The September Issue
vintage furniture

The Surprising Vintage Design Trends Creeping Back Into Our Homes

As much as design is always evolving, there are some things that stay the same—or at least come back every few decades. The hallmark of good design is those everlasting pieces and ideas that, even if they go out of vogue, inevitably work their way back into our homes in fresh and interesting new ways.

And undeniably, some of the biggest design trends in recent years have been vintage—think: the revival of midcentury furniture, bold floral wallpapers, and geometric patterns, just to name a few.

So what can we expect to see next? We spoke to 9 designers to find out what vintage trends they're starting to see come back into our homes, but be warned: some of them are a little bit unexpected.

1. Rush Seating

Rush seating in a kitchen

Design: Anne Sage; Photo: Elizabeth Messina

Cane and rattan furniture has been popping up everywhere in the past year, but there are still new and fresh ways to incorporate this trend into your space. "My favorite iteration of this trending construction technique is rush seating. It combines sumptuous, earthy textures with clean, modern lines for a timeless look that's so versatile! I like to think of it as Tulum meets Copenhagen," interior designer Anne Sage says.

2. Vintage Cabinet Speakers

Vintage cabinet speakers in a modern home

Arbor & Co.

Self-described music lovers Sara and Duane of Arbor & Co. love the way vintage cabinet speakers are being incorporated into décor.

"The webbed fabric on many of these cabinets adds a lot of texture to any space," they say. "Even modern and high-end speaker brands have brought back the style with some of their new Bluetooth speakers. It's a clear sign that many midcentury modern design features will always come back around."

3. Wood Paneling

A retro dining room with wood paneling

savage house 1970

Wood paneling is no longer dated, designer David Quarles IV says, and you should think twice if you're considering removing it.

"Now, wood-paneled walls are making a major comeback, but in a different way," he says. "Instead of decking out a whole room in paneling, now you can bring in this design element as a simple accent wall. Or, if you want to add a little more visual interest and depth to your built-in bookcases or wet bars, install wood paneling in these small yet impactful areas to really take your room’s design to the next level."

4. Crémone Bolts

Cremone bolts in a kitchen

Designer DuVäl Reynolds knows that sometimes, it's all about the small details, like crémone bolts.

"Typically used as decorative hardware to fasten a pair of swinging windows, we are introducing this look onto cabinetry and custom built-ins," she says. "This is such a strategic way to give a new installation a matured and more cultivated appeal. The dynamic silhouette has such a sophisticated overture that's sure to look good with any design style, any color palette, and any genre one can imagine."

5. Found Vases and Pottery

Found vases and pottery

Tara Kantor

The next time you find yourself perusing an antique market, consider looking for pottery-like vases and other vessels that catch your eye. As designer Tara Kantor notes, "I am finding that the use of these decorative accessories helps warm a space and can make a room seem more livable and less precious. I think people are looking for authenticity, and adding vintage pieces helps achieve that."

6. Repurposing Dressers

Dresser repurposed into a bar

Beauty Is Abundant by Leah Alexander

Some of the best design comes out of using furniture for a different purpose than it was originally made for. "I find that dressers are being repurposed as entryway consoles or bars," designer Leah Alexander of Beauty Is Abundant says. "A fresh coat of paint and new hardware work wonders to change a childhood chest into a mature masterpiece."

7. Peacock Chairs

A peacock chair

oksana_nazarchuk/Getty Images

Statement pieces are key elements of design, and the return of peacock chairs is sure to add a statement to any space. "What we’re seeing is a real emergence of tropical-inspired and Afrocentric design," Iman Stewart says. "It can really tie into a bohemian design but you can also make it modern."

And you may even be lucky enough to have access to one already. "That peacock chair is so big within Caribbean and African cultures. Every child had one of those growing up," Stewart says.

8. Family Heirlooms

Grand millenial style

Brexton Cole Interiors

Having family members with great taste can be a huge asset when it comes to décor. No matter what decade (or century) they're from, items passed down from previous generations are a huge and growing trend. "The term "grandmillennial" has been floating around for the past year," Valerie Darden of Brexton Cole Interiors says. "This term means young-ish people from 20s to early 40s mixing their 'grandmother's décor' with sleek new modern pieces."

Don't have anything passed down? Just head to a thrift store or antique mall to find the perfect vintage piece.

9. Vintage Rugs

Vintage rug in an eclectic living room

Michelle Gage

Vintage rugs are a great investment because they don't seem to be going anywhere in terms of décor trends. And there are so many ways to use them, from the living room to the kitchen to the entryway.

"They are a great way to add some color and pattern into your space," Michelle Gage says. "If you fall in love with one that is the right look but the wrong size, you can always layer a larger jute underneath."

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