The Top Interior Design Trends Throughout the Decades


Throughout the years people have succumbed to numerous home décor fads that, with hindsight, they probably wished they hadn’t. You may have vivid memories of your grandmother’s pink floral bathroom tiles, or your mothers harvest gold countertop. These may seem like tasteless design choices now, but there was a time when such things would have made a home the envy of the neighbours.

Some of these styles have become iconic classics fit to be reused over and over throughout the decades while others simply serve as lessons learnt. A look back at the top interior design trends of the last few decades can be both interesting and educational.

Trends of the 60s

Image via Flickr by Seattle Municipal Archives

The 60s saw a home invasion of floral prints, unusual furniture designs, and paisley fabrics. This was a period of rebellion, and unconventional designs appealed to large swathes of people who wanted to appear “young and hip” – including the over 40s crowd.

Flower power bean bags and colorful pod chairs communicated an informal home welcome, while shag pile carpets made walking barefoot through the home a pleasurable experience. Kitchens were awash with avocado green and the family room would not be complete without some wood panelling.

Trends of the 70s

In the 70s, we saw a return to nature with the introduction of more mellow earthy tones. Out went the bright furniture and flowery decoration and in came more subtle colors such as browns, golds, and greens. This was accompanied by bucket loads of house plants, most of which were housed in macramé hangers.

Some elements of the 60s such as the wood panelling and the shag carpets did stick around, but geometric wall art and wicker furniture were now the order of the day. Wall to wall carpeting was also a major feature, so much so that even bathrooms did not escape the carpet treatment.

Trends of the 80s

There were a few forceful interior design trends during the 80s. These included foo-foo bedding, frilly table cloths, and “the little girl’s canopy bed”. Some of the floral schemes from the 60s made a comeback too. These were complimented by oversized wall art, furniture that resembled sculptures, and lots of wallpaper.

Laminate flooring started to appear in more homes during this decade, although primarily in the kitchen, and frosted glass became the in thing. This decade of fierce competition between trends can be considered as an iconic one as many designers still fall back on the ideas born during this time to design modern homes. The Sienna Plantation Homes were inspired by this memorable decade.

Trends of the 90s

The 90s saw a complete stripping back of decorating styles. Once again floral designs were out, as well as pretty much everything else. It was time to embrace the “minimalistic” home. Wallpapers became a sign of bad taste, floral sofas were a big no-no, and all traces of frills disappeared.

Kitchens were taken over by gadgets while living rooms received enormous sofas with tons of throw pillows. Accent walls became popular as a way to add a little color to the now minimalistic rooms.

Trends of the 00s

The minimalistic look that started to creep in during the 90s really took hold and evolved as we entered the 00s. Eclectic and balanced was now what most people sought for their home décor. This led to many homes adopting a more individualised and comfortable feel.

Classic furniture designs replaced oversized sofas while low profile televisions took the place of giant entertainment centers that were so popular in the 90s. Vintage design elements of the 60s and 70s did not completely disappear. These elements are used to sprinkle in some individuality and timeless elegance into a modern home.

We may look back at the major interior design trends of the last few decades and shudder at the thought of some of them. However, it is these trends that have shaped the way many homes are decorated today. Something new is learned with each passing decade and we can take a little piece of each dying trend into the next decade and beyond.