The latest trends in home decorating take cues from the 1960s

Color Me Retro

The latest trends in home decorating take cues from the 1960s.



By Shelley Sakala

Prepare yourselves, time travel is here. And our first stop is 1960s America. It was the era of chain smoking, the moon landing, and the three-martini lunch. Dad had his pipe and slippers, while mom was a real, live Suzy Homemaker.

But, as the years progressed, martinis were replaced by green tea (at work, anyway). Cigarette smokers were chased into the shadows. Stay-at-home dads became a thing. And mom traded in her apron for a corner office and a 401K. But for all the changes we’ve seen over the past 50 years, some things from the 1960s are back again. Protests dominate the news. Apparently we’re enemies with Russia, again. And those kitchen colors we all laughed about while watching Mad Men are making a comeback. You can decide for yourself which of these three resurgent trends is the most frightening.

Because we’ve had enough political discourse to last us awhile, I’m going to focus on the retro kitchen colors. We’ve seen hints of this lately with Kitchen Aid appliances. Their iconic mixer has been showing up on countertops in shades like Pistachio and Aqua Sky. And once we cracked open the door to the past, it was just a matter of time before our hipster-nostalgic culture kicked down that door and demanded a full color palette revival. At last count, there were 63 different colors available from Kitchen Aid. For those who are truly committed to channeling their inner Don Draper, Viking Appliances makes high-end ovens and refrigerators in colors that would make Betty Crocker swoon, including Burgundy, Sea Glass, and Lemonade. Add some lime green vinyl flooring, and it’s 1967 all over again!

The only problem with having seemingly every color available is that there’s no prevailing trend to guide us. Instead, we’re given infinite choices by companies all-too-willing to sell us whatever suits our fancy. An almond cream colored refrigerator? Sure thing. A candy apple red mixer? You got it. A harvest gold oven? Why not? Orange walls? Let’s do it!

I’m not saying everyone needs to live in the same beige walled world. It’s actually wonderful that we’re not limited in our design choices. But as a Realtor, I pay close attention to various factors that can affect home values. And as a homeowner, I know full well the cost of trends that might not have staying power (popcorn ceilings, anybody?).

It’s possible to be current and stylish without being a slave to a trend. So before you invest money in the flavor-of-the-month, I recommend checking to see what the tastemakers of the world are pushing. The color experts at Pantone have chosen their 2017 Color of the Year. Say hello to Greenery. According to Pantone, Greenery is a “…fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore, and renew.”

In a modern, tech-obsessed world, it’s actually nice to see an effort being made to return to the natural world. Greenery is certainly what I’d call a pretty color, but it’s also a few shades away from that quintessential 1960s kitchen color: Avocado. This is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It simply means that if you decide to give your kitchen a makeover using the color known as Greenery, you’ll be slightly retro and perfectly on-trend for awhile. The question is, however, how will you feel once the next big thing comes along?

My best recommendation is to test drive any new color with a $40 can of wall paint. You’ll soon learn whether it’s a color you can live with. If you can’t, then your financial loss is minimal. But if it’s love at first coat, then feel free to dive head-first into accessories, décor, and possibly even that $3,000 green fridge. Your kitchen, your call. Just be prepared to switch to a more neutral color scheme when it comes time to sell your home (neutrals usually sell better). And in the meantime, enjoy your kitchen––whatever color you choose!


Pantone Colors of the Year

2017: Greenery

2016: Rose Quartz & Serenity

2015: Marsala

2014: Radiant Orchid

2013: Emerald

2012: Tangerine Tango

2011: Honeysuckle




In 1960 a new house cost $12,700*



© 2018 85085 Magazine. A Division of Strickbine Publishing Inc.

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