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Old-school design trends make a comeback

Old-school design trends make a comeback

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how cyclical the major trends in interior design tend to be. This recent article in Inman News is an example: Old School Comeback.

I am often asked by my clients, both sellers and buyers alike, about what they should do to update or redesign their homes. It might be as simple as choosing some new paint colors for a living room, or major work like removing a wall and redesigning an entire kitchen. People are curious about the overall short- and long-term benefits of design updates.

What’s interesting is how design trends we thought were left behind in a previous decade come back as part of modern day redecorating and redesign. What I’m seeing now:

-a move toward smaller, less expansive homes with more useful spaces such as combining kitchens and dining (remember Midcentury modern?)

-a desire to get the most value out of money invested in updates

Living spaces and bedrooms

Remember that icky old wallpaper all over Grandma’s house? Yep, it’s making a comeback. But this isn’t Grandma’s old wallpaper.  Technology has opened a completely new approach with incredible patterns and a dizzying array of colors. Wallpaper patterns are designed on desktop computers and sent directly to printing machines with unique and cool designs. Technology also has made wallpaper easier to install with some peel-and-stick designs.

Detroit Wallpaper Company,  a designer/manufacturer in Ferndale, Michigan, allows homeowners to custom design their own wallpaper patterns or pick from their incredible collection of patterns and colors. Check them out here:

My wife, who owns Exactly Designs (, an Ann Arbor-based interior design firm, recently showed me that white applicances are making a comeback of their own in kitchens. Some are ignoring a trend for designer colors—like copper—for appliances and have instead built their kitchens around white: appliances, countertops,  backsplashes and cabinets with white or contrasting floors and accents. 

Kitchens and dining spaces

According to Inman, a general trend toward smaller homes and condos is proof that larger homes with big footprints and rooms are fading. “Large floor plans are falling out of favor as many families seek out cozier homes that are more affordable and easier to maintain.” This is especially true in high-cost markets on the West Coast. Locally, except for some custom built homes where the future homeowners specify larger kitchens and formal dining rooms, builders often are maximizing the efficiency of kitchens—but not necessarily the size—and combining them with living space such as on Ann Arbor’s north side with the North Oaks development.



Remember linoleum? Linoleum tile was popular in the 1950’s but lost out to cheaper vinyl flooring. According to Inman, “checkerboard-pattern linoleum in particular has seen a resurgence in bathrooms.” The retro style of this flooring contrasts well with modern design, the editors say. An important quality of linoleum is its water resistance, a big plus in bathrooms (and kitchens). While I’m a big fan of minimalist, modern and midcentury  design, some homeowners are going vintage with brass faucets and fixtures. Inman contends they are attracted to their “sturdy construction, along with their unique look.”

What are your goals? 

I love it when clients want to redesign their homes to reflect where they are today and I advise them to come back to their goals: Are they redesigning because they want to feel happier and more comfortable in their home or are they freshening because they plan on moving? The approach will be different depending on the goal.  If your plans include moving sometime in the near future, there are other things you can do, like painting a couple rooms, that will offer a better return on investment when it comes to redecorating.

And if you do plan on staying, I say jump in. There are so many wonderful paths to walk redesigning your home to make it a happier, cooler and better reflection of you.

Cover photo: unsplash-logo
Paul Hanaoka



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One thought on “Old-school design trends make a comeback”

  • Egypt

    November 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    What a neat aritlce. I had no inkling.


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