We’ve all been spending more time indoors than ever, due to the global pandemic. For some people that’s been a blessing, for others it’s been quite the opposite.
But for most, it’s made them consider what is in their houses, how their houses are designed, and how the interior design makes them feel.
Interior design can transform your experience within your own four walls, it can change your mood, affect your sleep, inspire you. Design really does have the power to hold you back, or push you forward.
But that is within the context of time - an inspiring workspace from the 80’s might feel drab and depressing today.
So, with that in mind, we’ve taken a look back through the decades, and to the future, to consider how interior design has changed over the decades, what affected those trends, and how it might look in the future.
We’ve mocked up each decade in a 3d model format, from the 60’s to the 10’s and even included our vision of 2050.
Let’s get started with the 1960’s
Most homes in the 1960s were furnished with a range of furniture from earlier periods. It was the first time young Brits and most likely everyone in the world didn’t have to complete compulsory military service. They felt free to be bold and explore culture, designs and lifestyles. It was out with the old and in with the new for many homeowners who had newfound freedom and this reflected in their choice of groovy yet out of world ornaments.
Speaking of groovy, the 1960s was seen as a cultural boom which created freedom and sub cultural divides between youngsters which really kick started in the late 50’s into the 60’s between the ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’. Such subcultural movements driven by musical preferences helped provide direction to tastes in both the world of fashion, interior design and other cultural changes in future years to come. The mid-60’s onwards can be summed up with one word - Hippie. With the peace and love movement came experimentation and exploration, especially inside the home.
Despite all this, this was also the decade of the ‘space age’ where man first landed on the moon and perhaps this also influenced the shape of the seats and bean bags with its unusual shape much like what the astronauts sat on their way to space. Such relatable interior touches to the outside world could be seen in other designs of homewares such as rugs.
The similarities between patterns in clothing and rugs can closely be related, this really set the scene of what interests and cultures an individual had and followed.
Houseplants became the new ‘in’. Weeping fig, fan palm and prayer plants were all popular options for homeowners to decorate their home with their newfound love for nature. The wave of festival culture took over and the development of such bands in the late 60’s like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin allowed diversity in how many Brits would adapt their personal preferences to swap traditional interior design for warm colours like mustard, psychedelic print and pictures of their favourite bands.
The most sought after furnishings and fabrics all boasted primary colours and bold designs but they were expensive. A 60’s bedroom would reflect the hippie lifestyle. A kaleidoscope print and lava lamp would be common amongst the now freer generation. A 1960s room wouldn’t be complete without a record player blaring out The Rolling Stones and an incense stick filling the room with ‘love’.
The 70s was famous for its futurism, traditional earthy tones and nature-loving hippie designs swapping out mid-century modernism for self-expression and exploration. Hippies rejected consumerism and opted for a more sustainable interior layout. Following the 1973 oil crisis, with unemployment and recession, homeowners looked for an alternative design trend that went back to nature’s roots. Big windows, fireplaces and indoor gardens took off along with pine furniture. Wicker and wood were seen as the more popular choice over plastic not only for their natural appeal but also the fact they were cheaper to buy.
Open plan living was introduced in the 70s, and although some rooms were carpeted from floor to floor, many homes opted for the more natural appeal of pinewood flooring leaving homeowners more connected with the environment or they just like the aesthetic of it...
The 60s floral patterns were still a huge hit in the 1970s. With the psychedelic wallpaper trend still going strong, colours like burnt sienna were taking its hold with much of the interior in the 70s culminating into a much more warmer and cosy atmosphere. Each room would often have its own visually striking pattern, even carpets and rugs would be patterned. However, we shouldn’t forget but the 70s was also the era of disco and people brought that funky sensation into their homes which could be seen with the rug and even the canvas.
Designers also started to experiment with ergonomic furniture. Making seats, sofas and even tables tailored for comfort, which was useful for the stress and economical problem within that era. This era, much like most, resulted in the ending of many things that defined the current and previous decade, such as The Beatles splitting up in 1970, however, a lot of homeowners clinged to them through the birth of other bands such as Queen and the eccentric styles and personality of Freddie Mercury. It’s basic human nature, we tend to cling to what we love and I’m sure millions felt that at the time. However, when the Vietnam War ended (which was obviously great) many people who would class themselves as part of the ‘Hippie’ movement lost their identities. This reflected much of the features and designs throughout the 70s.
