Ready to take a journey through the decades of interior design trends?

April 7, 2023

Whether you’re a mid-century modern fiend or prefer glitz and eccentricity, we’ve got the whole gamut. From the atomic age of the 1950s to the eclectic mix of styles we see in today’s pages of Architectural Digest, there have been shifts in how we perceive trends.

So, grab a chair or get comfortable in your inflatable furniture and let’s embark on an invigorating ride through time!

How Has Interior Design Changed Since the 1950s?

With today’s tastes and styles, interior trends of the past resemble relics in a museum. Generational wars can come to a head in this debate, as we look back and wonder what on Earth our grandparents were thinking.

1950s: Mid-Century Modern

The ‘50s birthed mid-century modern and embraced it with all its qualms. Americans paired neutrals with vibrant colors, so it wasn’t unusual to spot a classic black and white checkered floor with a splash of atomic tangerine.

Unsurprisingly though, functionality was king. So, our ancestors embraced clean lines and geometric shapes and breathed new life into old rooms. They firmly clasped onto natural materials like wood and leather, which complemented the existing neutrality. In the ‘50s, everything old was new again, but with an added twist!

1960s: Radical

In contrast to the ‘50s, the ‘60s were bold and bizarre. The era was heavily influenced by the hippie movement, which gave way to attention-grabbing patterns everywhere, from walls and furniture to ceilings. People were loud and proud, which trickled into their homes and translated into bright hues.

But it wasn’t just the rise of colors. In fact, furniture also took on unconventional shapes, like the kooky egg chairs and pod-like seating. This was the time when lava lamps were all the rage and shag carpets were so deep you could lose a shoe!

1970s: Groovy

In many ways, the ‘70s were an extension of the ‘60s, but funkier. Vibrant colors still reigned supreme, so it’s no surprise that burnt orange was all the rage. Apart from this, people had an innocuous obsession with avocado green appliances, paired with earthy, organic patterns.

The furniture was modular and low-slung, with plush sofas at the center of it all. Plus, this was also the era when hanging plants got the recognition they deserved (in macramé hangers nonetheless) and when homes became a reflection of the people’s carefree spirit.

1980s: Preppy Pastels

Although it’s known as the “ugly era” of decor, the ‘80s made a statement and retained all the vibrancy of the previous years with a futuristic finish. People began experimenting with color blocking and matching accents and there was a focus on geometric shapes and over-the-top accessories (like those gaudy chandeliers).

And we can’t forget the ultimate symbol of the ‘80s - the Rubik’s Cube, which audaciously found its way onto everything, from coffee tables to wallpaper. The ‘80s were a time when excess was celebrated and simplicity went out the window.

1990s: Mishmash

The decade that gave us boy bands also brought about trends focusing on individuality. Back then, minimalism was a dirty word, while one of the hallmarks was the ubiquitous “skirted everything” - from chairs to sofas, everything had ruffles and frills.

And if you remember your old room, you might recall the mandatory neon sign! All the furniture was chunky, oversized, and perfect for relaxing after a long day of listening to Nirvana. And we’re not going to talk about beanie babies taking up every surface of the house.

2000s: White & Bright

The turn of the millennium was also a turn of design trends. People began clearing the clutter and embraced the sleek all-white aesthetic with a chrome finish. This “hospital chic” trend was most apparent in the kitchen, but it made its way into every room of the house.

While some craved minimalism, others longed for the vintage charm, which gave rise to pastel-colored distressed furniture and old accessories you’d find at a flea market. But the obnoxious chandelier was always the focal point of the room, evoking a regal atmosphere in even the most common places.

2010s: Scandinavian Rustic

Rounding up our list with the decade that brought us reality TV, avocado toast, and an entirely new approach to design. A few years ago, we saw the rise of millennial pink, which was used as an accent and a focal point of any room. For others, this era was about ushering in Scandinavian minimalism, neutral colors, and lots of natural light.

And with the newfound popularity of Instagram, we fell in love with the modern farmhouse vibe that was tied together by succulents and green walls that provide the essence of nature.

What’s “In” Today?

Nowadays, the focus is on sustainability and natural materials. It seems like we’re finally dealing with the fallout of reckless consumerism.

On the heels of sustainable design, there’s been increased experimentation with vintage and antique pieces in modern interiors, with many Americans looking to inject history into contemporary homes.

Maybe in a few decades, our children will look back at our minimalist interiors and wonder why we all wanted to live in a furniture showroom. But, one thing’s remained constant throughout the years - the significance of fashioning a space that’s functional, beautiful, and comfortable.

Essentially, we’re all looking for a place to proudly call home.

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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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