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Smart Design With Suzette: Everything Old Is New Again

on June 23, 2017 - 7:39am
Wallpaper is back! Courtesy photo

Los Alamos

Home design trends are all about creating lush spaces by taking traditional designs and making them modern with unique color texture and material choices. As the saying goes “everything old is new again” rings true, especially in décor. The 1980’s and 1990’s are back again — this time with a 21st-century spin.

Floral wallpaper
The patterns may have changed, but it’s safe to say that wallpaper is experiencing a major renaissance in design. The key is to use an updated pattern in a small dose — like in a powder room or on a bedroom accent wall. Large scale floral wallpaper is proving particularly popular with designers.

Blond wood floors
It’s OK — and even on-trend — to move away from dark wood floors and opt for light pine instead. The 2000s were dominated by that really dark Tuscan-brown trend, with dark, ebony floors. Then came the realization that you could see every speck of dust on it. Grey wood tones are popular and light floors are part of this movement. Just note there is a fine line between the orange-hued oak of the ‘90s and the blond-wood look that’s popular today. Decorate accordingly.

White kitchens
Probably the biggest comeback kid of the ‘90s is the white kitchen: Starting with bright white cabinets (not the “pickled white” of ‘90s cabinetry) and continuing with white appliances, adding wood accents.

Hunter green
Although the dark-green carpets that covered many a ‘90s living-room floor are long gone, saturated green hues are back in kitchen cabinets, velvet sofas, pillows and painted buffets.

Miami Vice gave pastels a bad name for a while and relegated the soft, muted colors to children’s rooms and play areas. But no more! Now pastel hues are seen in just about any space. When used as an accent color, or paired with bold colors, pastels are a nice change of pace.

Blue-and-white Accessories
Blue and white was a popular palette in the ‘90s. (Remember the Tanners’ couch on Full House? Blue and white and gingham.) But navy-blue-and-white pieces can be beautiful and classic. The color combo is appearing more and more in accessories, fun chevrons and even floor tiles.

Modern brass is nothing like the ‘90s chandeliers. Today, the finish is less shiny, and the shape is more modern. The best thing about incorporating brass into your home is that it’s relatively easy to do in small doses: Swap in brass drawer pulls, faucets, light pendants, end tables with gold legs, picture frames or mirrors. Brass is now beginning to overtake chrome and brushed nickel as the preferred metal of choice.

Country Accents
Grab your gingham, country is back! While toiles, plaids, ruffles, and decorative roosters are not making a return, farmhouse style is (you can thank Fixer Upper‘s Joanna Gaines). The contemporary country palette is clean and simple and paired with modern design elements like high ceilings, metal accents, and large glass windows.

Flokati (aka - the New Shag)
Shag carpet has been long gone but flokati is the new iteration in town. It’s perfectly in step with today’s eclectic-global-natural take on style. Genuine flokati is made from sheep’s wool, but you’ll find many synthetic versions available because of its popularity. The material, whether real or faux, features telltale ultra-high-pile fibers and invites sinking your feet into. Often, it sports a black design for a graphic punch.

Wood Paneling
Ok, so the fake stuff wasn’t so hot, which led to paneling’s bad rap. Wood paneling is NOT just for mountain lodges and retro homes. Current wood-lined walls are chic and stately, adding warmth and a hint of whimsy to your favorite rooms.

Traditional style
Traditional décor is coming back. It no longer looks or feels like grandma’s house. Modern traditional design blends classic design effortlessly. The feel is light and airy, not dark and heavy. A contemporary spin would look like this – mix an old English pedestal table with a modern, high-lacquered walnut credenza. Paint walls a contemporary light gray with white baseboards and trim around windows. Finally, switch up lighting with modern fixtures for a fresh, timeless look.

Remembering the past is wonderful. The trick is to properly balance the delicate juxtaposition between old and new. Take these insights into account before you sit back and settle into your inflatable chair. Until next time….

Feel free to contact Los Alamos Interior Designer Suzette Fox to help with your home. Find her on Facebook at and on her website