The Evolution of Interiors by Decade (1900-2019)

It seems that in Interior Design, trends come and go, and many repeat themselves over time. Oftentimes we don’t really notice the cycles until we look at the past, present, and future all at once. So, on that note, we thought it would be interesting to check out some of the most popular American interior styles over the decades- all in once place.

Early 1900’s

Everything during the Victorian period was over the top and full of ornate details. Because everything was handmade, a lot of thought and care went into the creation of their furnishings and even their appliances!


It was around this time that having storage and counter space in the kitchen became a necessity. As families spent more time together, they had an appreciation for family meals. Family portraits were displayed showing off a sense of wealth, as it was very expensive to have one rendered at this time. Furnishings during this era were heavy, ornate, and very solid.


The roaring 20’s was a time when America was experiencing a lot of political and social changes. America’s wealth nearly doubled from 1920-1930, bringing forth a sense of security to most households. A new “consumer society” was taking place, and homes were now spending more time than ever on leisurely tasks. This was the first time in history that mass production was taking place, and more people were moving away from farming, and closer to urban settings. People were able to purchase the same clothing and furnishings, listen to the same genres of music, and even cook meals that were conveniently pre-prepared. Kitchens became less important while the other living spaces became more important for fun activities and family gatherings.


As people grew into their newfound stability during the 20’s, the 30’s became all about balance of life and leisure. Kitchens were now adorning mass produced tiles and appliances. Furnishings were now purchasable at the local home goods retailer. Fashions were less extravagant of the decades before, and modern met comfort. Conveniences of everyday life were starting to become a basic household expectation.


Dominated by WWII, design in the early 1940’s was quite eclectic. Many European Designers and Artists were moving to the US, the creation of new designs remained in somewhat of a rut until shortly after the war ended. This was primarily due to material shortages. As production picked back up, people were ready to start new lives, which included redesigns of the home, especially rooms used for entertaining guests. Bright colors and patterns were newly introduced, bringing a sense of cheer to spaces that had otherwise in the past been mostly neutral.


The 50’s were all about both bold and pastel palettes, streamlined furnishings, knotty wood and comfort, comfort, comfort! It’s no wonder mid-century style is making such a big comeback today, as the style of 50’s homes were spacious, airy, contemporary, and perfect for entertaining. Vaulted ceilings and outdoor oasis’ were all the rage. People were living the good life, and their homes were a perfect reflection of that.


To say the 60’s were an exciting time in American style trends is an understatement. Though it can be said for every decade of our past, it’s somehow truest of the 60’s: America was changing. New ideas were making their debut. Rebellious thoughts and crazy trends were making their way into the mainstream. With all of the politics happening in America during this time, style trends were genuinely a reflection of that. Bright bold colors and “drastic” patterns were seen in homes and in fashion. People were expressing themselves more freely than ever before– who said you can’t have swinging bubble chairs in your living room?


Some key design features often seen in 70’s interiors include open floor plans, shag carpets, large geometric prints, sunken living rooms, wood paneling, stone fireplaces, indoor plants and owl accents on everything. Many of these trends have stood the test of time or are currently making quite the comeback.


From pastel florals to Aztec-inspired prints, the 80’s design trends were very keen to more feminine color palettes and decor. Movies, music and fashion in the 80’s were more fun, light-hearted and sentimental then had been in the previous decade. Preppy/yuppie styles were influenced by the media and seen in both fashion and decor. Country style was very popular, shabby chic another trend, and Memphis Milano designs (very bold geometric prints) were all the rage.


Wicker furnishings, floral patterns (actually just tons of pattern in general), ivy prints, matching window treatments to your furniture, hunter green and burgundy, star and moon decor, faux florals and ivy on top of your cabinets, oh my!

Early 2000’s

The early 2000’s loved two things the most. Red accent walls, and beige everything. While we are slowly evolving away from this style, it is still seen in many interiors- “builder’s beige,” the safer alternative. Neutrals with hints of bold colors were the early 2000’s era. Tuscan inspired spaces, dark counter tops, and open floor plans and chocolate brown walls were what was trending just a “few” years ago.

2010’s to Now

Can we say gray? We took the last decade’s beige color palette and removed the warmth. The current design trend seen everywhere is a white and gray palette, transitional design (modern meets traditional), clean lines, white open spaces, and minimal clutter. It’s hard not to be baised to the current trends, but we think its the best look yet. What are your thoughts?

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