Automated inverse design methods are critical to the development of metamaterial systems that exhibit special user-demanded properties. While machine learning approaches represent an emerging paradigm in the design of metamaterial structures, the ability to retrieve inverse designs on-demand remains lacking. Such an ability can be useful in accelerating optimization-based inverse design processes. This paper develops an inverse design framework that provides this capability through the novel usage of invertible neural networks (INNs). We exploit an INN architecture that can be trained to perform forward prediction over a set of high-fidelity samples and automatically learns the reverse mapping with guaranteed invertibility. We apply this INN for modeling the frequency response of periodic and aperiodic phononic structures, with the performance demonstrated on vibration suppression of drill pipes. Training and testing samples are generated by employing a transfer matrix method. The INN models provide competitive forward and inverse prediction performance compared to typical deep neural networks (DNNs). These INN models are used to retrieve approximate inverse designs for a queried non-resonant frequency range; the inverse designs are then used to initialize a constrained gradient-based optimization process to find a more accurate inverse design that also minimizes mass. The INN-initialized optimizations are found to be generally superior in terms of the queried property and mass compared to randomly initialized and inverse DNN-initialized optimizations. Particle swarm optimization with INN-derived initial points is then found to provide even better solutions, especially for the higher-dimensional aperiodic structures.