Julie Nelsen

The passing of another holiday season and the onset of the New Year brings out a bit of nostalgia in me. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I think of the song written by Carole Bayer Sager and Paul Allen entitled “Everything Old is New Again.”

If you remember the song, one of the lines states, “No need to remember when, ‘Cause everything old is new again.”

In home decor, ideas get recycled every so often and what was “old” is now “new” again.

There are some things that become symbols of misguided choices from a period of design history such as the avocado-green appliances from the 1970s. But even the things that end up as the butt of jokes can make a comeback; things you were happy to see go forever often have a revival that makes them beautiful.

To give you a glimpse of what was in and is now coming back, I will highlight six design trends. Most have come back with a modern twist.

1.  Shag rugs

Homeowners might not go wall-to-wall in blue green shag carpeting anymore, but a long-fiber shag rug is now “in style” once again. The modern twist is that many of them are being designed in silk, bamboo and leather.

2.  Wood paneling

Hard to believe, I know. I took mine down the first month in my Minnesota home, but paneling has taken a contemporary twist. It was often dark, dated and screamed “1970s rec room.” Wood-paneled accent walls are back, but this time they are lighter in color, often horizontal in orientation and built from real wood. Paneling is best for accent walls. Don’t use it on all walls of the room!

3. 70s colors

Harvest gold, avocado green and pumpkin

Call it wasabi green, sunflower or tangerine tango if you want, but we know the truth. Avocado, harvest gold, and pumpkin are back. Not for appliances anymore, but these colors are showing up in everything from area rugs to coffee pots.

4. Beanbag chairs

What was once a rec room staple is now become a living room or family room feature. They’re so easy to move and so squishy and comfy, but the hip twist is the fabric exterior – you will find beanbag chairs in faux fur, Sherpa, fine leather and even velvet.

5. Obsolete Technology

Once obsolete pieces of technology like rotary-dial phones, gramophones and book presses are now retro design statements. Many of these are examples of Americana, instruments that symbolize, for some, the industrial revolution. Expect to see many reproductions for those who appreciate the appearance of vintage classics in their home.

6. Flocked Wallpaper

Again, I removed my flocked wallpaper soon after getting the key to our new home. Flocked wallpaper was once the epitome of tacky. Today’s unconventional and often ironic designs have brought it back. There are beautiful damasks, but my favorite is the dog-breed-silhouette-flocked paper from Osborne and Little.

In my opinion, nostalgic reinventions of past trends are a good thing; a longing for a period or place with happy personal associations often comes into play when working with clients’ homes. These design trends are fun ways to work nostalgia into a home.

This first week of the New Year, think of what has passed, what is still to come and what will make you love where you live?

Circle Pines resident Julie Nelsen, an instructor at St. Catherine University, designs for Twin Cities interior design firm Live, Love and Design. Reach her at julie@liveloveanddesign.com.

(2) comments


Although we love moving on to new things it would be better to keep certain things that are classic. In our house we should consider making certain changes after a while so that we could keep the look fresh. Sometimes it is the bathroom that needs most attention, so plan a bathroom evolution making small changes.


If you take fashion into account then you would notice that old trends keep resurfacing again and again. It would be wonderful to reuse old things, do not throw away old boxes, rugs at least you could help your child in his craft project.

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