From post-war Art Deco luxury to our current focus on sustainable purchases, these are the interior trends that have determined the past 100 years.
Lucy Dodds, a writer for the British company Mattress Online, investigated how our taste has changed from the 1920s to today, and the ways in which these have been influenced by the state of the economy and social development.
She also spoke to experts looking ahead to the future and explained why buyers’ interest in upcycling, second-hand items and sustainable investments is not going anywhere.
20s – LUXURIOUS AND SERIOUS SOPHISTIC
The wild twenties! The end of the First World War brought a collective sigh of relief and a desire to emulate the glamorous Hollywood life set in the US
After the end of the First World War, the “Roaring Twenties” became an era of indulgence and unrestrained spending. The British were no longer bothered by war worries and thanks to a growing economy we were able to live our lives to the full.
We enjoyed parties in cocktail bars and jazz clubs. It was this glamorous Hollywood lifestyle that inspired our interior design.
She quoted showy gold, lush silk, and rich mahogany as the top trends of the 1920s.
Art Deco design was popular because it represented luxury and sophistication, seen everywhere, from mirrors to lighting. To add to the extravagance, exotic animal prints were fashionable as travel symbolized wealth.
1940s – GORGEOUS FABRICS TO TALK AND HAVE FUN
Light relief: bedrooms were decorated with clashing color palettes during the 1940s, as Britons used recycled materials to add liveliness and happiness to their homes
HOW 100 YEARS OF INTERIOR DESIGN IS AFFECTED
- 1920: After the war, the 1920s were glamorous and excessive. Our interiors were luxurious and seriously refined – think of showy gold, lush silk and Art Deco.
- 1930: The Great Depression meant that we had less to spend, so we watered things down with muted light green and blue color palettes and cheap plywood furniture.
- 1940: A new war has ended, but the UK still didn’t have enough money to spend on interiors, so we recycle old fabrics such as chintz to make curtains and bedding.
- 1950: Family life is fashionable, so our homes had many feminine accents, including chewing gum tones and dot patterns, plus influences from the American Diner look.
- 1960: An era of peace and love influenced our interior trends, so Britons adorned with psychedelic prints and stuff from the hippie paths.
- 1970: The UK was more environmentally conscious, which was reflected in our homes, because we chose earthy color palettes and decorated with lots of greenery.
- 1980: Our economy became stronger and the mantra was ‘more is better’ – think of many metallics, bold graphic forms and fun aesthetics inspired by the explosion of pop culture.
- 1990: Grunge was trendy and we opted for a relaxed look for our houses, with neutral colors, minimalist design and lots of IKEA flat-pack furniture.
- 2000s: After Etsy was launched, vintage interiors swept the nation – anything that was kitsch, nautical, or distressed, helped us create the perfect look.
- 2010s: Muted interiors were at their peak, with lots of white and gray with the accents of the color of the decade: rose gold.
During the 1930s, the interior design was watered down because The Great Depression gave people less money to spend.
Many homes embraced muted light green and blue color palettes, along with inexpensive plywood furniture.
However, the end of the Second World War in 1945 quickly paved the way for people to focus on creating a new life for themselves.
Bedrooms in the 1940s characterized by clashing color palettes, with lots of green, red and pink. Because the British wanted more liveliness and happiness at home, but couldn’t afford much, we recycled old fabrics into curtains and bedding
This saw the emergence of the floral print. Palerhout was also popular because it was cheap and the room felt lighter.
A slinky toy or polaroid camera may be lying around – it was finally time to show off and have fun.
Sixties – PSYCHEDELIC PRINTS
Peace and love: Britons adorned with psychedelic prints and stuff from the hippie paths in the 1960s, while peace, love, music and culture prevailed
The 1960s were an era of peace, love, music and culture. Great Britain had left its traditional 1950s attitude, and for the first time young people were free from compulsory military service. Our lives were revolutionary and the British experimented.
Music was a major influence when we started the festival culture and listened to pioneering bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. A bedroom from the 60s would have been inspired by the hippie lifestyle.
Warm colors such as mandarin and mustard would be compensated with hot pink for a psychedelic look.
Kaleidoscopic prints inspired by the revival of Art Nouveau were popular. Accessories were jewels of the hippie paths, such as Indian saris or beads – not to mention a lively lava lamp.
The 80s – METALLIC AND FAT GRAPHIC FORMS
Bold is beautiful: the eighties was a daring era in which interiors were influenced by music, fashion and the rise of video games, with bedrooms in metal materials and neon lights
Our economy became stronger again in the 1980s. British tax cuts were introduced to increase our disposable income, but it caused an increase in consumer spending. Britons spend more of their hard-earned money on luxury purchases and the mantra was ‘more is better’.
Music and fashion exploded in a clear, bold sense and launched icons such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince and Whitney Houston. The video game culture boomed with releases such as Pacman, Tetris and the Super Mario Bros series. “
The colorful decade also embraced nice aesthetic that was reflected in interior trends.
Color schemes were lively and quirky – think of turquoise, purple and pink in a mix of neon and pastel shades. Bold graphic shapes were trendy, which was ideal for making curtains stand out.
Everything mirrored or metallic was fashionable, because it was a symbol of glitter and glamor. To really brighten up the bedroom, a neon tube light was essential. You would also have stacks of CDs in plastic racks with a silver stereo to play them all.
2000s – VINTAGE INTERIORS
Everyone on board! Homemade vintage decor became popular in 2000 after the launch of craft website Etsy. Bedrooms often had a nautical theme in navy and white
The 2000s continued with the simple, relaxed style of the 90s and the minimalist aesthetic became greater than ever. While the UK was again in recession, we kept our interior cool and contemporary without spending a fortune.
Popular TV shows such as Grand Designs encouraged Britons to embrace their own do-it-yourself, meaning upcycling was back. A modern bedroom from the 2000s would have a nautical theme in navy and white colors.
A wall with a damask print was a stylish but practical choice, because it felt luxurious but the sofa did not break. IKEA wooden furniture was still in fashion. But bedrooms from the 2000s were nothing without their home-made, vintage decor, inspired by the launch of craft website Etsy in 2005.
We accessorized with nautical pillows, kitsch plant pots, antique tea sets and bunting.
To be really trendy, we hang LOVE letters on the wall. The only thing that didn’t complete the vintage look were our newly affordable pieces of technology, such as the Nintendo Wii, PC or iPod.
2020 – INCREASE IN SUSTAINABILITY
Looking to the future: experts predicted that 2020s bedrooms will embrace sustainability and technological progress, with voice-controlled lighting and upcycled fabrics
About the predicted increase in sustainability for 2020, expert Rachael Kilby-Tire, who is Design Director at My Interior School, said: “Upcycling and sourcing of good quality, second-hand items are gaining popularity.”
She said that technological developments will see “speech-controlled lighting and even apps to draw your curtains and blinds.”
Managing Director of Sell House Fast Robby du Toit, added that there has been a “sharp increase in the innovation and development of environmentally friendly building materials”.
“Professionals believe that bamboo is the environmentally friendly building material that will experience the largest increase in use within the real estate sector in 2020”.
Pantone recently announced the color of the year as ‘Classic Blue’.
Kel Harmer, creative designer at Oh So Kel, predicts that interiors will be adorned with ‘jewel tones’ and rich tones such as ‘warm blush’, because navy, pink, white and gray neutrals are used all year round to create a peaceful atmosphere to create.
“Velvet fabrics remain popular and we will access accessories in hanging plants.”