Design Trends: Retro Revival

From the return of wallpaper to bright, splashy colors, interior design elements from several eras past have recently been showing up in homes once again.
Local interior designer Bridget Chirigos. Photo courtesy Bridget Chirigos

Old has been made new again with trends popularized in decades past making a comeback (with a contemporary twist) in modern homes. Local interior designer Bridget Chirigos, of her eponymous firm Chirigos Designs, says, “We’re seeing mainstream stores like CB2 and West Elm beginning to carry some of these pieces again, and it’s really exciting.” If you’re looking to add a touch of retro flair to your own interiors, Chirigos shares some trends below to try out.

Bolder Colors

The ubiquitous color palettes consisting of neutral white, beige, and gray tones are being replaced with brighter, bolder hues. While those safer shades will never quite be considered “out of style” due to their multipurpose natures, Chirigos has been noticing a renaissance of deep greens, rich wines, and even sunny citrines. “I always tell clients not to worry about what other people think, and to color outside the lines a little bit,” says Chirigos. “If you love a color, go for it! Buy the full sofa in that color!” And if you’re nervous, the designer recommends testing out colors in smaller doses through artwork and accessories, whether it’s painting a side table, adding a throw to your couch, or trying out a bolster pillow in your bedroom.

Home decor accents like pillows and rugs are the perfect places to add some prints. Photo by Sue Navarro

Patterns & Prints

While geometric patterns have been present since the midcentury, Chirigos notes that she’s beginning to see a more contemporary take on the ones found in accessories like pillows and rugs. “They [geometrics] are beginning to go a little Hollywood glam, with a nod to Art Deco,” she explains, “which is super fun. Stripes, larger-scale herringbone—they’re all great ways to add architectural features to a space that may not have a lot to start with.”

Curved Lines

Curved edges in chairs and tables help lend softness to interior spaces. Photo by Sue Navarro

Harsher, straight lines are being replaced with softer, curved lines and organic shapes, which suggest grace and rhythm and can add an elegant air to interiors. “We have so many hard lines in our spaces already, so it’s nice to soften those sharper edges with curved pieces, like chairs and sofas that have curved backs and round coffee tables,” explains Chirigos. “I’ve even seen coffee tables that are almost drum-like—heavy and thick, and they really make a statement in the space.”

Textures & Wallpaper

Colorful yarn art by a local artist adds a touch of texture in the corner of this room. Photo courtesy Brooke Voss Design

Faux furs, fiber art, macramé, velvets, you name it—texture is definitely having a moment right now. Wallpaper in particular is a perfect way to add a touch of texture into your home and warm your interiors, whether it’s with an accent wall, a framed panel, or even on the ceiling. “People tend to get scared of wallpaper because they’ve been taking it down for the past 10 years, but now there’s some wonderful removable wallpaper on the market, which is perfect if you’re scared of the commitment,” says Chirigos. “Plus, we’re rarely seeing entire rooms done up in wallpaper. It’s usually smaller areas or accent walls.”

Mixing Modern + Vintage

“I think what people need to know is they can hang onto their things and make them look new again by pairing them with something from a different era,” says Chirigos. “I have a burl wood chest from my mother I grew up with in the ‘70s, and now burl wood is back in style. So I put an updated lamp on it, and now it’s new. The typical rule of thumb is to skip a generation—for example, you don’t want to put something from the ‘80s and something from the ‘90s together. Space them out a bit.”

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