What’s under your feet (or how you get around) is as important as anything when it comes to the house. That’s why this fall, we collaborated with The Home Depot on an A-to-Z guide that will give you the confidence to make the flooring choices you’ll love. Read the manual from A to Z here.
Upscale design has leaned towards minimalism over the past few decades, evangelizing a streamlined living and home. (Think: the international style championed by mid-century architect Mies van der Rohe; the black and chrome interiors characterized by upscale apartments of the 1980s; or the Scandinavian-inspired white and wood that gained popularity in the 2010s. Luckily for the more maximalists among us, the tide is starting to turn – and the kitsch is here to help.
A little over the top and lots of retro, playful kitsch flooring is making a comeback as homeowners liven up their interior spaces with a nod to the past. The Home Depot offers several options that will read cool, not choppy, when it comes to injecting a bit of design nostalgia into your home – four of which are explored below.
“There is currently this evolution towards a more kitschy, quirky, almost campy design, especially among a lot of up and coming designers,” says Hadley Mendelsohn, editor of House Beautiful.
The key to kitsch is embracing the peculiarities of your space and learning to understand the unique way that seemingly quirky pieces, colors, or textures could work well side by side.
“If you inherit a room with really old-fashioned wallpaper – like a canvas or something that just doesn’t match your style – but mix it up with a really awesome flooring, like an over-the-top Persian rug – complexion, the room may actually look more modern, ”says Mendelsohn. “It takes this wallpaper out of its original context and makes it fresh and more useful again.” Read on to learn more about some of our favorite retro flooring trends.
Terrazzo is a durable and remarkable type of retro flooring that in the United States reached its peak in the 1960s. It is eye-catching yet still subtle enough to serve as the basis for a variety of interior styles.
Terrazzo features marble, glass or quartz chips speckled in a cement or epoxy resin base, allowing for an endless number of color combinations and a range of size options for the chips themselves. The tiles become individual works of art, shimmering but sober.
Terrazzo can be poured like concrete in situ, but more often it is purchased and installed in the form of tiles, which makes it ideal for any high traffic area such as entryways, hallways or laundry rooms. If you’re looking to indulge in a more kitschy lifestyle, terrazzo strikes that balance between contemporary and vintage.
Hardwood floors provide the same “everything old is new” vibe to a home, especially for those who are interested in installing hardwood but want a little extra pizzazz.
Select a square of parquet and see it populate below
A mid-century modern favorite, parquet tiles are made by arranging pieces of hardwood in a repeating geometric pattern (the most popular is the chevron). Hardwood floors are already pre-stained, can usually withstand a single finish, and are much easier to install than traditional hardwood planks – just glue the tile to the sub-floor above grade.
Just like hardwood floors, parquet can warp, so it should not be installed in bathrooms or other areas with high humidity. But hardwood floors are perfect for adding a back base to a den or living room.
Concrete or linoleum
Kitsch also encourages a lot of creative licensing, including using more basic forms of flooring in a space and adding funky elements yourself.
“If you have concrete floors, for example in a warehouse attic, you can repaint the floors and do something wacky with spatters,” suggests Mendelsohn. Concrete floors can also be successfully stained, either in a solid color or a variety of colors. “Or, if you’re using a material like linoleum, take a giant paintbrush and do random abstract swirls. This can end up making it look like a gallery! “
And then there is the practical side of kitsch: it is more durable.
Instead of buying or replacing every element of a room during the renovation – new wallpaper, new material, new light fixtures – kitsch encourages reuse and thinking outside the box to create a one-of-a-kind space, to mix and match is up to you and yours alone.