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.
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.
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.
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.)