Without even looking at what's trending on or Instagram, we can rattle off the features that currently make for stylish decor: clean-lined midcentury furniture, white walls, marble countertops, wood floors and the occasional bold boho print. But we think it's time to bring a few new influences into our homes — and these past trends are a very good place to start.
Though wood is always "in," wood cabinets are often the starting point of a DIY. That's because we're likely to associate them with the heavy-looking cabinets of the '60s right up through the '80s.
We're seeing more and more homeowners embrace natural wood finishes in their kitchens. The key seems to be contrast — white brings out the natural wood grain while offsetting the dark finish.
All-over floral patterns get a bad rap thanks to the '80s, when the "English" look meant going overboard with fine floral prints in muted tones.
Today's patterns play with scale and tone in a daring way. This bold overscaled floral by Ellie Cashman, as seen in the bathroom of Cupcakes and Cashmere blogger Emily Schuman, is pure sophistication.
There are few features that are more synonymous with "dated" than wood paneling. The knotted wall covering lined many a finished basement (and often, the living room too).
Wood is primed for a comeback thanks to the revival in all things "rustic." We think paneling is no exception. Here, wood paneling brings incredible texture and character to a kitchen in Austin, Texas, by Architects Clayton & Little. A little bit goes a long way, so consider this treatment for a feature wall rather than a whole room.
"The Golden Girls" is a timeless show. But, like the episode where the girls try out the new aerobics trend, the rattan-and-bamboo furniture in their fabulous Florida home has seemed a bit dated.
Of course, such a great material IS a classic, especially when used as an accent piece. In the kitchen of Anne Maxwell Foster of Tilton & Fenwick, rattan counter-height bistro stools bring an element of organic texture to the eclectic design.
Say the words "faux finish" three times and you'll be transported to the early '90s, in a room accented by experimental painting techniques that never quite pulled off the exotic vibe you were hoping for.
However, a faux finish can bring dimension to flat walls. While sponge painting and the faux plaster look can still feel a bit stale, a "linen" effect can be completely charming. The subtly striped effect also tones down bolder hues, like the fabulous dark blue faux linen walls seen at Heathered Nest.
Blonde woods dominated the '90s. The association can be harder to shake than having the theme song to "Mad About You" or "Friends" stuck in your head.
While we love the coziness that dark wood brings, it's undeniable that blonde woods help brighten a room. For an up-to-date look, remember that less is so much more. In a dining room, that means keeping the silhouette of the table and chairs as simple as possible, like in this light and airy space by Becki Owens and Nicole Davis.
Like floral wallpaper, floral chintz fabrics went hand-in-hand with the English garden trend of the '80s. The more floral patterns (particularly roses), the better.
Today, a few glimpses of chintz in a room gives an elegant yet comfortable feeling. That was precisely the goal in this living room designed by Meg Braff. Chintz curtains in a darker hue help define the window without ever feeling the least bit dated.
The average midcentury (or even earlier) home was likely to have a bathroom lined with perky pink tiles, a feature that's inspired many a "House Hunters" complaint. While we love the color, it didn't help that these bathrooms were often updated in the '70s or '80s with of-the-era details like giant mirrors, faux marble elements, and floral wallcoverings. Or in this case, all three!
Like many vintage features, the best thing to do with a pink bathroom is to let it be true to the feeling of your home. In this darling '30s bathroom, the homeowner let the original pink and black tiles be the focal point and chose elements that complemented the charming feel of the space (like the simple sconces and the shapely white vanity).
In a time when homeowners can often fear color, we do applaud earlier eras' commitment to decorating in a bold hue (if not the execution). Sofas, chairs, curtains and even wall-to-wall carpets all matched. Emphasis on the latter feature — in previous decades, carpeting was a must-have.
The side-eye toward wall-to-wall carpets these days has less to do about color, and more to do with the extent that we value hardwood floors. If you don't happen to have hardwood floors, or just want something softer underfoot, we say that it's time to bring back the luxury of a nice wall-to-wall carpet. Though you could go in a statement direction with a more retro shag, the more modern approach is to choose a neutral hue that'll complement decor schemes to come.
Long before the days when buyers demanded granite, white countertops were the choice for kitchens. (Especially if it was white laminate.) They helped counter dark cabinets and coordinated with appliances.
Given the enduring preference for open floor plans and big windows, white countertops make complete sense for a comeback. They help make a kitchen feel larger, brighter and even a little cleaner. We also love how they draw the eye to the stunning backsplash and muted cabinets in the kitchen of Cassie of the blog.
Brushed nickel had a hold on the late '90s and '00s, but the '80s and early '90s were all about brass. Whether brushed or shiny, bathrooms, kitchens, doors and cabinets were accented with hardware and fixtures in the golden metal. (And the preference for brass goes even further back, like in this '60s "modern" bath.)
If you haven't been on in a while, you're missing out on the big brass revival. Fixtures in aged and shiny finishes are like the bold punctuation marks in kitchens and bathrooms, especially those in black-and-white color schemes.