The 1980s mantra was “more is better” and as the economy recovered, consumers were encouraged to spend more, more and more. Definitely leaving that hippie mentality behind, yet as a recurring pattern, interior design trends heavily reflected the popular culture that dominated that era.
Music was very diverse, everyone was talking about it, fans were discussing Bowie’s next persona and his collaboration with Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’. People were stepping away from the cultural elements of Punk and listening to David Bowie's influences on New Wave and its synthetic sounds, the advancement of Rock and Pop whilst moving to the rhythm of Tina Turner. This resulted in a colourful decade for interior design. You could expect to see plenty of portraits and plaques of these cultural icons hanging on the wall. Again patterns are as colourful as ever, homeowners are becoming more and more expressive and drawn to what was popular at the time.
Metallic or reflective ornaments were seen as being glamorous and a tubular neon light would light most 80s rooms. The 80s saw a revival in Art Deco but it incorporated clean-shaped lines and coined “80s Deco”. Curved vases and rounded furniture were prominent, unconventional shapes taking a hold again in the living spaces with the drive to become bolder shaping the interior in that era.
To combat the loud and colourful 80s, the 1990s were much more simplistic in design. In 1991, we saw another recession. This impacted consumer spending and laidback minimalistic rooms became popular. As opposed to the musical influences between the 1960’s and 1980’s, we start to see a rise in how Television drove the interior styles of people’s homes; I’m sure you’ve taken the hint on where the influence of that purple wallpaper came from! Nonetheless, the 90s was the start of a more minimalist approach.
Fireplaces became smaller in size and technology was introduced to most rooms. White and beige were trendy colours as they made rooms feel bright and fresh. curtains in living rooms had tassels dangling from the bottom with nets blocking the view into their homes from the world outside.
The loud 80s patterns went out the window and they were replaced with a grungy design. Maroon and dark shades of purple and green were popular. Fancy natural ornaments were replaced with plastic plants and dried flowers. The scenes in kitchens saw the back of white cabinets and a rise of interest in wooden doors and surfaces.
The 2000s saw subtle changes from the 90’s where it took minimalism further and built upon the simplistic themes seen in the 90s. Minimalism became more fluid whereby we saw home interiors with deeper and yet simplistic tones in the palettes.
The noughties were all about putting your own individual stamp on your home. What did a 2000s bedroom look like? - white walls and a feature wall were common. Feature walls especially, brick and urban prints allowed homeowners to style their room with their own touch. Most noughties rooms had ornaments and accessories like exposed lamps, kitsch plants and antique items.
In this era, tech had started to become a part of everyday life but still hadn't hit the ground running in terms of compatibility with interior design and there certainly wasn't any ‘smart’ tech integrated into the room that came later.
The rise of social media and reality TV surprisingly influenced much of the interior designs due to its shareability, meaning homeowners are gathering ideas from their friends and celebrities. The internet allowed homeowners to access boundless inspiration for new styles. It was less about cultural trends and more about individual expression but also leaned to seasonal trends to generate real statements in homes across the country.
Homeowners and designers chose to spend money on tech and experiences rather than loud and colourful rooms, hence why minimalism was the most popular style. Flat Pack furniture still reigned supreme and sleek sofas and chairs made rooms look streamlined. The fewer patterns and prints, the better. White and cream colours dominated people’s colour choices. Even the floor was intended to be minimalist.
The decade leading towards 2020 was crucial in the movement of people's buying habits to ‘kit’ out their homes. There was a real divide between 2010 to 2015 and 2015 to 2020 as technology advanced. Larger TV’s that were thin enough to reduce required space, A.I equipment that allowed you to talk to a speaker to turn on other electronic devices and many more took the attention away from other furnishings.
As mentioned before, the rise of the ‘influencer’ allowed people to put less thought into how they wanted their homes to look. Interior spaces were driven by what others had and how other inspirations developed an ever-growing need/desire to purchase a particular item or statement for their home.
