How Our Tastes Have Changed: Interior Design Trends That Didn’t Last The Test Of Time

Maybe it’s the avocado bathrooms that did it. Or perhaps the not-so-groovy-after-all lava lamps. Actually, on second thoughts, it was probably the woodchip wallpaper and the shagpile rugs. These all helped to earn the 1970s the dubious crown of the worst decade for home décor.

You couldn’t really argue with that either, could you? The era ‘earned’ the ‘accolade’ in a survey carried out by Nationwide Credit Cards. In total, 43 per cent of the people polled picked the 70s as its worst interior design era.

The full results, according to the survey, were as follows:

*The 1950s – wooden furniture galore, the advent of new-fangled kitchen appliances and simple colour schemes meant only six per cent of people picked this as their worst decade.

*The 1960s – as we move on to bolder and braver patterns on the walls and floors we stray into slightly more unpopular territory, with 12 per cent choosing this as their least favourite decade.

*The 1970s – as we’ve already seen, this came bottom of the pile, with a whopping 43 per cent of people giving those tartan and orange colour schemes, avocado bathrooms and woodchip walls a thumbs down.


(Image: Daily Mail)

*The 1980s – how about a textured ceiling, elaborate festoon blind and a yellow and pink colour scheme? 16 per cent of respondents said they’d rather forget all of that. Although probably not as much as we’d all rather forget big hair, spandex and shoulder pads, but that’s another story…

*The 1990s – a nation inspired by Changing Rooms rolled up its sleeves for some DIY stenciling and farmhouse kitchens – and didn’t go far wrong, with just three per cent voting this their worst decade.

*The 2000s – shabby chic and industrial inspiration defined the last decade – and only six per cent regretted it as well.

According to Nationwide, 14% of people said ‘none of the above’. Whether they were unimpressed by every decade or pretty laissez-faire about design we’ll never know.

So there you go. We used to have taste in the 50s, started to lose the plot in the 60s, totally went off the rails in the 70s and finally found our sense in the 90s thanks, in part, to Carol Smillie, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and ‘Handy Andy’. The more experimental decades are to be left in the past. Been there, tried that, got the bad memories.

But, what does it mean? The 50s is probably popular because it’s not fussy. It’s easy to recreate and classy without being overpowering. It allows us to mix the ‘retro’ with the ‘now’. That classic love of the wood effect can easily be realised; for example, in a 2016 home with some engineered wood flooring from Ken’s Yard. Aside from Britpop, the 90s were also about British homeowners having the time, money and ability to roll their sleeves up and take charge for themselves. The DIY bug is stronger than ever today – with upcycling increasingly popular among the Pinterest generation.

Put your wooden floor into an open-plan kitchen diner and you’ve probably ticked off most people’s dream renovation too. It combines the best of the 50s and 90s and is, also according to the Nationwide study, the number one project people would like to do ahead of loft conversions, man caves or extra rooms.

Article by guest author

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