How to Create a Retro Interior in Adobe Illustrator
In this tutorial, you will learn how to create a retro interior in Adobe Illustrator. We will use basic shapes and effects to create our image.
For all you retro lovers out there, this image is an amazing art piece to create. I just adore retro style and clean, retro homes. Even if getting such a home in real life is a bit difficult, creating it in Adobe Illustrator doesn’t have to be. For more images and inspiration, you can go to GraphicRiver. They have a selection of amazing retro illustrations that can truly inspire you to get drawing.
So grab a drink, and let’s get started!
1. How to Create the Chair
After opening Adobe Illustrator and creating a new document with 850 px Width and Height, we are going to start our interior by creating a chair. First, we are going to create a wooden base for it.
Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and draw a long rectangle. While holding the Shift and Alt keys, move this rectangle to the right. You’ll get a new copy. You were holding the Alt key to create the copy, and the Shift key to make sure that the copy was aligned perfectly.
Then, change its fill color to a lighter color.
Let’s create the chair’s legs. You’ll need the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a rectangle. After that, take the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the left and right bottom anchor points, and move them to the left. Notice that you need to move the bottom left anchor point less than the right one.
Attach the leg to the wooden base of the chair. While holding the Shift and Alt keys together, move the leg to the right. You’ll get a new copy of the leg.
Keep them both selected and hit the Reflect Tool (O). Immediately, while holding the Alt key, click to the right of these two legs. In the new dialogue window which will pop up, select Axis Vertical, Angle 90 degrees, and then press Copy. You’ll get two more legs.
Finally, you should change the fill color of the two legs marked in the image below.
Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and create a dark blue rounded rectangle as shown in the image below. Using the same tool, draw another rounded rectangle. Finally, add a circle on top of the last one. To create a nice, even circle, use the Ellipse Tool (L), holding the Shift key while creating it. This will be the back of our chair.
Add a new rounded rectangle by using the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Notice that it has to stay behind. So select it, cut it off (Control-X), and place it behind (Control-B).
Using the Ellipse Tool (L), draw an ellipse as shown below. I marked this ellipse with a yellow stroke which you actually don’t need, just the fill color.
Using the Rectangle Tool (M), draw a rectangle behind.
Be sure you have checked the Corner Widget (View > Show Corner Widget). Next, take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select just the top right corner of the previously created rectangle. Near this corner has to be a tiny circle, which is the corner widget tool. Using this tool, drag this tiny circle inside the rectangle. You’ll notice that this corner (anchor point) becomes rounded. That’s exactly what you need: the top right corner needs to be rounded.
Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool, add a new rounded rectangle. I marked it with a yellow stroke for you, so you can see it better.
Then, add a circle by using the Ellipse Tool (L), holding the Shift key while creating it.
Add a small rectangle behind the lighter blue part of the chair and the darker part.
While holding the Shift and Alt keys together, move this rectangle to the right. You’ll get a copy of this rectangle.
Add a long rounded rectangle to create the armrest.
Select the whole armrest, and again while holding the Shift and Alt keys together, move it to the right to get an armrest for the other side.
The chair is ready!
We finished the chair, but we still want to get the small padded stool.
For this, we’ll take all the parts from the chair that are marked in the image below by red strokes. Select them, and while holding the Shift and Alt keys, move them to the right. You have a padded stool now!
Make the padded stool smaller.
2. How to Create the Bookshelf
We will start our bookshelf from a tall, narrow rectangle.
Add a small circle on top of it.
Then, add a small square. To get an even square, use the Rectangle Tool (M) while holding down the Shift key.
After that, we want to rotate this square exactly 45 degrees. Select the square using the Selection Tool (V). By holding down the Shift key while rotating, you’ll be able to rotate it exactly 45 degrees.
Finally, take the Direct Selection Tool (A) and select the top anchor point on the square. Using the same tool, move this anchor point up.
Don’t be confused by the green rectangles you see in the image below because they are actually there just for better orientation.
Currently, you have the first part of the bookshelf, which will be the frame. Create a new copy of this: while holding down the Shift and Alt keys together, move it to the right.
Next, we are going to create the shelves. Draw a long rectangle that connects the two vertical parts of the bookshelf.
While holding the Shift and Alt keys, move the horizontal shelf down. After that, press Control-D a few times to repeat your last movement. Stop when you have enough shelves.