So far the 2020s is all about tech. The pandemic has influenced the way we live in our homes and one of the biggest factors is turning your home into an office and a place where you can keep yourself entertained. It’s safe to say that most of our rooms have more than one piece of technology in them. We already see rooms designed around technology, like voice-activated curtains, blinds or lights. Eco-friendly rooms are on the rise and integrating tech with eco-friendly appliances is the way forward.
Many designers will add side tables and coffee tables with space for charging
and docking stations. When it comes to the floor, simple is more, yet that should also depend on the colour of choice around the room.
As we are spending more and more time at home and in our gardens, 2020 saw a desire for rugs. The variety in rooms that had rugs placed within them grew. This is particularly clear in kitchen and outdoor spaces. More and more homes are now populated with outdoor furniture and the added focus on hot tubs gave a clear run for the popularity of outdoor rugs to grow which later became more popular as we were allowed visitors in our homes where we could showcase all our DIY to our family and friends. Increasingly, comfy spaces, summer houses and even pubs in the garden gave us extra areas to fill with furnishings and homewares.
What is also prevalent is that this era is strong with the notion of celebrating diversity, and much of that again can be attributed to what we see from our social media and on the news. In the previous years, much of our home and interior designs leaned heavily towards cultural trends, and celebrity influences; and although that might still be the case, homeowners are given more chances to celebrate their own diversity and what makes them feel comfortable at home. Whether that would be unboxing your favourite vinyl from the 70s and grooving to the beat on your disco pattern rug in the living room. Perhaps lounging by yourself reading your favourite book on those bold yet comfy earth-tone rugs and carpets or just enjoying the several patterns you’ve collected from your travels around the world.
2020 continues the self-expression era of the 2010s and it allows homeowners to mix some of the rustic old styles and the new together for a ‘new modern’. Yet one thing is clear, technology is booming and the further desire to make your home beautiful is adding emphasis on buying habits in a variety of rooms
With the aim for eco-friendly homes ever growing and objectives set in place by governments around the world for green energy, there is no doubt that our homes will look completely different in 30 years’ time. As the size of technological elements around the home become smaller, there will be more room for the use of available space to be at the forefront of design in the future, people will occupy more space with less carbon footprint. Sustainability and information will perhaps be the biggest feature around the home of the future.
Solar-based energy will become more important and used by most homes due to its eco-friendly solution. Energy-intensive materials like cement could possibly be swapped for hollow wood and rammed earth. The internet will have become fully integrated into every room as well as home automation like dynamic space saving furniture to allow for those VR activities.
Nature-based designs will most likely be popular as there would be a need for a
more environmentally friendly mind-set. Indoor plants will still be around and maybe even virtual reality windows that project holographic scenery onto a wall. Air humidifiers will be integrated in most homes, however, that would depend on where you live. For example, most urban areas will likely need cleaner air solutions due to the growing population and pollution. Whilst rural areas won’t need humidifiers due to less pollution.
Furniture will be built for function. Chairs will be ergonomic and boast features to make life even easier. Chairs might provide adaptive feedback to the TV, allowing homeowners to get an augmented reality experience that will suit their needs. Comfort while using the electronics in the room will work hand in hand.
Room layout will revolve around accessibility and adaptability. You will be able to do almost everything from your living room. Including work, talking to friends and exercise, especially if holograms become affordable.
Voice integrated software and technology will most likely reach new heights. Floors will adapt to your body and outdoor temperature, providing a comfortable living experience. Rugs will become completely adaptive and provide boundless creative features such as comfort and live information. Homeowners can even perhaps change the patterns of the rug from past eras, or something that reflects the user. Rugs will most likely have a clean up feature such as the wine spill you’ve made after a Saturday night out. The rug could even adapt towards a vibrant red tone to hide the mess you’ve made such as this one below.
AI and robotics will become an integral part of homes, providing countless assistants from your usual morning updates, security from unwanted guests and even to remind you of your partner's birthday.
Overall, throughout the decades, we have seen how musical sub-cultural activities have gone from largely influencing people's fashion preferences and how this has changed as technological advances have been made from being influenced through TV to being influenced by platform users on the internet. Marketing is ever growing and is more powerful than ever, this is something that will continue to grow. Planning and designing is easier than ever which will only become more and more accessible as we move on into the future.