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Design: Retro patio chairs are back and bold

The Retro Squares Glider Sofa ($499 at

The Retro Squares Glider Sofa ($499 at has an all-weather powder-coat finish. Credit:

Recapture some of the magic of nights spent cooling off outdoors before air-conditioning was so prevalent by giving your patio or porch a retro feel. The look might create just the kind of nostalgia suitable for summer nights sipping lemonade and eating watermelon.


There's a quintessential patio chair that almost everyone's grandmother had, and it's had a resurgence in popularity. What once was rusty and thrown in the back of the garage is now cool and on-trend. It's the metal patio chair that has a single piece of metal tubing that's bent to create the legs and arms of the chair. It's this single piece of tubing that gave the chair a great bouncy feel. At home on any porch, the patio throwbacks come in both round and shell-shaped backs.

Today, these chairs can be found in a wide variety of colors and price ranges. There's even a two-toned variety with a single color seating and white tubing. You can find the chairs in singles, doubles, rocking varieties and gliders. Pair these up in the kitchen for a bistro set with an indoor-outdoor feeling. Or bring out the full-on retro porch with coordinating vintage-inspired coolers loaded with iced bottled drinks for a patio that will transport you back in time.


Going back even further, patio furniture could be found in a square style with cutouts on the seat backs to give added ventilation in the summer. The cutouts are often in patterns of diamonds and squares. Like the round and shell-shaped retro chairs, these can also be found in chairs, and glider chairs and glider sofas. Their large and roomy seats are both comfortable and stylish. Add a coordinating metal table and you'll have a full retro patio.


If you want to create the real feel of your grandmother's porch, be sure to add some cushions in a trendy stripe or -- even more on-trend -- kitschy oilcloth. Oilcloth has all the bright colors and charming floral patterns of yesteryear and really ups the volume on a full retro look. With its wipe-clean ability, oilcloth is a terrific option for outdoor use. For a custom look, take out the sewing machine and create your own vintage-inspired cushions using a wide array of oilcloth patterns available online ( Or, buy chair cushions ready-made with coordinating tablecloths (

Be sure to serve up some cold drinks in vintage-inspired drinkware. Take your guests back in time with an aluminum tumbler and pitcher set. To pull your whole retro look together, simply add in a braided rug. Braided rugs have that old-fashioned look that can unify a retro seating area.

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