Design Through the Decades

An art movement is characterized by unique inspiration, talented artists, and powerful attitudes. But oftentimes, we don’t recognize its influence until much later. Art needs time to gain recognition and personality.

The same is true for interior design. Throughout the years, home decor has taken on many different forms and styles, and no movement is like the one before. That is why it’s important to remember the influences of the past and recognize the design personalities of the present when designing and updating your home. Here’s an inside look at the world of influential interior design through the decades:


In a post-war era, American families were back together again, moving to the suburbs and embracing a lifestyle based on comfort, leisure, and desired family perfection. While traditionalism was popular, homeowners began to experiment with a newfound confidence of retro design. The 50s set the tone for interior design experimentation that would continue for decades to come. While the linoleum floors, vinyl chairs, and large-print wallpaper have surpassed us, color contrasts found in furniture and fabric accents have stood the test of time.

1950s decade design features retro accents and light blue laminate floors | Oh So Lovely Vintage

1950s kitchen features dramatic wallpaper- a popular decade design | Home Renovation


The perfection of the 50s didn’t last long. The 60s brought about a social rebellion, led by the generation that grew up in those traditional-yet-retro 50s homes. As the youth population rejected long-established traditions, interior design got swept up into the progressive movement. Think AMC’s award-winning tv series Mad Men. The houses themselves resembled creative advertising agencies. Styles were more colorful, dramatic and vibrant. Colors were inspired by natural tones such as greens, browns, and yellows. Oftentimes, color schemes were paired with bold graphics like paisley and tie-dye. Along with the bolder look, new fads such as shag rugs, molded plastic furniture, and pop art were all the rave.

Mad Men style room features decade designs of the 1960s | Homedit

1960s family room complete with vibrant colors and plant accents | Cellular Window Shades


When someone says the design influences of the 70s, what do you think of? For some, it is categorized as the “decade that taste forgot.” To ignore this era would be wrong, for it set the tone for future decor decades. The 70s carried on the earthy color palettes of the 60s, yet brought in an infusion of hippie vibes, high-tech futurism, and mid-century modern mindsets.

1970s decade design features earth tones, mid-century modern styles and hippie influence | Retro Space

Earth brown tones contrast with mid-mod design in this 1970s bedroom | Curbed


After two long decades of radical countercultural movements, Americans entered into a newfound conservative culture with the rise of the Reagan era. Often characterized by materialism and consumerism, we see the rise of movies and cable networks like MTV take American culture by storm. The 80s didn’t have one decor theme- it was a mix between two very different styles. We see mid-century modern take on an even greater meaning with edgy pop culture, neon colors, geometric shapes and the first minimalist influences. But then we also see floral wallpaper and fabrics, pastel colors, and dark wood furniture. Where does the line between progressive and innocent intersect? It doesn’t. Both styles were popular. The best way to illustrate home decor of the 80s is through the iconic blockbuster movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The two houses in the movie boasted two extremely different interiors. Ferris’ was the epitome of floral, innocent suburbia while Cameron’s house aired on the side of edgy, minimalist modern. Yet the two boys were best friends, living the high school dream of ditching school for a fun day in the great city of Chicago (we don’t condone this behavior—or maybe we do).

Popular 1980s decade floral wallpaper in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Hooked On Houses

Iconic modern 1980s decade home in Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Parade


After a decade of rocking out in a materialistic culture, America entered into a recession in the early 90s. With unemployment rates through the roof, homeowners went back to the basics. For the first time in history, minimalism became an art movement. While other design eras hinted to the style, the 90s brought it front and center. Characterized by neutral color palettes, light wood, and white kitchens, interiors moved towards present-day Scandinavian style, a look we love so much we wrote a blog post about it.

1990s living room with plush sofa and neutral accents exemplify the decade designs | The Guardian

2000s-Present Day

Time will only tell what the next decade will blog about our current home styles. While it may be too soon to pinpoint a specific design, one thing is for certain: technology has changed the way we do everything, including home decor. Our lives have been characterized by a technological revolution, and there is no doubt interior design influence have been added to the media mix. In a culture motivated by mass media and progressive thinking, there is a sense of individualism that no other decade can boast. Based on these observations, it is clear that our homes reflect a sense of who we are as unique individuals while still making plenty of room for technology and media influence.

Modern-day decade living room with city chic elements and tv | HGTV Decor

Fun and efficient modern-day basement game room with blue ceilings | Home Interior Design

Contemporary bedroom with ivory accents and hanging tv | Home Designs Gallery

Featured Image: Daily Icon

Image Credits: Oh So Lovely Vintage Home renovations, HomeditCellular Window ShadesRetro Space CurbedHooked On HousesParadeThe Guardian, HGTV Decor Home Interior Design Home Designs Gallery