The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show

March 2–4, 2025 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show
March 2—4 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

Whether it’s high-waisted jeans or Airstream travel trailers, old favorites often have a way of coming back in vogue. Yet the current retro trend in home and housewares extends beyond any one style or product. As consumers feel nostalgic for days gone by, they may gravitate to any number of vintage styles, patterns or eras for their homes. While there might not be one surefire retro item that resonates with every customer, retailers and brands can benefit by offering consumers a variety of updated connections to the past.

What’s With All the Nostalgia?

When the going gets rough, it’s natural to wish for simpler times. “Even Odysseus used memories of home to get through tough times,” says Ashley Joseph, contributing editor for Ad Age Studio 30. “Our modern trials and tribulations may not be as trying as the Trojan War, but it’s been a rough few years for lots of folks.”

If you’ve ever had a parent or grandparent who said, “When I was a kid….” you know it’s common for older generations to wax nostalgic for days gone by. But today’s retro trend isn’t just for older people. In fact, many say it’s being driven by younger generations.

“As a generation, Gen Z are the most nostalgic, with 15% feeling that they’d prefer to think about the past rather than the future,” according to Stephanie Harlow, senior trends analyst at GWI. “Millennials aren’t much further behind at 14%, and the preference continues to taper off with age.”

What Does It Mean for Home Décor?

Midcentury modern is still going strong for many people, but it’s just one retro-inspired style that may resonate with your customers. Art deco furniture, rattan (and wicker and bamboo), 1970s hues, chrome accents and bold wallpaper are a few retro trends mentioned in a recent Southern Living article.

Old school patterns are showing up in new ways, according to Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s resident trend expert. “Traditional patterns like toile, chintz and vintage floral prints are being given a fresh twist, appearing on everything from textiles and teacups to wallpaper and upholstery,” she says.

Items that are actually vintage (as opposed to new items being made to look that way) are hugely popular as consumers aim to personalize their homes with unique items that speak to them. It’s another reason for retailers to consider resale opportunities in addition to regular operations. (Looking for inspiration? The Gap launched an online resale shop featuring three decades of vintage clothing last June; it quickly sold out but the company is reportedly looking to drop more items in the future.)

What Does It Mean for Housewares?

New appliances with retro stylings are surging in popularity, especially kitschy kitchen countertop appliances. You can find any number of items like this Heritage Retro Blender in turquoise from Haden or this air fryer from Brentwood Appliances in blue.

But you can also find the retro trend in everything from cookware and drinkware to tabletop and home décor. The Claro glassware collection from Godinger offers colors and intricate patterns reminiscent of your grandma’s. The Theta Lamp from Zafferano serves up a minimalist retro profile. And these Polarbox coolers redefine 1950s bubblegum cool.

And of course, there’s classic Americana that never seems to go out of style. Think items like this retro Coca Cola refrigerator from Koolatron or this wooden bucket ice cream maker from Nostalgia Products.

One parting thought: A retro trend doesn’t have to be decades or generations old. “(Due to) the speed at which culture spreads on TikTok, we’re seeing the nostalgia cycle becoming shorter, with some Gen Zers currently expressing ‘lockdown nostalgia’ for the early 2020s,” Maxim Kabakov, vice president and group partner for strategy at UM Worldwide, told Ad Age. “In the future, expect to see even more of a collapse between nostalgia and the present. Something that happened only a few months ago could be ripe for ‘nowstalgia.’”




More material innovations can be found in the second portfolio of the HomePage News 2023/24 InSight™ Trend Index. The Trend Index is a series of product portfolios examining the latest trends in home and housewares. The first six portfolios have been published in recent weeks, with three more to come.

Get Ready for The Inspired Home Show 2024!

March 17-19, 2024