If you didn’t know better, you’d totally think we’d taken a trip back in time to the 1980s. Whoa! But as it turns out, history is simply repeating itself.
Yes, it’s 2018. And geometric decor—linear motifs in a repeating design, often with lots of 90-degree angles and color gradations—is among the many 1980s trends making a comeback.
“We’re seeing everything from shoulder pads to Patrick Nagel prints—and throwback geometrics from the 1980s will become a mainstay again in the 2020s,” predicts Justin Riordan of Spade and Archer Design Agency.
Geometrics can also give your home a modern feel, Toombs says. Many of the current patterns are subdued and in soothing colors, so they pair well with the grays and blush palettes popular in today’s design world.
But don’t go overboard with this graphic style. And to help you navigate all these angles, here’s our guide to smart, edited geometrics that won’t leave you dizzy every time you enter a room.
1. Balance pattern and color
Photo by Greg Natale
Too much of any one pattern or color can be garish and jarring.
“Do I want my home to look like a screen shot from Minecraft? Not so much,” Riordan says.
To avoid this, balance the scale of the design with the color, Toombs recommends. That means that if the colors are striking, be sure the size of the pattern isn’t huge—and vice versa.
“When the scale and color are both bold, the result is 1970s psychedelic,” she says.
2. Lay the groundwork
Photo by TAA Custom Homes
“Huge chevrons or zigzags were popular five years ago, and geometric shapes are an evolution of that trend,” says Julie Muniz, a curator and art consultant in San Francisco. “Today, designers have expanded past zigzags to include other shapes, like circles and diamonds.”
“If you’re timid about incorporating them, start with an area rug and then work your way through other pieces,” Toombs says.
Try the geometric look with vases or side tables with faceted edges, since their shape evokes a large cut crystal.
3. Use geometric wallpaper to make a small space pop
“The simplest [geometrics] use two-dimensional shapes to provide the illusion of 3-D,” Riordan says. “And when flattened onto paper or fabric, they have the greatest potential.”
4. Use geometric fabrics as an accent
Photo by Tonya Hopkins Interior Design
Small doses of geometric patterns, featured on breezy curtain panels or chic accent pillows, make this trend more palatable, says Darla DeMorrow, author of “Organizing Your Home with SORT and Succeed.” Plus, they’re easy to DIY.
“Drapes, framed prints, or even stencils are a minor commitment, while elements that require paid labor might not be,” she adds.
5. Take tile to the next level
Whether you go for actual tile or the peel-and-stick version, geometrics pop nicely on a backsplash in an otherwise staid white kitchen. This repetitive pattern also brings calm to the this space, which can sometimes be chaotic.
“Our thirst for simpler times is satisfied by geometrics,” Riordan says.
6. Display patterned art
Artwork, whether fabric stretched on canvas or a piece of pounded metal, is another way to incorporate geometrics in your decor. Try one or two inexpensive, fun pieces, but don’t decorate your whole house this way.
“It’ll go south faster than you can say ‘hammer pants,’” Riordan says.
7. Sleep with geometrics
Photo by Dean Frost Photography
Pillow shams and a cozy throw can give you geometric subtly, conserving the serenity in this petite bedroom.
A cushioned headboard or a single roman shade would also do the trick, especially if it’s rolled up halfway to expose less of the pattern.
8. Light the way with pretty patterns
Photo by Lorna Syson
Pop on a new lampshade for a quick geometric upgrade. Think fish scale, houndstooth, simple squares, or another motif for lights on your sideboard and end tables.
A set of decorative trays lined up on the dining table allows you to dip a toe into this trend, as do coasters and table linens.