Modern Vs. Retro Futon - A Detailed Comparison

In recent years, futons have become really popular due to the plethora of advantages they offer to large and small rooms alike. We recently spoke about fillings inside futon mattresses. In this guide, we’ll discuss the styles. The two most prevalent design styles of futons are modern and retro. An understanding of these designs will help you choose the right futon for your home. We’ll tell you all about the key characteristics of the two styles. Keep reading to find out which one is for you!

Modern Vs. Retro Futon

·Modern Vs. Retro Futon – Which One Is for Me?

Choosing the right style of futon does take a bit of effort. After all, your futon can decide the entire vibe of the room it is placed in. Have you ever walked into an apartment with a huge, unsightly futon right in the center? Then you’d know what we mean.

That is why we recommend you put some serious thought into the style of your futon.  In particular, we will help you weigh the positives and negatives of modern and retro styles of futons. After all, both styles are unique, quite popular, and can help infuse your personality into your décor.

When it comes to a futon’s style, most homeowners like the simple-yet-unique feel that these two styles offer. Naturally, there are pros and cons to both. The style you choose can set the tone for your room’s interior.

We will start off with some basic information about the two styles. Later on, we will study the factors these styles can influence. This, in turn, will help you decide the right style for you.

Modern Vs. Retro Futon

Modern Style

In the context of a futon’s styling, modern refers to the new, creative, and innovative look of this important piece of furniture. This type of style can blend in with a contemporary feel, color, and materials.

The unwritten rule of this style in a futon is that it should have simple-yet-clean lines. And obviously, it is a notch richer than retro or vintage futons. Modern futons are minimalistic with neutral and natural hues.

Modern style has its roots in the furniture styles of the 1900s. These styles of interior design were typically characterized by strong, clean lines and natural colors.

Is modern and contemporary the same?

Often, people confuse modern with contemporary. Contemporary furniture or interior design style includes the latest or current styles of the present era. Modern style is much older and mainly linked from the 1900s to the latter half of the century.

While contemporary styles can keep changing, the modern futon style is more or less constant. Thus, even as the decades pass, the current style will still be contemporary, but the modern style will always be tied to a specific period of time.

There’s also  a style called modern-contemporary. This is a mix of both styles. It uses simple, clean lines and has an artistic flair in the fabrics used.

To summarize, modern futons are characterized by the following features:

  • The styling is somewhat strict.
  • It leans towards functionality more than aesthetics
  • The modern color palette uses neutral and natural colors.
  • It is adaptable to the latest trends.
  • The style favors strong lines.
  • It keeps your room spacious.
Modern Vs. Retro Futon

Retro Style

The retro-style futon is derived from the trends of the recent past. It generally implies styles that are about 2 decades older. You could say that a retro-styled futon is one that is old but has made a comeback.

The word retro comes from ‘retrograde’ in Latin which means backward or times past. In interior design, it refers to a nostalgia of bringing things back that were once in fashion.

Are retro and vintage the same?

Just like people confuse contemporary and modern, people confuse vintage and retro. Vintage is something old but only between 20- to 100 years old. (Anything older than 100 years is considered antique!)

Some designers believe that the styles before 1993 can be considered vintage. Therefore, retro has a confusing definition to it; some designers believe that this is the style from the 50s or 60s, while others feel that it comes from the era of the 80s and 90s.

If you search in the Cambridge Dictionary or on Wikipedia, you might see that the retro style is described as ‘going back’.  Retro is never original, but vintage is original.

Here is a summary of the features of retro futons:

  • Uses synthetic materials – PVC, synthetic plastics, faux leather, etc.
  • Has bright colors.
  • Features vintage decorative elements.
  • Has unusual shapes, patterns, and prints.
  • Is somewhat abstract.

Now that you know what modern, contemporary, retro, and vintage mean, let us move on to why these things matter.

Modern Vs. Retro Futon

What Factors Will Your Futon’s Style Influence?

You might not think too much of it, but the futon you choose can have an impact on many aspects of interior design. In order to choose your futon style, you might want to take the following into account.


The main job of a futon is to offer relaxation and comfort, but if you have placed your futon in the living room, like most people tend to, then it also impacts the interior design and style.

In any case, your futon style – whether you choose retro or modern – should be comforting, inviting, and attractive. After all, you’ll be having guests sitting on it, and even if it isn’t the focal point of your living room, it is an important one.

In case you choose a modern futon, then you can complement it with some modern wall art, spacious interiors, wooden chairs, and neutral and natural colors.

If you opt for a retro futon, you can use unique furniture pieces. The futon itself would be large with pops of bright cushions, rugs, or throws. You can also add bright red chairs or chrome bar stools to enhance this styling.Your personality

The choice of your futon can help you infuse your personal style into the space. You can choose a simple, modern futon to show your simplistic and minimalistic style, or go for a nostalgic retro style. If you want a spacious living room, then go for modern. If, on the other hand, you like bolder interiors or love to take risks, then retro is the way to go.

Your budget

Of course, this must be the first thing to consider. Many people select a futon since it functions as a bed, and naturally, that could mean that budget is of concern.

Remember: experimenting with futon styles can end up being expensive if you aren’t sure what you want. You might buy the futon first and choose the other furniture pieces, then paint your walls later. However, in doing so you might end up needing to make changes, bringing even greater expenses down the road if you are not happy with the results.

In most cases, a modern futon would be a safer bet. The style will remain in fashion for years so you won’t need to change anything for a while. Moreover, you will always find interior designers who know their modern designs much better than they would the retro!

Key Takeaways – Modern Versus Retro Futon. Which One Should I Choose?

There is no right or wrong here. You can choose either style and it would look great. Just make sure that you know and understand yourself and your personality before making a decision.

If you are a bold person willing to take a risk, then the retro futon is for you. If, on the other hand, you’d rather keep things simple and prefer neutral shades and spacious living spaces, then the modern futon is better for you.

You can always speak to a designer who can help you weigh in the pros and cons of the two styles. Good luck!

FAQs on Modern Versus Retro Futons – Which One is for Me?

What year is a retro futon from?

Retro-era furniture is believed to be anywhere between the period 1950 and 1989. When you select a retro futon, you can choose one that is purposely made to look retro. It would typically have brighter shades and bolder prints reminiscent of the era bygone.

Is there a retro-modern style too?

You could consider the retro-modern or the modern-retro style to be somewhere from the recent past decades – so beginning in 1990 to the early 2000s.

It is a nerdy-yet-cool, classic-yet-contemporary style of design. In the case of futons, you might go in for a mattress in bolder shades, but with a frame having a cleaner shape and lines.

What retro-colored futons are in vogue?

Trendy marigold, harvest gold, Kelly green, dusty rose, burgundy, mint, teal, magenta, and all other colors from your childhood are making a comeback through futon mattress shades.

Can you mix retro and modern styling?

Yes, you can opt for a modern futon and throw in some retro wall art, rugs, or chairs. Alternatively, go  for a retro futon and add in some minimalist rugs, or keep the room modernly spacious.

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