7 Retro Decor Trends Making a Major Comeback
In the same way that fashion is cyclical, home decor trends come, go, and come again. Who could have guessed that chintz wallpaper would make such a notable comeback decades later, but here we are in 2019 busting out roll after roll. With expert insight, we’re highlighting seven notable interior design trends that peaked decades ago, eventually faded out with time, and are now experiencing a major revival in homes across the globe.
Globe Pendant Lights
Lighting trends still run the gamut from ornate chandeliers to minimalist fixtures, but we’re starting to see more examples of 60s-era globe pendant lights. “Mid-century modern is ever-present in design, and this classic shape is at the forefront of lighting,” says interior designer Katie Stix, design director for Anderson Design Studio. “A colored, frosted, or handblown glass globe [creates] a glow and ambiance that makes it a timeless go-to.”
Stix says that simple singular pendants, clusters, or a linear arrangement add a modern twist to the retro style. In lieu of incandescent bulbs, which you’ll have to swap out pretty regularly, she suggests using 2700K LED bulbs with a warm temperature to create a cozy atmosphere.
To buy: Ladies and Gentlemen Studio Maru Pendent, starting at $630; ladiesandgentlemenstudio.com.
Accent Kitchen Appliances
It sometimes feels like we’ve been forced to swim in a sea of stainless steel appliances, but that’s beginning to change. Kitchen appliances that double as accent pieces are making a serious comeback, and you don’t have to spend a small fortune to incorporate them into your own kitchen.
“Avocado green and gold appliances were all the rage in the 1970s. Some were even pink or mint green as far back as the 50s,” says Rainey Richardson, interior designer and founder of Rainey Richardson Interiors. “Today, ranges are a fun way to bring a strong accent color into your kitchen.” Richardson says that Viking offers several bold color choices, including plum, pumpkin, apple red, navy, and sage, and that GE Appliances also offers “very, very cool” options with stunning brass and copper finishes via its Café series.
To buy: GE Appliances Café Series 30" Slide-In Front Control Radiant and Convection Range, $2,499; cafeappliances.com.
Bold Wallpaper Choices
Back in the 70s and 80s, no room was spared when it came to wallpaper. “Everyone seemed to wallpaper all their rooms with over-the-top floral patterns, which generally aged a room and gave it a more mature feel,” says NYC-based interior designer Purvi Padia. “Throughout the 90s and early 2000s, wallpaper was regarded as ‘old fashioned’ and an element that had no place in modern design.”
Fast forward to now, and home decor trends have come a long way. “Today we use large, colorful patterns in rooms as small as powder baths,” she says. “We also love to use wallpaper with fantastic texture on the wall behind a bed to ground the space. Another fun [application] is to put wallpaper on the back of a built-in or inside of a cabinet with a glass front to add color and interest.” In other words, wallpaper is back in full force, but we’re using it in more strategic and thoughtful ways.
To buy: August Abode Peony Garden Mural Wallpaper, from $240; augustabode.com.
Let’s go back a bit further than mid-century to the Roaring Twenties. Though terrazzo has been around for ages, it really peaked during the art deco movement of the 1920s, Stix says. “Traditionally, terrazzo is seen as a poured floor. However, now we’re seeing it everywhere, including countertops, island fronts, furniture pieces, and stairs. The iconic look is being interpreted as printed porcelain tiles and even textiles.” And yep, you can even get wallpaper with terrazzo print.
To buy: Anthropologie Terrazzo Bath Collection, from $28; anthropologie.com.
“In the Victorian era (circa mid to late 1800s), intricate moldings were a sign of elegance and opulence and used without restraint in luxury homes,” Padia says. “Similar to wallpaper, intricate moldings have historically been reserved for more traditional spaces. However, more recently, designers are pairing intricate moldings with pared-back silhouettes and proportions to create spaces that are modern, but still have a sense of heritage, warmth, and depth.” She adds that elaborate moldings lend an unexpected dose of noble dimension to an otherwise understated room. The overall feeling is still modern, but with a nod to classic design.
To buy: uDecor CM-5011 Crown Molding, from $59.55; udecor.com.
In the 80s, interior design trends (and even fashion trends) leaned heavily on soft curves and geometric prints. Think curved walls, channel-back furniture, and brightly colored organic shapes. “Today, soft repeating curves are popping up most noticeably in tile and wall coverings,” says Stix. “Also, decorative floor and wall tiles come together to create an endless array of fun patterns and movement.” She does warn that a little goes a long way and recommends using this home decor trend tastefully on an accent wall, backsplash, or floor inset to create a fun pop of design.
To buy: Stone Source Mutina Puzzle Tile, cost varies; stonesource.com.
Also popular in the 1980s: painted accent walls. Richardson says it was common to paint three walls in one space one color, and then do a strong accent color on the fourth. “Painted accent walls are back, but have taken on a more sophisticated form. We now call them ‘feature walls’ and they aren't always painted. Whole walls can have Stikwood, tile, or antique mirror to provide the wow effect in an otherwise boring space,” she says.
To buy: Stikwood, cost varies; stikwood.com.