6 Retro Trends That Are Making a Comeback
A blast from the past.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:58 AM
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It’s true that there are some design trends we simply never want to see again (plastic-covered furniture, anyone?). But if there’s anything the return of mom jeans and fanny packs has taught us, it’s that certain fads will eventually come back into fashion, whether we’re ready for it or not. The same goes for design. Colors, patterns, and concepts from decades past that were once deemed outdated are slowly making their second debut. We asked nine interior designers to share the throwback trends they’re excited to see again, and, lucky for us, it looks like the ’70s are in for a redo.
Sunken Living Rooms
Of the many designers we talked to, this was their number-one request. “Sunken living rooms are to die for!” declares Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs. Atlanta-based designer Andria Fromm and Dee Murphy of Murphy Deesign are also big fans of this retro feature. Known as conversation pits, these sunken spaces are a great way to demarcate a room without having to put up walls. “It’s such an unexpected way to add drama and interest,” says Fromm.
Who needs four legs when a cantilever chair can offer you the same sense of balance with so much less. “There’s something about the sleek and mod chrome base,” says Utah-based blogger and designer Sarah Gibson of the bent tubular steel seating, first made famous by Marcel Breuer. “It’s a trend I’ll never quit because I love it so much!”
What with the design world’s minimalism obsession, wood-on-wood-on-wood has left Grandma’s basement. Shea McGee, one part of the husband-and-wife duo behind Studio McGee, and Becki Owens both sing the praises of rooms completely clad in planks, whether stained or left natural.
Clashing prints and flashy shades like fuchsia are among the many retro details on the rebound. “I secretly love kitschy, 1950s, whimsical designs,” admits SoCal-based blogger Anita Yokota. “Add mid-century modern furniture along with the fun pops of color and pattern…this trend would be fun in a kitchen.”
Goodbye, mixing and matching; hello, matching-and-matching. Nothing screams bold like a room where everything is the same pattern or color. “A fun plaid or a modern geometric is a great way to bring back this ’70s trend,” says Tavia Forbes of Forbes + Masters, adding that coordinating your wallpaper with your window treatments (or better yet, your throw pillows) is a solid place to start.
The flat-screen is the bane of every designer’s existence—but it doesn’t have to be. “In the 1950s and ’60s, TVs, radios, and record players were incorporated into furniture pieces,” says designer and HGTV host Kahi Lee. “I would love to see electronics reimagined for today in a way that fits in with the rest of the room’s decor.” Same. One clever idea we’ve seen: Cover it with a hand-painted folding cabinet. Bonus points for incorporating the local landscape into the artwork. What black box?
This story was originally published on August 5, 2018. It has been updated.