Friday, February 3, 2012

Date This Kitchen - A Timeline of Color Trends

I recently declared, rather valiantly perhaps, that I could tell what decade a kitchen originated from or was last remodeled by the color of the cabinets. And I’m sure I’m not the only and that’s why so many home owners have recently painted their orangish-toned oak cabinets a shade of white. 

So here is my take on the color timeline of decorating. I didn’t go back any farther because a) that would be older than I’ve been around; and b) my interest just doesn’t go back any farther. 

1950’s – bright painted colors like aqua or pink. This brings to mind those kitschy little refrigerators from with the rounded corners, as demonstrated by the wife in apron and heels next to it. Also those aluminum cups that made any drink taste awful.

1960’s – wood with orange overtones or painted colors. Still using aqua and pink, but also bright yellow, red or blue. Think of the tablecloths from this period with these colors, usually involving cherries in the design.

1970’s – the era of avocado green and harvest gold. Warm brown wood tones for cabinets.

1980’s – Pickled pink/white oak cabinets. Think of all the sofas and wallpaper in a combination of teal, burgundy, and forest green. Salmon was also very big (the color not the food).

1990’s – White and maple glazed cabinets to accompany colors like sage green and gold.

2000’s – Espresso and cherry cabinets. Chocolate brown became the new beige to go with shades of cream and ivory. Chocolate brown and light blue/teal has been a favorite for a while now.

2010’s – White or painted gray cabinets, sometimes mixing both in one kitchen. Gray becomes the new neutral and is often combined with black and white. For gray to come to life it needs a dose of color around it or it just goes bland, so bright colors are often introduced in the room. Think bright citron yellow or mustard yellow, chartreuse or lime green. Or the color of the year for 2012, tangerine. Dark red, bright pink, aqua. You know, all those colors from the 1950’s. They’re here again. Gray places nice with all bright colors.
 Now who doesn't like a bright green zebra pattern?
I would love to have a set of either of these pillows. By the way, they can be found at trendypillows on And no she didn't pay me to show these. But she totally should, right?

This is in no way a judgment of color combinations or room d├ęcor from any era. If you like it, it’s good. I’ve never been one to buy everything that’s trendy at the moment because at sometime in the future it will look very dated and people like me will know exactly when you bought it, if not also where you bought it. So I prefer an eclectic mix of styles, usually combining a traditional styled piece with modern fabric or colors. Here's an $8 wing back chair redo that can found at along with a full tutorial if you're just that brave:


So what about you? Do you get your room set the way you like it and keep it that way or do you try to add in some trendy items when the styles/colors change in and out of vogue?

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