The worst interior design trends everyone was obsessed with the decade you were born, according to experts

Image
Monica and Rachel’s apartment on ‘Friends’ had a lot going on. ‘Friends’/NBC via Getty Images
  • Home décor has evolved immensely over the past century.
  • From the muted, monochromatic rooms of the 1930s to the explosion of florals in the 1980s, interior designers have seen a lot of trends come and go.
  • INSIDER turned to interior design experts Matthew Cane, president of Matthew Cane Designs, and Julie Sanders, senior editor at Home & Design Magazine, for their professional opininons on the worst design trends to come out of this century.
  • Take a look at the trends that hit big the decade you were born and that but experts agree should not come back.


In the 1930s there was a big monochromatic trend happening.

Image

Source: Old House Online


“In this period it was done in shiny finishes and wild, bizarre textures,” Matthew Cane, president of Matthew Cane Designs, told INSIDER.

Image

A big trend in the 1940s — and one of the worst — was the use of tin and colour-themed rooms, Cane told INSIDER.

Image
House and Garden 1948 William Grigsby/Conde Nast via Getty Images

Linoleum, which could be rolled out as a sheet to cover entire floors, were also popular in the 1940s. While versatile, the flooring also had a reputation for being cheap and makeshift.

Image

Source: “Comfortable, Durable, and Decorative: Linoleum’s Rise and Fall from Grace” by Pamela H. Simpson


In the 1950s wood became a big player in interior design, Cane said.

Image

He listed wall coverings like veneers and shiplap as some of the worst — yet most popular — choices of the time.

Image

Popcorn Ceilings originated in the 1960s. The visible texture was meant to both absorb excess noise and cover up seams and tape in the walls.

Image

Source: Today Show, CBS 5 San Francisco


The rough design is historically made of chalk and some sort of wallboard compound. But, in some instances, it may have been made with asbestos.

Image

Source: CBS 5 San Francisco


Because of the possibility of asbestos — and the less than good-looking design — many people have started taking down their popcorn ceilings that were likely installed decades ago. While it was once all the rage, Cane says it’s got no place in the new millennium.

Image

Source: Today Show


In 1968, the waterbed was introduced.

Image

Source: The Atlantic


And even though it’s undoubtedly fun to play on …

Image

… Cane said, “If I’m going to be floating on anything, it’s going to be on a raft in a pool or an ocean. I’ll save the seasickness for #never.”

Image

In 1968, round beds first appeared on the design scene. They lasted a few decades, but ultimately, Cane says he’s a little confused by the concept, which really doesn’t make logical sense: “I thought all humans were vertically aligned?”

Image

Source: LA Times


Julie Sanders, senior editor at Home & Design Magazine, told INSIDER that, overall, the ’70s were “a pretty appalling period in design.”

Image
1970 Frank Zappa. John Olson/Contributor/Getty Images

“Yet, everything comes back around eventually, and designers tell me the ‘70s are seeing a resurgence as well,” Sanders said. But there are some trends Sanders notes have not made a comeback — at least not yet.

Image

She told INSIDER the ’70s saw avocado-coloured appliances, bath fixtures, and anything else that could possibly come in the shade of green. And for that Cane said, “Thank you, next.”

Image

Source: ELLE Decor


Sanders said “elaborate swag” on window treatments is — thankfully — a thing of the past.

Image
House and Garden 1978 Horst P. Horst/Contributor/Getty Images

Back in the ’70s and ’80s, balloon valances — the treatments on the windows below — had their time in the sun. But that time is long since over. “The poof 80’s sleeved dresses had their moment, and so did these,” said Cane.

Image

Source: Lonny


In the ’70s, silk bedspreads also made a statement — unfortunately, not a statement worthy of sticking around.

Image
Vogue 1976 Horst P. Horst/Contributor/Getty Images

Cane said they’re simply “too hot and slippery!”

Image
Vogue 1937 Buffotot/Contributor/Getty Images

Cane said décor also became a bit more “glam” in the ’70s with chrome and stone finishings becoming popular. But too much stone can make your space look like an actual cave.

Image

The beaded lamps of the ’70s are out as well. After all, nobody wants to “hear the beads jingle every time they turn on and off a lamp, especially before sleeping,” Cane told INSIDER.

Image

The late ’70s and ’80s saw lots of carpet — everywhere! In the ’50s, carpet was seen as a luxury. But as time progressed, people started to use it to cover anything in their homes.

Image

Source: Apartment Therapy


And bathrooms were no exception.

Image
Notice the scale covered in carpet that matches the floor circa 1985. Frederic Lewis/Staff/Getty Images

“We used to have those carpet toilet bowl covers and mat sets,” Cane said. “We even used to put the carpet pad around the top of the toilet seat.”

