The line between Hopelessly Outdated and Wonderfully Current is indeed blurring.

So you can stop checking your vision.

You may have seen an article proclaiming the virtues of ripping out old “dated” wood paneling in the same week you saw a DIY article on installing wood paneling for an “updated” look.

You may have spent a few hundred dollars removing every last brass or gold-tone fixture in your home – from doorknobs and hinges to chandeliers only to see someone on a Fix N Flip show recommend the very thing you took out.

You listened when the experts told you that clutter, collectibles and over-stuffed rooms were adding stress to your life and taking away your joy. Now, the new minimalism you just embraced is reportedly giving way to “Maximalism.” Is it too late to get that box of stuff back from GoodWill?

Yes, everything old is cool again.

Let’s start with the walls. Just a few years ago, the faux finishes arrived with all manner of Textures — Venetian plaster, sponging, sand-finish. A handful of years later, we painted just one wall –called an Accent Wall—with something daring, like Opera House Red or Eggplant purple. Most recently, the neutrals – dove gray, and sand beige were trimmed in clean white. Wainscotting was the accent.

In today’s DÉCOR Magazine: “Shades of chocolate brown, wine, olive green, and yellow ochre are all taking over in homes. We love substituting these warm, natural colors for a neutral on the sofa or walls.”

Now there is talk of the Return of floral wallpaper.

I’ll let you have a minute. Maybe you should sit down.

It’s hard to believe that someone does not recall the absolute nightmare that accompanies wallpaper – the complexity of installation – wrinkles, bumps, sticky glue – and the crazy complexity of removal once saner minds again prevail, (sanding walls –resultant fine dust Everywhere– repairing the walls where the wallpaper took sheetrock off with it, re-texturing, texturing again and then painting and painting. 

It is a scourge worth fighting. RESIST!

The other new/old trends are not as glaringly irresponsible as this one but they carry their own dangers.

Take paneling. The old 70s paneling came in sheets that were relatively easy to remove. Of course, the sheetrock damage caused by the pry tool would need spot repair, but in general, not a big deal. The new trend is shiplap or reclaimed wood, which is installed board by board. Removal will be a major job. Be sure you will love it forever before you install it!

Countertops improved when we eliminated narrow cantilever designs that gave too narrow a width for food prep and again too narrow a space for eating. We all breathed a sigh of relief when counters became one height and kitchen islands came to the fore. Now? A movement to return to the infeasible and silly-looking two-level counters.

Interior Doors. In the 70s and 80s, doors were stained to a dark wood look, a style that made narrow hallways all the more narrow-looking. In the 1990s, these were replaced with white 6-8 paneled semi-gloss faux wood grain. Current new construction features cream no-grain design with satin finish – understated and classy. Coming soon: Black, dark grey, or even Navy doors with brass hardware.

The jury is still out on two other House Beautiful trends, one the Antique Landscape Tapestry (think Décor for your castle) and something called Chinoiserie.

There is good news, in this mostly depressing forecast: Industrial décor is on its way OUT. No more interrogation-inspired naked light bulbs! No more rough barn floors that splinter the feet and attract dog hair and crumbs! No more stain-inviting concrete countertops! No more overly candid open shelving!

So dwell on the good, folks. And for goodness sake, don’t throw away those ugly ochre curtains!

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