Saturday, September 6, 2003

Like wow, bright, bold designs of the '60s are back



By Elizabeth Betts Hickman
The Nashville Tennessean

[IMAGE] Shades of Light's psychedelic striped lamp can add a '60s look to a contemporary room.
(GNS photo)
Design and nostalgia are almost inextricably tied together. In terms of the revival of 1960s-inspired stuff going on these days, you might make that heavily tie-dyed.

"I think it was very good design to begin with," says John Franke, a residential design expert on the faculty at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. "A lot of the '60s was actually a reinterpretation of classics from the '30s."

Not to worry: Tie-dye isn't a big home furnishings trend.

In terms of interiors, 1960s style is associated with a few major themes: bright colors, big patterns, stripes and streamlined shapes.

Today, a lot of those same themes associated with the 1960s are showing up on contemporary furnishings, fabrics and accessories: a strong dose of silvery toned metals, curvy shapes and geometric patterns.

Chances are, you're not going to have an entire house kitted out to look like it stepped out of the '60s. But you might want a few lamps with drum (more cylindrical than tapered) shades, a bound area rug of shag carpet, or you might want to introduce a little more color.

If you happen to be under 35, or especially a young teen, you might want more of the look.

"You're seeing it in the media and young folks," says Kathleen Evers, an interior designer. "Tweens and teens" want those bright, hot colors, the shapes that are very geometric and the unusual light fixtures ... the teens are really going for a 1960s look, and they all want to put beads in their doorways."

If you want a dash of '60s flair but would rather forget that beaded doorways even existed, manufacturers are creating and introducing a lot more accessories, everything from lamps to pillows and vases, with a fun and stylish groove.

Evers suggests using the mid-century modern look, which involves a bit of the '40s and '50s as well as the '60s, with the wall color, in your rugs, and with pillows, lamps and possibly art.

She adds that for clients who want an updated look, keeping the main pieces of furniture in classic but streamlined shapes is a good strategy, coupled with using accessories and window treatments to influence the overall style of a room.

Another way to introduce a bit of '60s flair is to find a vintage piece and mix it into a room.

"See the '60s as a mix. You don't have to do a whole room," says Franke, who advises everyone to not take it so seriously. After all, the decade was a fun one in terms of design.

Interior designer Ted Clayton was a child in the 1960s, but he has a clear memory of some of the vivid color and style swirling around back then.

"I remember bamboo wallpaper, prints and bamboo furniture," he says. "We're not talking wicker. We're talking bamboo."

Yes, it was everywhere back then, and it's back now. Find bamboo in new furniture collections and catalogs, or look for older pieces in vintage stores.

Another comeback is shag carpeting, but today's shags are a more sophisticated mix of thick and thin yarns, and they feel a lot softer than the yarnlike version of shag you might recall from the rec room in your past.



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