Dated doesn’t always mean bad. After all, there is a great power in nostalgia and trends that disappeared decades ago will still occasionally reappear again. Architects and interior designers are still using elements of design from centuries ago today. That’s because good design is timeless. Not many years ago, that sleek, modern look was all the rage and homeowners were spending a fortune to tear out all those old features like wood-paneled walls only to seem them come back in style again. Here are a few trends from decades past that are making a rebound.
Tortoiseshell became a popular design element in the late 1800s and grew popular again in the 1920s but has since lost its popularity. This is due in part to a general dislike for killing animals for the purposes of interior decorating. Fortunately, designers today are able to simulate the look of tortoiseshell, that famous black and brown mottled pattern, without killing anything. It can be used as inlay on walls, vases, mirrors, and other pieces.
The popularity of stained glass windows reached its peak in the 1930s. Ever since, our focus on energy efficiency has moved us away from intricate patterned windows towards simple windows with little visual interest. Now, stained glass and energy efficient aren’t mutually exclusive and they’re making a comeback. For many, stained glass is synonymous with old chapels and religious symbols but stained glass can also perk up a space with fun, geometric patterns.
Back in the 50s, every kitchen was turquoise or yellow or pink. It was never plain white. Nowadays, colorful kitchens are the first thing to go when people purchase an older home. The all-white kitchen craze is finally getting a little old, however, and homeowners are now longing for pops of color again. The trend hasn’t swung so far that people want an all-turquoise kitchen again, but a bright, bold accent color for the kitchen is no longer taboo.
One thing we all remember about visiting grandma’s house is that awful patterned wallpaper. There was an unofficial but national purge of all wallpaper around the turn of the century and we’re only now starting to look back. Sure, tastes have changed and today’s patterned wallpapers use a lot less brown and orange (thank goodness). Removable wallpaper has also become more popular since it’s much easier to remove if you get bored of it than traditional wallpaper. Another common use for patterned wallpaper is a single accent wall.
Arguably the worst thing about the 70s-and that’s saying a lot-was that awful avocado green color. Well now it’s back but a little more muted. Add white to it, pair it with wood beams and it can look quite attractive and modern. Just use it sparingly and not everywhere on every surface (what were they thinking?)
Old, ugly baseboard radiators
Okay so not every trend from decades’ past is making a comeback. Some design trends are staying in the past and just might forever, but you never know. If you’ve got an old baseboard radiator system that’s seen better days, you may be tempted to just have it all torn out and replaced with a new heating system. But you may not want to. Baseboard heating systems are actually better at heating rooms since heat rises and they’re installed at floor level. If you want to modernize the look of your home without taking out those older, charming elements, you can install snap-on baseboard radiator covers.