Open thread: Top interior design trends of the 2010’s

The revival of midcentury design — both ‘modern’ and ‘modest’ — was one of the trends that took hold during the 2010s. Above: Wren and Willow’s little bit of perfection kitchen remodel.

This website is about design through the decades, and with that in mind, we’ve done stories and open threads about top residential interior design trends in the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. We’ll fill in those missing 20th Century decades soon, but meanwhile, I was thinking: Now that we are about 2/3 of the way through the 2010’s, let’s try and begin to capture the top interior design trends while they are all around us.

A KEY RULE RE COMMENTS: Regular readers are aware that I am not a fan of certain contemporary trends. But for this story, I will not opine. Let us — with objectivity and no judgment on aesthetic or other values — just make a list. Note, I may not approve judge-y comments; I am trying to keep myself focused on equanimity — it’s is not something I’m naturally programmed for, I’m working on it.

Top interior design trends of the 2010s:

I’ll start with a few that I think make the list.

  1. Gray is the Color of the Decade: Did the popularity of this color reflect the economic malaise of the Great Recession? Gray was used in abundance, on: Walls, kitchen cabinets, flooring, upholstery, and more. By 2017, the gray trend is fading (white walls, for example, seems to be ascendant.) 
  2. Bye bye Granite, hello Quartz: The long-lasting supremacy of granite on kitchen counter tops came to an end. Trendy folk who can afford them want quartz countertops. Even trendier folk, with even more dough re me, want giant slabs of Carrara marble.
  3. Retro Renovation Revival: The time finally came for midcentury design to experience a revival. Circa 1995, when I first started looking, there were like ZERO midcentury modern-style sofas for sale. Today, there seem to be HUNDREDS. Classic midcentury modern design penetrated the design and decorating culture, and midcentury “modest” got its due, too: The success of the Save the Pink Bathrooms campaign — which made these vintage bathrooms desirable again, at least among some cohorts — is just one example of how granny’s choices finally started getting some respect.
  4. Upcycle This: Propelled by online sites like etsy and pinterest, the 2010s saw the biggest revival of crafting since perhaps the 1970s. Chalk painting old furniture… turning ball jars into pendant lights… ‘put a bird on it’ everythings… and much more

What do you think of my list so far?
What else should go on the list?

More stories on design trends:

  1. KStacey says:

    I am struggling with this in my house. In theory, I am trying to renovate in the retro fashion, but I won’t do anything I personally do not like or that is impratical for my daily life. (luckily not much has been changed over the past 58 years!) In the den there is a small built-in desk area wedged between the fireplace and the doors to the back yard. In 1960 I’m sure it was a useful area for the telephone and to organize household bills, etc. Today it serves absolutely no purpose. Phone? It’s in my pocket. Paper bills? How quaint. because of the height of the shelves above, it doesn’t even work as a place to keep a laptop. 🙁 I have tried to utilize the all the cubbyholes and shelving, or find any purpose for it other than being a dead corner, and just can’t. Luckily, it is in a corner that does not have much potential anyway, but once I come up with a better idea for it, it may have to go. I have been looking at it for over a year now, trying to like or appreciate it… and I just can’t.

  2. Peter says:

    Yep. That’s what happens when people watch too many shows on HGTV where they keep saying subway tiles are “timeless.” They may have been used (and look good in) turn of the century Victorian houses, maybe even up to 1940s traditional houses, but I don’t think they look quite right in 1950s and 1960s (maybe even 1970s) mid century modern homes. I know they’re quite popular now in the current traditional style houses, and have been for quite a while.

    I guess it could be worse… white subway tiles are (only slightly) better than large beige or taupe porcelain or ceramic tiles in bathrooms or for kitchen backsplashes. Due to an emergency plumbing repair, where the wall was opened, I removed the h****** [edited] 1990s beige and hunter green country farmhouse style tiles in my bathtub area of my 1965 MCM house. In a pinch, all I could get quickly that was era-appropriate were white 4″x4″ tiles. For the floor, I had time to shop around and got pink mosaic tile.

    Next is my kitchen… the previous owner installed 4″x16″ beige subway tile for the backsplash. It would look great in a 2005 urban condo or McMansion. Those are coming out and being replaced with 4″x4″ lime green tiles! Fortunately, no farm sink, some modern plastic composite sink. I hope to replace that too, not sure with what, but it will be more MCM appropriate.

  3. Genevieve says:

    Stainless steel still seems to be holding strong in this decade, but there were a few trials of interesting colors of stainless steel: Whirlpool Sunset Bronze (https://www.appliancesconnection.com/blog/whirlpool-sunset-bronze-the-new-stainless-steel/), which didn’t make it, and a charcoal/black stainless steel color, which could be seen at the 2018 KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Showcase ?).
    Also, apparent overuse of the white subway tile, quartz, and white cabinet as copied from flipping shows.

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