A Return of the Decades: Nostalgic Interior Trends

Home decor trends are taking a trip down memory lane, returning to vibrant traditions
Heather Peterson’s Design Studio featuring a 1970s redwood coffee table and a 1980s bamboo chair.

Photo by Spacecrafting

When it comes to style, trends come and go—fulfilling a circle of life, so to speak. Looking back at the past 50 years, there are a number of trends coming back into style. The fashions that so many hoped to forget are returning in full force, reminiscing on once-loved retro designs of years past. This translates to home design as well, with people seeking vintage styles and an evocative feel for their homes. We asked the team at Minneapolis-based design firm, Heather Peterson Design, to weigh in on current interior design trends and touch on what is coming back into style that mirrors previous decades.

Photo by Spacecrafting

There are stylistic elements from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s returning, both through obvious and subtle means. Looking back to ‘70s styles, “the palette is back in a big way,” Peterson says. Brown, ochre, rust, and avocado green are frequently being used, as well as flocked wallpaper, surface materials like burl and parchment, and psychedelic patterns with tile. Currently the Heather Peterson Design team is working on a home project in Tahoe with a lot of these 1970s influences. When considering trends from the 1980s, colors like oxblood, forest green, and pastels like mint, peach, and rose are making a punchy comeback. Floral, plaid, and stripe patterns are also being revived.

Some of the biggest styles trending right now are Memphis and English Country—dependent on whether someone is searching for something eclectic or more traditional. Peterson states, “People who want modern have leaned away from the Danish Modern Mid-Century look of years past and want more bulbous, ‘70s and ‘80s inspired shapes,” using a lighter, fresher palette to achieve it. Generally, it seems that traditional styles today are an early 1990s revival while modern designs are more reminiscent of the 1980s. The most-requested styles are English Country and Sister Parish—Peterson acknowledging, “Coming out of the pandemic, I think this is a yearning for layers and comfort and joyful interiors.”

One of the studio’s recent projects, showcasing Italian modern-inspired armchairs in a current fabric, plus a coffee table and couch with ’80s-inspired shapes.

Photo by Spacecrafting

Incorporating stylistic elements from previous decades around the home, rather than following a cohesive theme, is another common look of the moment. “As a general rule, we advise people to keep the bones of the house in line with its era,” says Peterson. “We tend to bring in current trends in shorter-term items like textiles, paint colors, smaller furniture pieces, and wallpaper.” When bringing these elements into a design, a favorite method is to create an eclectic mix, using individual vintage pieces from various eras. Consider spicing up an otherwise clean space is through new wallpaper, rugs, and textiles. Peterson thinks, “A great trick for being current without losing yourself in the trend is to take a throwback shape but do it in a fresh color (and vice versa),” such as using a neutral on a ‘70s sofa—relying on the lasting idea of balance.

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