The Best (and Worst) Home Decor Trends from Every Decade

Decor lovers look back at shag carpeting the same way they look back at shoulder pads: With a mix of humor, horror and always, nostalgia. Since that’s half the fun of it, we went ahead and rounded up the most dreadful (and wonderful) trends in American home decor history. All aboard the time machine.

Here's What Your Home Looked Like in 1984

1920s' Best: Cocktail Carts

You can blame prohibition (and early Hollywood glamour) for your current bar cart obsession.

1920s' Worst: Blingy Baroque

We assume that high-shine, high-drama pieces were going for "age of opulence." But the result is more creepy grandma than lady of leisure.

1930s' Best: Black And White Tiling

High contrast, deco-inspired bathroom tiles are a timeless favorite.

1930s' Worst: Furniture Suites

May sofas, footstools, chairs and lamps never all match one another again.


1940s' Best: Gingham

When it comes to textiles, this simple, cheerful '40s staple is just as charming today.

1940s' Worst: Linoleum

Thankfully this trendy affront to perfectly good hardwood appears to be gone for good.

1950s' Best: Midcentury Modern

Retro done right. (Thank you, Charles and Ray Eames.)

1950s' Worst: Formica, Chrome And Vinyl

Is there anything sadder than a 1950s dining set?

1960s' Best: Bold, Psychedelic Accents

The '60s brought punchy Warholian hues—like fuchsia and mango—to mainstream design (and they're still groovy today, baby).

1960s' Worst: “wood” Paneling

Claustrophobia-inducing wood paneling was bad. Fake wood paneling was even worse.

SF Girl By the Bay

1970s' Best: Wicker Furniture

We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: Breezy wovens are the best. (The '70s also weren’t short on fabulous oversize plants.)

1970s' Worst: Avocado Decor

Great on toast, disgusting on carpets and appliances.

1980s' Best: Floral Wallpaper

While modern options mark a departure from Laura Ashley, “nouveau chintz” papers are totally delightful.

EL Alacran Furniture

1980s' Worst: Dark, Glossy Wood

See you never, polished cherry Chippendale everything.

1990s' Best: Minimalism

Zen-like, hyper-edited spaces hit their stride in the '90s, and haven't slowed down since.

1990s' Worst: Beige Palettes

This dominant '90s hue (a retaliation against the Day-Glo tones of the '80s) was as painfully drab as all the pesto we were eating.

2000s' Best: Stainless Steel

High-end appliances went mainstream in the 2000s...and our kitchens ain’t never goin’ back.

2000s' Worst: Edison Bulbs

Not only were these hipster-happy fixtures played to death, they were also a crappy light source.

2010s' Best: Open Shelving

Light and airy kitchens, may you never leave us.

2010s' Worst: Chevron

RIP, ubiquitous zigzags. (You were fun while you lasted.)

Grace Beuley Hunt

Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.
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