10 Lowbrow Trends That are Making a Comeback

Designers and brands are breathing new life into the most common materials and furnishings

Everything blah is stylish again.  Never ceasing to keep us on our toes, designers seem to have resurrected the most banal surfaces, trims, and furnishings you would never expect to see in a well-designed home.  In some cases, dated materials have been reinterpreted in a modern design and suddenly don’t appear so dated.  In other examples, designers appropriate decor techniques typically used in dull public spaces, and reimagine them in posh homes so you see them in a completely new light.  Whatever the metamorphosis, don’t be surprised when it makes you consider reupholstering your childhood beanbag chair or dusting off those old aluminum Venetian blinds.  These designers and brands prove their creativity by finding beauty in things that were almost permanently passé.

Photos: Getty Images; Douglas Friedman

Checkerboard Floors

Linoleum checkerboard floors were once ubiquitous in midcentury kitchens, American diners, and school hallways.  Today, the graphic pattern is re-created in luxe materials like this concrete tile used by Ashe + Leandro in Naomi Watts’s New York City home.

Photos: Getty Images; Matthieu Salvaing

Beanbag Chairs

Every basement playroom and kindergarten had one in the ’80s.  But while the beanbag chair we all remember was made of cheap vinyl or polyester, the original Sacco chair by Zanotta from 1968 is popping up again in exotic materials, complementing sleek living rooms.

Photos: Getty Images; courtesy of Dimore Studios


Just when you thought fringe went out with your grandmother’s daybed, designers are adding the ornate trim to modern seating.  The result, as exhibited in Dimore Studio’s chairs for Casa Fayette, is fanciful and fun—a far cry from the heavy and clumsy fringe of decades past.

Photo: Getty Images; courtesy of ASH NYC

Venetian Blinds

It’s a noise so familiar, you can hear it if you close your eyes: the cacophony of hundreds of thin metal slats zipped up with the torpedoing jerk of a string.  And while the sound is the same, the new look of aluminum Venetian blinds is graphic and precise, like this lounge set by Ash NYC for the Collective Design Fair.

Photos: Getty Images; Benjamin Benschneider


The revival of plywood appears in everything from exterior and interior surfaces to cabinets and even furniture.  While it was formerly classified as a cheap material often used in dark, retro homes, today’s use of plywood is decidedly light but impactful.

Photos: Getty Images; courtesy of Made in Ratio

Stacking Chairs

While a stack of plastic or metal chairs is still the norm in classrooms, the space-saving technique can also be used in the home.  Stacking chairs like the Alpha by Made in Ratio now come in rich materials like ash and walnut wood.

Photo: Getty Images; Douglas Friedman


Terrazzo is possibly one of the most common and unnoticed materials used for public floors around the world, because it is naturally waterproof and wears well.  When seen in a space like designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s Palm Springs home, it certainly makes you reconsider the ubiquitous surface.

Photos: Getty Images; courtesy of India Mahdavi


Because of its ease and durability, rattan is often associated with mundane outdoor furniture or clichéd island-theme interiors.  But when designers impart their special touch on the everyday wood material, rattan furniture can be the next new statement piece in your home.  India Mahdavi transforms the material into luxury furniture with her rattan Stromboli table.

Photo: Getty Images; Lauren Coleman

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

While hardwood floors have reigned supreme over the past few decades, designers are beginning to reconsider wall-to-wall carpeting.  Innovative design store The Future Perfect fully cosigned carpeting—in an unexpected orange hue, no less!—at its presentation during Design Miami, which, when paired with contemporary furniture, felt decidedly modern.  In our April issue, designer Ashley Hicks took the trend one step further with wall-to-wall carpeting in a bright violet pattern of his own design.

Photo: courtesy of The Future Perfect


Vertical spotlights, or “uplights,” were used especially in the ’70s through the ’90s to dramatize furniture, walls, or decor.  While the effect was harsh and now looks dated, uplights are coming back in sleek, modern cans and provide a soft, controlled glow in the home.  The RBS Uplight by Steven Haulenbeek may be traditional in function, but it’s 3D-printed, so you can be confident you’re still in the right era.

SOURCE: Architectural Digest
POSTED: March 29, 2017
AUTHOR: Sydney Wasserman

@Jurds Real Estate – Cessnock and Hunter Valley Wine Country Property Experts – the place to buy, sell and lease property in Cessnock and the Hunter Region.

Architectural Digest
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10 Lowbrow Trends That are Making a Comeback