Stylish retro-inspired home design is back

Design is always evolving, it is amazing that we can get away with re-decorating only every five to 10 years


Design is always evolving, it is amazing that we can get away with re-decorating only every five to 10 years but even older dated homes still manage to look cozy and stylish. My personal design style has not changed much over the years and I still hold true to my favorite colours – I always manage to use green in every house I decorate even though the shade and undertones may vary.

True to design evolution, I started seeing styles be recycled around my 15th anniversary of being an interior designer and I sometimes have to put my own opinions aside to allow retro-inspired designs to happen. The focus of my career is giving the client what they desire despite my personal tastes and sometimes that is very difficult.

One trend that is coming on strong is white based tile/countertops with varying shades of marbling through it. This look is very 1979 and reminds me of my house growing up. Do you remember the moulded ‘marble’ sinks? (Some of you may still have them with the shell shaped sinks!) I remember my mom painstakingly choosing just the right tone for the marble swirl that was to go through her countertop; it was the ultimate in customization.

This look is strong, we have several tiles and countertop manufacturers that are replicating this swirled look but I don’t think the moulded shell sinks will make a comeback. For people who don’t appreciate the linear, contemporary look this might satisfy that more traditional part of you. I fight against it and have to remember that it is not me but my client who will be showering in this every morning and if they love it, I can make it beautiful for them.

Polished bronze is also pushing its way into design books and web sites and although we haven’t transitioned back to full on light fixtures and bathroom faucets it is still a trend to consider. Because it is such an undecided trend, it is advisable to use it in small doses such as an accessory piece or lamp just in case it goes out of fashion again. When brass went out of vogue it was not just unpopular but became an ugly four letter word which caused designers to sneer and say ‘oh you have BRASS in your house’ – it was a complete outcast.

Subway tiles are another retro-inspired look that is a solid design choice for both contemporary and traditional interiors and it is always the perfect look. If you are more contemporary you can modify this choice and put in a longer plank (4”x12” or 6”x24”) but the traditional 3”x 6” subway is classic and always appropriate. Hexagon shapes in a small format mosaic are becoming available in more natural stone, stainless steel and the traditional glazed tile making them a stylish solution for shower bases, back splashes and floors.

Maybe there is a little past in your decorating future, perhaps like me you need to open up and embrace the possibilities of design elements you may have long put to rest.

Maybe that chenille bedspread you have tucked away in your closet will make a stylish reappearance; I remember an auntie of mine having a knobby chenille housecoat and I’ve been on the lookout for that same robe most of my adult life.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.