Interior design through the decades

Interior design trends come and go, but many reappear as the years go by. Here’s our quick guide to some of the top trends of the last few decades, as well as key ideas on how to incorporate some of these design ideas into your own space.


Design trends from this decade are big news in 2017, with a major resurgence of some of the core aesthetic principles which made this era what it was. Unpainted wooden cabinets with a rustic feel created a cosy look, as did the emphasis on wooden beams, giving a pared-down, homely feel to otherwise un-remarkable spaces. Floral wallpapers were also hugely popular throughout the first half of the 1990s, and updated versions are available from companies such as the Designers Guild.


Chintz was incorporated into just about every space in the 80s, based on a design which originated in the 1600s and updated for a glitzy new era in bolder, brighter colour schemes. Clean lines, white walls and dark, geometric furniture also permeated much of the era, and a stripped back, monochromatic colour scheme is as achievable today as it was then.


The hippie chic of the 70s demonstrated itself through a love of colour schemes regularly found in nature; predominantly green, yellow and orange. Natural stonework, large windows and wicker furniture were also ways of working this obsession with the natural into designs of the era. Wicker furniture can be easily obtained through either getting your hands on an original vintage piece or buying modern recreations.


Plastic and PVC were dominant materials for design in the Swinging Sixties, with multi-purpose furniture and a focus on witty, fun pieces front and centre. Pop culture influences were also a hugely popular way of expressing new social concerns and throwing off the mantle of the more restrained 1950s. Original 60s finds are still hugely popular today.


Pastel bright’s and durable modern materials were a feature of 50s design, with a focus on not only design but the utilitarian qualities of items purchased. Pastel pink was particularly popular, and is currently experiencing a new-millennium resurgence.


Chrome and vinyl first appeared throughout the practically-oriented 40s, while heavily patterned linoleum flooring was a popular option for kitchens. Gingham print was also hugely popular, and still enjoys contemporary success as a retro style staple.

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