we aim to match the perfect product to every project, from residential to project-planning destinations, chasing excellence in everything we do. We strive to understand your unique needs and requirements and deliver floor tile solutions guaranteed to bring joy for years to come.

If you’re an Architect or Designer and want to discuss tiling options for a residential or commercial project, make an appointment with one of our in-house experts in Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane.

Or, if you are looking for a bespoke option, our Classic Design Studio can help bring your vision to life. This service allows for making speci­fic items such as step nosing and skirting pieces where the small details make all the difference.

Your vision, our expertise.

Our exclusive collection of ceramic tiles caters to diverse project needs, ensuring a blend of aesthetics and functionality. Whether it’s residential or large-scale commercial endeavours, Classic Ceramics is committed to excellence.

For architects and designers seeking tailored tiling solutions, our experts in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are available for consultations. Contact us today to explore our extensive range and discover the ideal tiles for your vision.