Apartment Living BlogHome DÉcor › Home Decor Fads Through the Years

Home decor trends are always changing, but we didn’t realize by how much until we looked decade by decade to see what was popular at the time. In the past 60 years, we’ve seen design innovations that have stood the test of time, like the Eames chairs, and we’ve also seen home decor fads that were a flash in the pan, like the Big Mouth Billy Bass. Here’s our roundup of home decor fads through the years.

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1950s-’60s: Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern, the home decor style you know from the TV show “Mad Men,” is all about clean lines. It’s the era in which Eames chairs became popular. Made of bent plywood and molded fiberglass, these iconic designs were developed for affordable mass production. It was also the era where science and futurism dominated trends. Space-age design items included Sputnik chandeliers and atomic patterns in textiles.

During this time period, there was a rapid adoption of TVs in American households:
-1950: 9.0%
-1951: 23.5%
-1952: 34.2%
-1953: 44.7%
-1954: 55.7%
-1955: 64.5%
-1956: 71.8%
-1957: 78.6%
-1958: 83.2%
-1959: 85.9%
-1960: 87.1%
-1961: 88.8%
-1962: 90.0%
-1963: 91.3%

1960s: “Mod”

This design style overlapped with mid-century modern and is noted for its wild colors and patterns — just think of the home decor in “Austin Powers.” Textiles were brightly colored with pinks and oranges, and psychedelic culture brought flower power and paisley patterns to rugs and curtains. Avocado-colored kitchen appliances were on trend, and the side-by-side refrigerator freezer was cutting edge. Back then, they sold for $500; that would be $4,000 today!

Shag carpeting started in this era and continued into the ‘70s. The number of square yards of wall-to-wall carpet went from 6 million in 1951 to 400 million in 1968. That’s a 6,567% increase! Lava Lamps also became popular. Invented in 1963 and called the “Astro Lamp,” there were 7 million sold annually by the end of the decade.

1970s: Postmodern

In the 1970s, home decor was on trend with TV shows like the “Brady Bunch.” Inspired by environmentalism, natural materials like macrame and wicker took center stage. Color schemes leaned towards earth tones and browns. Central air was now in 66% of homes, and Tupperware parties, which started in the 1950s, expanded in popularity through the 1970s.

Beanbag chairs hit the department stores and became affordable. They were praised by designers as lightweight and portable. Another trend that came into vogue was fondue pots, which date back to the 1600s in Europe. They’re currently making a comeback, with sales in 2010 increasing 120% from the previous year.

1980s: So Much Wood Paneling!

This decade was marked with home decor right out of the TV show “Roseanne.” Gadgets like the DustBuster became popular. Launched in 1979, there were 1 million sold the first year, and by 1985, there were 7 million selling annually. Waterbeds also became popular. In 1984, they were a $2 billion business, and a few years later in 1987, they were 22% of all mattress sales.

The rise of infomercials meant that Chia Pets would forever be remembered with the jingle “Ch-ch-ch-Chia.” Even today, more than ½ million Chias are sold annually. One was even included in a New York Times time capsule to be opened in the year 3000. Another popular TV commercial was for The Clapper, which was made by the same company as the Chia Pet. This jingle became a fixture in television ads, and many are now asking if this device was the precursor to smart-home technology.

1990s: Martha Stewart Mania

“It’s a good thing,” proclaimed home decor guru Martha Stewart, prior to serving her jail sentence, of course. The 1990s TV home style icon inspired Carrie Bradshaw’s Manhattan apartment in “Sex and the City.” Light and spacious homes were popular, and trends included walk-in closets and big kitchens. Skylights and vertical blinds also added to the airy feel of homes.

The Aeron Chair, produced by Herman Miller, was released this decade. It’s been called “America’s best-selling chair.” Surprisingly, it began as a design for the elderly and ended up as high-end office furniture. Another trend was glow-in-the-dark stars as a retro ceiling decoration for kids and teens. But putting stars on the ceiling is nothing new — Italian Renaissance painters did it in the 14th century.

An unexpected trend arose when the cult classic movie “A Christmas Story” grew in popularity — the leg lamp that was invented for the movie became a kitch classic. Annual sales were 10,000 by the official A Christmas Story House and Museum, and many more knock-offs were sold.

2000s: McMansions

In this decade, home size grew to 2,266 square feet, on average, and the term McMansions was coined. The television home decor style was “Arrested Development” for this time period where there were lots of newly constructed large houses. A surprising trend was the Big Mouth Billy Bass, a kitch singing fish that became a cultural icon. Released in 2000, its total gross was more than $100 million.

We saw sofa style shift from overstuffed sectionals to streamlined, Scandinavian-inspired pieces. In fact, IKEA sales grew by 245% in eight years:
-2001: $9.55
-2002: $9.68
-2003: $12.18
-2004: $15.66
-2005: $19.79
-2006: $20.67
-2007: $26.10
-2008: $32.99
Sales in billions of dollars, converted from euros

2010s: Contemporary

Contemporary home decor is seen in the TV show “House of Cards.” Open-concept floor plans are designed for multitasking and easy entertaining. The trend is driven by the popularity of lofts and large open living spaces, and Google Trends shows the growth of open-kitchen interest. Backyard grilling is also popular, with 75% of U.S. adults owning a grill or smoker. Of grill owners, 53% have charcoal and 62% have gas, while some have both.

The newest innovations of the decade are smart-home devices, many of them household appliances with integrated digital access. The Nest, a smart thermostat, has sold 2.5 million devices. It’s predicted that by 2019, ⅔ of Americans will have a smart-home device.

 

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About :

Amber is the Social Media & Content Manager for For Rent Media Solutions™ and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber helps execute and optimize a social media strategic plan across multiple channels, as well as manages the company's social media product. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of For Rent Media Solutions brand. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

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