Image

In the 1980s, people used glass blocks as partitions around their house to offer privacy while still letting light flow through the space.

Image

Source: Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest


But, as Cane points out, “everyone can still see through glass.” So they may not be the best choice for your bathroom window.

Image

Cane says the printed plastic tablecloths of the late ’80s are “cheap and unsanitary.”

Image

Source: Lonny


“We’ve realised that fabrics like linens and sunbrella offer the same concept as plastic for easy cleanup,” Cane told INSIDER. He said these options look way more expensive, feel nicer, and you can throw them in the wash before reusing — which he calls another universal design feature for modern-day living.

Image

In the ’80s, florals were on everything.

Image
Vogue 1983 The ‘jardin d’hiver’ room at fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent’s nineteenth-century chateau at Benerville in Normandy, France. Horst P. Horst/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Cheat Sheet, Apartment Therapy, ELLE Decor


And that makes Cane think one thing: “Collectively we can all say #grandmashouse.”

Image

During the 1980s and 1990s wallpaper borders near the ceiling or at chair-rail level were all the rage.

Image
Vogue 1980 Horst P. Horst/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: SFGate, ELLE Decor


Those boarders followed the painted ceiling boarders of the 1930s.

Image

In the ’80s, stenciling and applying decals on walls were also a popular trend, says Cane.

Image
1986 Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust/Contributor/Getty Images

The 1990s saw a new take on stencils. Decorators started taking sponges to them for a technique that would leave a different texture on the wall.

Image

Source: ELLE Decor


They could also get a different texture by dragging the sponge in circles instead of dabbing it.

Image

Source: ELLE Decor


“We wanted to achieve texture, but there are so many modern products now that create the same textures, but better, from wallpapers to actual paneling that can be installed,” Cane told INSIDER.

Image

Accent walls are big in design now and serve the same purpose.

Image

While inflatable furniture has been around since the ’60s …

Image

Source: Apartment Therapy, BuzzFeed


… it really made its mark on the ’90s and early 2000s with pseudo-ambassadors like Britney Spears and every tween-focused retailer at the time — we’re looking at you Delia*s and Limited Too.

Image

Source: BuzzFeed


Even though the trend brought us that amazing Britney chair, Cane still declares inflatable furniture one of the worst things to happen to home décor in the ’90s: “Skin + Plastic = unnecessary flatulence sounds that you didn’t make!” He isn’t wrong.

Image

The ’90s also saw a trend of yellow-stained wood.

Image

“To be blunt, this was one of the worst wood stain trends ever,” Cane said. “What is appealing about a yellowish wood? It reminds me of all the neighbourhood spec homes I grew up in.”

Image

And dark wood staining also found its way into homes of that time, which Cane said is a big no-no now-a-days.

Image

“When an entire room is dark with dark wood, it’s cavernous,” he said. “We’ve now taken design to a more soft, light, and neutral tonal palette throughout the room.”

Image

This decade also featured a trend that Cane said gives off a not-so-welcoming vibe: draping blankets or fabric over couches and chairs as an accent.

Image

He says it makes him think of someone who’s trying to protect their sofa from an overload of dog hair.

Image

Another big trend in the ’90s Cane doesn’t miss: Solid, dark-stained, ornate, wooden headboards. “Who wants a dark, hard board hanging over their head before bed?” he asked.

Image
Eartha Kitt 1998 Dave Allocca/Contributor/Getty Images

Another ’90s trend Cane said is out of date is large-scale family portraits over the mantel or on the staircase. “We’ve grown from this and learned you can dedicate a nice area of wall space to family photos instead — still loving your family just the same,” he said.

Image

Cane also remembers the ’90s as being filled with sunflowers, from wall patterns to dishes.

Image

From the ’90s to early 2000s, one craze Cane doesn’t miss featured brands as the design. You could find colourful Lisa Frank artwork everywhere.

Image
Mila Kunis was in a Lisa Frank commercial featuring the bedding in 1993. Urban Outfitters Television/YouTube

Source: Jezebel


“It had its moment — I was a HUGE Lisa Frank fan — but I think we all realised that, just because we love a brand or designer, we wouldn’t post TOM FORD printed out all over walls for our design motif,” Cane said.

Image

In the early 2000s, shabby chic resurfaced in bedrooms and living rooms.

Image

Source: Lonny


Originally introduced in the ’80s, this is one trend Cane and Sanders don’t see making another comeback anytime soon.

Image

Source: Lonny


Cane told INSIDER that today, rather than covering everything in the same pattern in hopes of achieving a neutral design, decorators curate neutral items to create warm — rather than cold — environments.

Image