7 Vintage Design Elements That Are Still Popular Today

Adding the right touch of vintage décor to your home is a matter of balance. It brings that decades-old, well-traveled quality that gives the spaces in your home a special character. A common concern with vintage décor is that it will make a home feel outdated. Fortunately, certain design elements and trends have stood the test of time.

We tend to think of vintage décor in terms of well-known objects, like shag carpets and Eames chairs, but it is so much more than that. Some of the most iconic design concepts of eras past continue to influence how we design our homes today. From features to furniture, here are just a few that have maintained their popularity with homeowners and interior designers alike.

 

7 Vintage Design Elements That Are Still Popular Today

1. Built-Ins

The history of built-ins dates back to the Arts & Crafts movement of the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. In contrast to the Victorian period that preceded them, the Arts & Crafts designers looked to simplify home design by working features into the structure of the home itself. The clean aesthetic look of built ins, as well as their functionality and the storage they provide, have kept them relevant for decades.

2. Exposed Brick

Exposed brick has maintained its popularity through the years, sometimes used to compliment certain modern design trends, such as Industrial, a common design choice for open-concept, non-traditional living spaces such as lofts. Whether it’s stripping away a wall to reveal a chimney or using it as a backsplash for open shelving, exposed brick creates a vintage lived-in quality. Its natural pattern and textured surface work well as either a focal point or an accent piece in large and small spaces alike.

3. Crown Molding

With roots dating back to ancient Greece, crown molding is both decorative and functional. It provides a visual transition for the surfaces in a room by embellishing the space between the ceiling and wall. It can also be a decorative piece for architectural elements such as bookshelves, doorways, etc. Although crown molding is a small detail, it plays a significant role in tying a room together.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

4. Marble Countertops

From ancient Rome to the European Renaissance, marble has been widely used throughout history in countless homes throughout the world. Heat resistant and easy to clean, marble countertops have become a staple of kitchens and bathrooms. Due to their large surface area and durability, they are often the centerpiece of kitchen renovation projects. Because marble is porous, it’s best to seal them at the time of installation to prevent damage.

5. Wicker Style Furniture

With origins tracing back thousands of years, wicker-woven furniture is still ubiquitous today. Made from the sturdy and flexible material rattan, wicker furniture is lightweight and weather resistant. It makes for the ideal outdoor patio chair or lounge seat, or the perfect rocker by the fireplace in the living room. A combination of functionality and beauty, wicker furniture’s popularity has showed no signs of slowing down.

 

A wicker chair holding a book, a hat, and a blanket.

Image Source: Getty Images

 

6. Checkerboard Tile

Checkerboard tile is a classic element of vintage design, often used on kitchen floors and in bathroom tile work. Designers have always found a way to incorporate this eye-catching black and white pattern into the latest trends. In the home, it can be applied on a large or small scale. If a whole kitchen floor is a bit much for your taste, incorporate it in smaller areas, such as a bathroom backsplash or a backdrop for your shelves.

7. Mid-Century Modern Furniture

The evidence of the Mid-Century Modern (MCM) movement’s relevance is all around us, but in the home, it lives on in its signature furniture pieces. MCM designers took the concepts of modern design—clean lines, minimalism, multi-functionality—and created sleek, interesting furniture pieces that blend into a room and make a statement simultaneously. Common items such as teak desks, Eames chairs, Tulip chairs, credenzas, and raised-legged dressers skyrocketed in popularity during the fifties and sixties. MCM has proven to be timeless, and to this day, its influence can be seen in homes everywhere.

 

A living room decorated with mid-century modern furniture.

Image Source: Getty Images

 

For more information on home design styles, check out our Interior Design page on our website.

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What is a Rambler?

The distinct “rambler” architectural style is known by several names—rambler, ranch house, California ranch. Whatever you call it, the rambler has played an important role in the evolution of the American home. From its spacious interior to its welcoming layout, the rambler is tailor made for a comfortable home life.

 

History of the Rambler

Originally conceived in the 1920s, it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that the rambler became a staple of domestic American life as the suburban boom reached new heights. The intention behind the architecture was simple: design the perfect post-war American home. The term “rambler” was a reference to the way the single-story design sprawled—or rambled—across the landscape, opting for horizontal expanse rather than vertical. One can imagine how fitting a portrayal this was of the American West—a home that allowed for expansive views of the surrounding landscape on a level plain. The rambler style was one of the first architectural styles to incorporate an attached garage into the home design. Over time, the rambler style began to take on elements of modern design and eventually evolved into split-level homes, creating rambler variants such as “raised ranch style,” “suburban ranch style,” and “storybook rambler.”  Even with these developments, the rambler has always stayed true to the theme behind its inception: a home designed to accommodate the needs of the modern American family. To this day, rambler homes are found in great numbers across the country.

 

Image Source: Getty Images

 

Characteristics of a Rambler

Ramblers are known for the flow of their interiors that allow for easy movement throughout the home’s horizontal spaces. The spacious layout, often times anchored by a central area, creates a feeling a continuity between rooms, a concept that was influenced by modern architecture. The wide layouts also resulted in large footprints, even though the majority of the homes in this style were constructed as one-story structures.

In another nod to modernist homes, ramblers often prioritized outdoor spaces for entertaining and gathering. This connection to the outdoors is reinforced by large windows and easy access to back patios to create a harmony between nature and the home itself. Similar to its distant relative, the Craftsman style home, it’s common for rambler to have low-pitched roofs and overhanging eaves.