Draw a darker rectangle behind to get the back of the bookshelf.
To make our bookshelf even more retro, let’s create a few rounded rectangles as shown in the image below. Note how the rounded rectangles get smaller the further you go up.
3. How to Create the Books
For the stack of books, we’ll start from a rounded rectangle.
Then cut off its right side: make the right side of the rounded rectangle overlap with a rectangle of any color. While keeping those two selected, press the Minus Front button on the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).
This shape will be the pages for our book. Make a new copy of it behind (Control-C, Control-B). While keeping it selected, delete the fill color and set a thick, blue stroke. To increase the stroke Weight, you go to the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke). After that, expand this stroke (Object > Expand). In the new dialogue window, make sure Fill and Stroke are checked and then press OK.
Make the blue shape overlap any colored rectangle. While keeping those two shapes selected, press the Minus Front button in the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder).
Finally, add two tiny rectangles as shown below to complete the book. To make sure that these rectangles are exactly where you want, make sure you have checked View > Smart Guides, which will help you. Keep in mind that the black stroke is there only for better visibility.
Create a few more books by changing the fill color of the covers. Feel free to play around with the sizes.
Since bookshelves should have many books, go ahead and create a bunch more by using basic shapes. Feel free to change the colors and designs to your liking.
Distribute the books on the bookshelf however you want.
4. How to Create the House Plants on the Bookshelf
We are going to create the flowerpot. Create a rectangle and, while keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. In the new dialogue window, enter the options you see below, and then press OK.
To create the leaf, start with an ellipse. Take the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) and click on its top and bottom anchor points. You’ll get a simple leaf shape.
Put many leaves into the flower pot. Change the fill color of a few of them.
Place the house plant on the bookshelf. Feel free to place it wherever you like.
For the other flowerpot, we will also start from a rectangle. While keeping it selected, go to Effect > Warp > Bulge. In the new dialogue window, enter the options you see below, and then press OK.
You can also add a plate for the flowerpot. You should create it the same way as you created the flowerpots.
Delete the fill color and set the stroke color shown below. Take the Arc Tool and draw the stalks for our future monstera leaves.
To get the half leaf, while creating the monstera leaf (after you already created the leaf shape and before the erasing the monstera holes), take the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and delete one side of the leaf. Simply click on the anchor points using this tool to delete them.
If you would like to have a doily under the houseplant, draw a square over the bookshelf. Using the Selection Tool (V) and while holding down the Shift key, rotate it 45 degrees. Make sure that, after rotating, the left and right anchor points of the square stay as shown in the image below.
Then grab the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and delete the top anchor point of the square. You should get a triangle (it’s another way to create a triangle).
Finally, place the monstera on the doily.
5. How to Create Plants in Hanging Baskets
Create a flowerpot. It’s the same way as we created all our flower pots before in this tutorial.
You already know how to create a simple leaf shape from an ellipse. So make a few of them and combine them as shown below.
Create another copy of this group of leaves and change its fill color.
Take your newly created flowerpot, and using the Arc Tool, draw some stalks. Remember, the stalks need just the stroke and no fill color.
After that, put the previously created leaves on top of the stalks. Our new plant is ready!
Make sure you have no fill color and set a white stroke color. Take the Line Segment Tool (/) and start to draw a macrame pattern following the lines in the image below. Actually, you don’t need to follow my exact pattern—you can just create your own macrame basket.
I took the same flowerpot as I had for the previous plant and changed its fill color.
Then, using the Arc Tool and a green stroke, draw a few stalks for our future houseplant.
After that, draw many small ellipses which will be the leaves.
Take the previously created macrame basket and put the newly created houseplant inside it.
6. How to Create the Background
Gather all the elements you created so far. You do not need to place them exactly as in the image below, so feel free to arrange them differently.
Hit the Rectangle Tool (M) and click on your artboard. In the new dialogue window, enter Width and Height 850 px, and press OK. Then set the fill color shown below. It’s our background.
Add four darker rectangles as a window, and a long one where the chair and bookshelf will be.
Place all the objects on the background. And you’re done!
Great job! Now you know how to create a retro interior in Adobe Illustrator. I hope you enjoyed following this tutorial and learned something new. Well, that’s it for today. See you next time!