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Home Ownership

What’s New for Home Design?
The return of wood paneling (seriously) and houseplant babies are trending

Home design graphic

What’s New for Home Design?
The return of wood paneling (seriously) and houseplant babies are trending


Home design trends are like fashion crazes – styles come and go. Decor that was once hot, then not, is back in again. Materials, colors, patterns and design are served up like an architectural alphabet soup. Ultimately, though, it comes down to personal taste. If you like it, that’s all that should matter.

So, if you’re looking for inspirational ideas to spark a refresh in your home, there are certainly plenty of options. We can’t cover all of the modern movements that span today’s home design, but we can touch on a few that are interesting and worth noting.

Plants – more specifically, houseplants

This home trend isn’t revolutionary by any means. However, the reason behind it comes with a charming approach.

Homeowners have kept houseplants since the Neanderthals. They didn’t last long in caves, though, because they were better as a food source than decoration. And yet, if you read the latest home design news, the love of houseplants is growing like a renegade philodendron.

It’s all about Generation Y.

Millennials are really into houseplants. They have a desire to nurture and care for something and for those who aren’t ready for children of their own, a floral family is the next best thing.

Instagram is full of “plant parent” millennials and their leafy babies. “Plantfluencers” write blogs, record vlogs and post videos on YouTube, like on the popular “Plant One on Me” channel.

“It’s this wonderful hobby . . . especially because we don’t have backyards or places to call our own, really,” one plant-obsessed millennial recently told New Yorker magazine. [1]

How big is this trend? Millennials aren’t the only ones buying houseplants.  According to Bloomberg and the National Gardening Association, in the past three years, U.S. sales of houseplants have surged almost 50% to $1.7 billion. [2]

Wood paneling – it’s back . . . yes, seriously

After hitting a peak of popularity in the 1970s, homeowners have been ripping faux-wood paneling down ever since. It became the butt of jokes in home design, but guess what? It’s making a comeback.

For dens, studios, so-called “man caves” – fake wood paneling is hot again. Even those who can’t stomach the thought of faux wood are paneling their walls with real wood planks and staining them – as Ron Burgundy might say – a “rich mahogany.”

“Wood paneling is coming back in modern ways, like on the walls and ceilings of a chic new Paris hotel, in a trendy Japanese-inspired London flat and even in a Swiss chalet-style California home,” says Domino, a home style magazine. [3]

Real wood is a popular choice, especially reclaimed wood. But that’s not to say that panels made with a wood substrate covered in a wood design aren’t coming back, too. Veneer wood panels are being used as well, and they are a fraction of the cost of real wood boards.

Other styles making a comeback

Out-of-date materials are enjoying a resurgence, too. Rattan, wicker and bamboo – elements that are typically seen on outdoor patios and decks – are making their way inside the home. Bar stools, headboards and chests are among items implementing those materials.

Add retro appliance designs to the popularity list. Those colorful ‘50s- and ‘60s-era refrigerators are hot. As are kitschy old-school appliances like toasters, blenders and can-openers that are updated with modern tech but keep a vintage vibe.

Metals – brass, copper, chrome – are in fashion, too, and often mixed and applied throughout a home.

Of course, this all begs the question – one that is undoubtedly on everyone’s mind: When are shag carpet and pea-green countertops making a return?

Help when you need it

Adding a houseplant or two probably won’t break the bank but updating a home with modern design can be a significant investment. In those cases, a home equity loan or home improvement loan might come in handy.

“Using the equity in your home to secure a loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) for home improvement is a popular choice for many homeowners,” says Alan LaFollette, Managing Director, National Mortgage Sales at First National Bank of Omaha.

“If that’s the case, you can stop in and chat with one of us about what might work best for you in your situation. It’s what we’ve been doing for 160 years – through aqua-colored kitchen cabinets in the ‘50s and wall-to-wall shag carpet in the ‘70s, to and paint-and-sponge wall patterns in the ‘90s to repurposed wood today.

“Only we don’t change with the latest trend. We have – and will always – make decisions based on what’s best for you – your success is our success.”

Got Questions? Stop by your local First National Bank branch today and visit with a mortgage loan expert. Contact one today.

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[1] The New Yorker, April 18, 2019 – “The Leafy Love Affair Between Millennials and Houseplants” – https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-leafy-love-affair-between-millennials-and-our-houseplants

[2] Bloomberg, April 11, 2019 – “The One Thing Millennials Haven’t Killed Is Houseplants” – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-11/the-one-thing-millennials-haven-t-killed-is-houseplants

[3] Domino – Feb. 10, 2019 – “This ‘Grandma’ Design Trend Is Back in Style (and We’re Here for It)” – https://www.domino.com/content/wood-paneling-trend/