Just as it is with music and fashion, there’s no abrupt beginning and end to style in interiors at the start of a new decade. There’s always an overlapping and evolution in design and décor through the decade. The seventies is the perfect example – nature, flowers & flares in the first half of the decade, punk rock and hard-edged technology in the latter years. People don’t just throw out their furniture, pull up the carpets, paint over the wallpaper… it’s a gradual, almost imperceptible, change. Decades drift into one another other. Saying that, we’ve tried to give an essence of what each decade – the 1950s to the present day – looks like. Do you love the groovy 60s… the Scandi-inspired 90s? What’s your era?
The 1950s was an exciting and creative decade with a new wave of optimism after the harsh war years. Designers could express themselves once more after rationing and glut of utilitarian products. The Mid Century Modern look was born with atomic & Sputnik styling drawing on influences from the new scientific discoveries flourishing around this era and mankind’s first ventures into space. The Festival of Britain in 1952 was a major landmark event for interiors – furniture, textiles, wallpaper and lighting all took an exciting new direction. Clean lines, bold shapes, bright colours and exciting new patterns captured the mood. Materials such as teak appeared for mass market products. Striking shades of red, yellow and blue also came to the fore.
The 1960s was a decade of flower power, psychedelia, peace and love. There was sexual freedom and explosion of youth culture. It was also a time of protest marches and rebellion at the established order. Space age styling really came to its peak with the space race and moon landings being a great influence. Interior designers were fascinated with the use of new processes and materials to produce exciting new versions of familiar objects – moulded plastic and inflatable chairs being perfect examples. Colour restrictions seemed to completely vanish.
The disco decade saw spage age influences fall away and a return to nature & self sufficiency – lots of florals, browns, beige, mossy greens and avocado – who can forget the classic coloured bathroom suites from the era! Flashes of brighter orange & yellow were used to lift these neutral schemes. There was extensive use of wood panelling, shag pile carpets, cork and hessian. Bohemian lifestyle, Biba, op art, pop art, glam rock were major influences in the first half of the decade. Later years saw the influence of punk styling and new technology – digital watches and early computer graphics, for example.
New wave styling continued into the 1980s. The previous decade had seen economic troubles and hardship – and these certainly continued for manufacturing industry… but the eighties is remembered as a time for new money, the city and consumerism. Home computers and mobile phones began to appear. Interiors were influenced by this rise of new technology and the fashion for power dressing perhaps. Memphis design was very influential – lots of hard edges, strong lines, zig-zags, hatching and bold colours. Stencilling, rag rolling, horizontal decorative wallpaper borders were other notable trends – and black ash furniture was everywhere! Dominant decorating shades were black, grey, pink, pastel & primary colours.
IKEA opened its first outlet in the UK in the late 1980s but it was in the 90s that it really began to proliferate. It’s largely responsible for this country’s ongoing love affair with Scandi cool. Its affordable flatpack furniture was a huge success – blond wood, cream & white were all the rage. It was also the era of programmes such as Changing Rooms and Home Front which really got the UK population dedicating time, money and energy to their homes… and really going DIY mad!
The clean lines and unfussy styling of the late nineties continued into this decade. The industrial styling of warehouse conversions seeped into general home décor. White and pale neutrals were the predominant colour scheme with flashes of bolder colour or pattern on feature walls.
For what will this decade be remembered? We may be biased, but we think it will be eclectic vintage – a style we love. There’s a mix of eras within one space – contemporary pieces are freely mixed with antiques. There are still strong industrial influences on home, shop and restaurant décor still, but the look has been softened somewhat. There’s a desire to make interiors individual with foraged objects, personalised homewares from indie makers and unique market finds. Dramatic dark greys are the most notable current colour scheme.