Ask The Designer: Trends Brought Back

Some trends are best kept in decades past, but others can be reinvented in wonderful ways. Here, Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, outlines five trends that have made a major comeback.



Orange was undoubtedly the it-color of the 1970s, so when we think of orange, it’s easy to think of the Brady Bunch kitchen with burnt citrus Formica countertops. Today it’s all about grays and neutral colors that often need to be warmed up. Infusing orange accents into a room is a way to take a space that is a bit too cold and add heat and spice along with a pop of color. Just add a few small touches of orange to your room. Add decorative pillows or throw in a family room or a small decorative chair or piece of artwork with orange to a bedroom. For a bit more punch think about painting a table or chest in a fiery orange. You will find that orange adds an earthiness, warmth, and depth to any room.


Hardwood floors have been a popular choice for decades now, but where the trend tilts is in their color. Once en vogue, the dark espresso-stained hardwood is on the outs. Now it’s all about lighter colors that aren’t as prone to showing scratches and dust. Maple or oak floors with a lighter, golden honey finish are making a comeback. To achieve the look, try a clear coat to maintain the wood grain and to keep floors more blonde. These lighter stains match well with the gray, neutral rooms that are popular today, but the wood still adds a necessary touch of warmth.



When you think of wallpaper, you may get images of big, bright florals of the ’80s. Bold patterns and bright colors dominated the wallpaper choices of a bygone era, but it’s much different today. What we’re seeing now is the reinterpretation of wallpaper – it’s now much more subtle. Diamonds, stripes, and geometrics are popular today, in softer, monochromatic tones.

With new technology in printing, we’re seeing more textured, three-dimensional wallpaper come onto the scene as well. Textured paper makes a calmer, quieter statement, but is still impactful. Overall, when choosing to wallpaper a room, consider doing just a statement wall to keep the effect from becoming overwhelming. Use wallpaper as more of a strong accent rather than an overpowering force.


With the resurgence of a transitional look, many homes now toe the line between modern and traditional. We have cleaner, simpler furniture and fabrics than in years past, which gives a more minimal feel. Because of this, designers are reintroducing traditional rugs, like Orientals or Persians, to warm up a room and to bring in a traditional element. These rugs have vibrant colors like rich reds and mustard golds. If your room is very neutral and has a light, clean, transitional look, adding an antique rug adds pattern, texture, and warmth, putting one foot back in traditionalism. Don’t leave those inherited or antique rugs rolled up and stored away! Use them, and mix them into the space.



Entertaining guests at home is experiencing a new wave of popularity, and with it comes one special furniture piece that fell by the wayside:  the bar cart. We may not have glamorous cocktail hours complete with martinis and hor d’oeuvres these days, but the bar cart is a versatile furniture piece that’s just as handy as it was in the mid-20th century. If you have a small space, park the cart and use it as a side table when it’s not in use as a cocktail station. Or, situate it in the dining room and have it pull double duty as an accent piece and a place to pour wine or serve dessert. It can even be wheeled out to a patio or porch area for outdoor recreation. Not only a piece strictly dedicated to bar usage, the bar cart can now be used in any way you’d like.

Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS is the owner and principal designer of Haskell Interiors, located in historic downtown Cleveland, Tennessee. Visit online at

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