A look back at

Interior Design by Decade

The look and arrangement of the British home has changed dramatically throughout the decades. Whether defined by the economy, culture or a reaction against the status quo, let’s take a look at how things have changed.

1950s Interior Design Illustration
1950s Interior Design Illustration

An interest in products composed of materials reflective of the booming industrial process occurring all around.

Vivid colouring used to break from tradition and look forward to the future. Read more.

Hallmarks of 50s interior design included crisp sweeping lines. Read more.

One of the classic themes of 50s interior design was architectural functionality, a Danish design movement built on frequent usability and long lasting durability. Read more .

1960s Interior Design Illustration
1960s Interior Design Illustration

Explosion in television ownership, the TV became the focal point of the living room, not just a dispenser for entertainment but news and live events climaxing with the Apollo moon landings in 1969.

The UK retailer Habitat achieved significant international success with its affordable modern styled furniture. Read more here.

The lava lamp was created by British accountant Edward Craven-Walker in 1963. Read more here.

Elements from the past, especially Victorian and Georgian times were borrowed and fused together to create distinctly different looks yet still carrying the airs of history and conventional taste.

1970s Interior Design Illustration
1970s Interior Design Illustration

70s housing usually had open planning, grand entrances leading into lounge and kitchens, big windows brought in the light and large sprawling staircases would take you to the first floor. Wooden paneling, door frames and beams coupled with exposed brick work and stacked stone fireplaces were also popular.

The 70s was renowned for its use of colour and bold geometric shapes particularly in its wallpaper and flooring.

Evolving out of the egg chair, the pod chair reflected the space age, which was now in full swing after the 1969 Apollo moon landings. With some even including stereo sound, the chair was designed to provide security and comfort. Read more.

The hippie movement continued unabated with an anti-consumerist alignment and an appreciation for nature and the preservation of mother earth. There was a prevalence of earth tones, minimalism and teak and pine furniture. Hanging plants, exposed ceiling beams and wicker furniture all carried a rustic tone.

1980s Interior Design Illustration
1980s Interior Design Illustration

Influenced by native America and the old west, 80s southwestern brought something of the ranch to the home interior. Read more.

Shabby chic was used to relay a sense of age and distress to furnishings giving it a recycled or inherited look conveying a sense of history with the freshness of re-invention. Read more.

Avant garde artstyles such as the Memphis Milano utilised striking colours and bold angular geometric shapes worked together to form something that was very abstract. Read more

Despite all the trappings of 80s Deco and Memphis Milano, there was also a movement towards calming colours and clean lined fonts and curves. Quite normal in other words.

1990s Interior Design Illustration
1990s Interior Design Illustration

Pine Furniture - chairs, tables, dressers and cupboards, all built out of sturdy pine wood. Read more.

Proud to be British, union jacks were incorporated into interior design. Read more.

Leather settees were common, a sign of class and the affluence of the time.

The 90s reinstated a feeling of minimalism after the 80s, interiors were set to be clean and less busy, saying a lot less than the bold statement of the previous decade.

2000s Interior Design Illustration
2000s Interior Design Illustration

Ikea culture became a standard of the decade, the desire for affordable, easy to assemble flat pack furniture positioned Ikea as a household brand. Read more.

The continued progression of technology and particularly the internet and its integration into the home beyond just computers became an influence upon how the interior was set. TVs no longer were big bulky boxes but large flat screens recreating home cinema.

The times were marked by the shock of 9/11, war in Iraq and the recession.

After the non descript 90s, people were looking to communicate their own character through their decor, hence photography, feature walls and more elaborate use of colour. Read more.

2010s Interior Design Illustration
2010s Interior Design Illustration

Technology is set to make an even greater connection in the home, with households becoming smart and interconnected through built in devices, all controlled by the homeowner from their smartphone or tablet. Read more.

Staying in is the new going out, individuals are happier to decorate their own homes in their own image. The internet is providing people with content that is personalised, hence a quirkier influx or internet age kitsch. Read more.

In early 2014, Ikea retired the Expedit, the vinyl collector’s shelving unit of choice. The Expedit was judged too large and cumbersome for the modern home, but has been replaced by the similar It has been replaced by the Kallax system. Wood in general is returning to the home after its absence since the pine days of the 90s, lighter shades are being favoured however. Read more.

Where previous decades have been defined by mundane colours or the use of many different colours, blue has become increasingly popular in its many different shades. Read more.

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