For more information on home design, check out the Design Page on our blog.

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Timeless Home Design

When decorating and designing, homeowners often strive for a home that may incorporate vintage and modern elements but remains timeless at its core. Fortunately, certain design principles and elements have stood the test the time and can help you curate the home you desire. Here is your guide to understanding how you can design a home that looks and feels timeless.

 

Principles of Timeless Home Design

Balance

When designing a space in your home, balance is a key concept to delivering a timeless ambiance. Achieved through a proportionate arrangement of objects and colors, balance will help create a logical pattern in your home that pleases the eye. Experiment with symmetry in your home to build balance. This doesn’t mean that there needs to be two of every object, rather in every space you should utilize the objects and color schemes present to create symmetry.

 

Focal Point

Imagine a living room without a couch or mantle, or a dining room without a dining table. These images are confusing because we simply don’t know where to focus our attention. A core principle of timeless design is that space should have a focal point to give order to the room. Focal points don’t always have to be derived from a built-in feature of the home, you can create one with furniture, artwork, or some other form of eye-catching décor.

 

Scale and Proportion

Scale and proportion are two fundamental concepts of interior design and are key to creating a timeless décor. Simply put, proportion refers to the relationship of items and colors, while scale refers to their relationship with the room. For example, if a room in your home has high ceilings, this allows for taller furniture and artwork, while the most spacious rooms in your house are the best home for large décor pieces and furnishings. Proper usage of scale and proportion also means leaving some space between items to let the room breathe, so to speak.

 

Colors and Patterns

For a timeless look and feel, choose more classic color and pattern schemes. Basketweave is a traditional pattern that helps to create symmetry. Stripes are always in style and can help to reinforce clean lines. Stick to neutral paint colors on your walls as they give you the flexibility to add décor without overwhelming the room. Combinations of off-whites, beiges, grays, and earthy tones will deliver that timeless feel you’re looking for.

 

Natural Elements

There’s nothing more timeless than nature. Materials like wood, stone, and marble have been a cornerstone of design since antiquity. Whether you utilize these materials in your home as furniture, accent pieces, or focal points, they will help create a trend-free, organic environment in any room.

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2021 Paint Color Trends

Each new year brings a fresh perspective on the latest design trends, home décor, and popular colors for homeowners to incorporate in their homes. This year has greatly impacted the way we depend on the places we live.

 

This shift in responsibilities has changed homeowners’ needs, which are reflected in the upcoming year’s most sought-after paint colors. Here are some of the color trends you can expect to see in 2021 and how you can incorporate them into your home.

 

2021 Paint Color Trends

 

Embrace neutral colors

After a weary 2020, expect to see a return to prominence for nostalgic, neutral colors. The resurgence of neutrals signals a focus on simple comfort, healing, a return towards wellness, and is representative of a lifestyle with a slower pace. Colors to look for include oatmeal hues, cerulean and Aegean blues, and earthy tones.

 

Comforting colors

More than ever we are looking to our homes to provide us the chance to relax and recharge. Accordingly, serene, warm colors and soft pastels are making a strong comeback. They set the mood by providing a calm foundation, leaving room to add colorful decorations. Keep your eye out for rejuvenating colors including soft reds and creamy off-whites.

 

Add vibrance

To build upon your neutral palette, add touches of vibrant colors for an exciting contrast. This coming spring, you can expect to see nature-based hues on the rise. In 2021, these nature colors will reflect a return to vibrance after homeowners have spent most of 2020—and, in some places, remain—cooped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Colors to look for include rust tones and hues in the gold-to-orange range.

 

Color trends in your home

The calm, soothing presence of neutrals is best delivered when given ample space, so look to use the neutral palette on large surface areas. Good use cases in your home include painting whole walls, as well as furniture and carpeting choices. For vibrant colors, sprinkle them throughout the home in your décor and through smaller accents.

 

60-30-10 Rule

After you’ve chosen your colors, follow the 60-30-10 color design rule. It states that 60% of a room’s color should be the dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color, and 10% should be the accent color.

 

2021 Paint Colors

 

Here are three 2021 paint colors that will deliver the serene home environment you’re looking for while providing a solid foundation to add decorations.

 

Aegean Teal

Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year is Aegean Teal. It combines a calming blue, a natural green, and a soothing grey. Its qualities make it a sound choice for bedroom or living room walls, as well as cabinets and other large surface areas. Aegean Teal is the perfect choice for homeowners looking to incorporate a bluish hue into their home without the melancholy undertones that come with blue.

 

Urbane Bronze

Say hello to Urbane Bronze—Sherwin Williams’ 2021 color of the year. Their selection is founded in the desire to create a sense of calm at home. Urbane Bronze helps to deliver the sense of a sanctuary at home, given its organic appeal. Use this color to give your home a relaxed feel by painting your trim or accent walls. Urbane Bronze pairs nicely with greys and modern greens.

 

Big Cypress

PPG has selected Big Cypress as part of their “Be Well” 2021 Palette of the Year. This ginger orange pairs well with cherry and mahogany woods, as well as touches of gold. Homeowners looking to create a soothing feeling without missing a sense of warmth can depend on Big Cypress to do the job. Another earthy tone, this color is the perfect choice to create what PPG calls a “huggable” room.

 

2020 has been a unique year, changing how we perceive and live in our homes. The new year presents an opportunity for a fresh start, so consider exploring these colors and trends to find the right combination for your home in 2021.

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