Decorating trends

kitchen house area

Don’t ever let anyone tell you miracles can’t happen. Our decades-long marriage has weathered another round of my pounding nails into our plaster walls.


Seems like just yesterday we were painting everything gray or white. Antique and vintage dealers lamented their warehouses full of unsellable furniture with one key phrase: “brown is down.”

Translation: brown (wood) furniture simply did not sell. Period. It seemed no one wanted the heavy old walnut, oak, or cherry pieces of the past. Chalk paint sellers, on the other hand, made a killing. It seemed like you couldn’t enter an antique shop that didn’t offer some shabby chic white or turquoise-painted furniture.

Everything was light and bright and “farmhouse” fresh. That last one does make me giggle. Anyone living in an actual working farmhouse knows having everything white isn’t the best idea. True farmhouse might be better suited to the color of hay and mud, perhaps grain?

I still love that bright and white look. It’s so pretty. That said I am also so pleased to see old-fashioned antiques coming back in vogue. Today’s antique market report is that prices have risen on everything from rustic to semi-ornate Victorian pieces.

After decades of flat-pack furniture assembled with an Allen wrench furnishing first homes, it’s nice to see young adults embrace quality. Each time a young person appreciates a fine finish or dove-tailed drawer, I know there is hope for us yet.


I first set up housekeeping as an adult over two decades ago. In that time, I have weathered my share of decorating trends. There was the all-floral Laura Ashley phase. It was like we lived in a garden party fever dream for a few years. Sorry honey.

Then came the hunter green and burgundy plaid era. I still love that color combination. I don’t care if it’s long out of style. I also had a deep raspberry-colored carpet I thought was the coolest thing ever.

It was also just a minute ago, give or take, that I was swearing that with God as my witness I would never wallpaper anything ever again. Period. Full stop.

Changing times

Cut to last month when I happily applied some $2.99 wallpaper (an absolute steal!) to a bedroom “accent” wall. In doing so, I happily revived not one but two decorating trends I once swore were dead to me. Accent walls are so 2005 after all.

I have had a love/hate relationship with wallpaper since I first applied it to unpainted drywall (oops!) and lived to curse my own self years later when removal almost required removal of the wall. That was the day I learned about primer and sizing.

After wallpapering everything paisley and floral with a brief foray into the ivy pattern that was everywhere in 2000, I then stripped it all off as the spare look of a painted wall took hold.

Now, I am out here spreading giant blue palm fronds on my walls “grandmillenial” style and acting like our Victorian-era farmhouse is actually located in the Hamptons. That creek in our front acreage counts as a waterfront view, right?

Of course, there were many years when my decor was basically Fisher Price toys and whatever Little Tikes was selling that year. It wasn’t “Good Housekeeping”  worthy but those were some of my favorite years.

As the years went on, I haunted auctions and my ancestor’s hand-me-downs and slowly transformed our home into something I love. I also, somewhat unwittingly, adopted a decor style best described as “if a 90-year-old Vegas performer had Pinterest.”

I am basically a magpie. I like colorful art, mirrors, decorative glass — basically shiny objects, old stuff and birds. I am also very smitten with woven cane chairs. Those ubiquitous barrel chairs that were all the rage in the 1960s? I adore them. I have over a half dozen of them and I am not opposed to obtaining more.

I kind of had my style set by doing what makes me happy.

Younger generation

GirlWonder married and moved out. BoyWonder and his beautiful fiance bought a house. Now I get to enjoy watching these couples make their own houses into homes.

Let me assure you that for them brown is definitely NOT down. Both of “my girls” go absolutely bonkers for rich wood tones. Beautiful Fiance has been known to make a roadtrip to procure gorgeous Eastlake furniture. They prowl antique shops and thrift stores to mix in some mid-century modern, a 1920s piece, and then top it all off with some “authentic vintage 1980s” pieces.

For the sake of my ego, I do respectfully request that we do not use the term “antique” when referring to 1980s furnishings of my childhood. My heart isn’t ready. I just may cry.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt welcomes comments at; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or 


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