Interior design trends have shifted so many times over the last century. Today Interior Designers and their clients have greater opportunities than ever before when it comes to making their designs unique and interesting. With thanks to more accessible travel and education on available materials and finishes, with increased access to interior design courses, online images, blogs and interiors magazines and podcasts the choices are vast when it comes to products, manufacturers and stockists. As with fashion, interior design trend inspiration can come from all four corners of the globe. I have given a few lectures to design students and to peers on the following topic as I find the fact that there have been so many diverse trends in furniture design and interior design over the last 100 years absolutely fascinating. It is tricky to squeeze so many interior design trends into one blog post so this is really only for those who are as interested in the topic as I am! I have kept it brief and to the point, offering what are, in my opinion the most fundamental elements for understanding how interior design trends came about and how they looked. Enjoy!
"A Trend is defined by a shift in behaviour or mentality that influences a significant number of the population. This profound change in behaviour is triggered by a small part of the population & starts to spread gradually until enough people start to use it as part of their every day lifestyle. This shift is often influenced by an economic, social and/or environmental change. It is often based on a strong concept and vision initiated by artists and designers - based on predictions, colour and material research."
1860s-1910s: The Arts & Crafts Movement
Evolutionary changes: The impoverished state of the decorative arts, encouraging improved craftsmanship and the rejection of mass factory production in interiors.
Names to remember: William Morris ; John Ruskin ; Philip Webb
Distinguishable features & materials: Oak & other natural timbers, unpainted wood paneling & detailing, earthy colours as seen in nature. This period saw less ornamentation (than in the Victorian era) and more focus on hand crafted goods. Carpeting was replaced by parquet flooring, slate or stone.
Iconic pieces / reproductions: The Adirondack Chair; Morris & Co Archive Prints & Papers; The Tiffany Lamp
1920s-1930s: Art Deco Glamour
Evolutionary changes: Interior design becomes a profession which slowly introduces glamour to people's homes. Travel was a more tangible hobby which meant that people were able to bring relics and foreign souvenirs into their homes. The Art Deco trends originated in Paris & the Modernism trend from Bauhaus in Germany. Hollywood became an influencer on British & Irish interiors with the introduction of cinema.
Names to remember: Elsie de Wolfe; Lady Sybil Colefax & John Fowler; Eileen Grey
Distinguishable features & materials: Mirrors & mirror tiles; Chrome & glass; Symmetric detailing & bold geometric shapes; stylised images of modern transport media such as planes, cars, etc. Linoleum and black and white chequerboard tiles. Colours were mainly silver, gold, black and white. Flat roofs for sunbathing on (a tan now enviable due to Hollywood cinematic influences!).
Iconic pieces / reproductions: "The lady holding the ball"; Bakelite products, The E1027 table; The Bibendum Chair
1940s: War Influenced Interiors
Evolutionary Changes: Men went to war which meant women were left at home alone with the children. Budgeting was foremost in these ladies lives now. Women made their homes more feminine and welcoming as home entertaining was more common now, guests needed to take the worries of the war off their shoulders. The 'make do' attitude saw more mixing and matching patterns and colours.
Names to remember: Eero Saarinen, T.H Robsjohn- Gibbings
Distinguishable features & materials: Floral patterns; Loose covers; Terrazzo flooring in kitchens; Lino & Marmoleum; synthetic carpeting; low and deep seating, arranged for conversation; Wallpapered bathrooms; Ruffled edging; Gingham.
Iconic pieces / reproductions: The Grasshopper Chair, the Womb Chair, Cath Kidson designs (repro).
1950s: Post War Boom
Evolutionary changes: The war was over, husbands and sons were back to work- it was the era of the consumer. It was out with the old and in with the new as homeowners invested in new technologies. Dynamic designs were influenced by space exploration, new technologies and scientific breakthroughs such a the discovery of DNA.
Names to remember: Eames; Jacobsen
Distinguishable features & materials: Fitted kitchens, new appliances; Formica tabletops; Tupperware; stacking furniture; Ice cream colours; Aluminium; Plastics; PVC; Rubber; American diner style breakfast areas; Jetson's style furniture (curved lines, boomerang shapes) and Scandinavian designer furniture for the wealthier.
Iconic pieces / reproductions: Salvador Dali Lips Sofa; The Mayor Sofa; Eames Lounger
1960s: Groovy Interiors
Evolutionary changes: The decade during which Habitat opened; the 1950s saw American style influence, now it was London's turn. the Beatles became the UK's most famous export and the mantra "Peace & Love" was spread. There were two themes to dominate the 60's- the Modern Club theme (London's first Members only club opened in '62) and the Techno-coloured Hippie theme.
Names to remember: Andy Warhol; Eero Arnio, Dorothy Draper, David Nightingale Hicks, Manuel Canovas
Distinguishable features & materials: Conversation pits; shag carpeting; Colours inspired by nature but with more acidic, striking hues than before; open plan living; flat pack furniture; blow up and PVC furniture; Tongue and groove paneling
Iconic pieces / reproductions: Eero Arnio's Ball Chair; Panton's S Chair
1970s: The Decade Taste Forgot ;)
Evolutionary changes: Postmodernism; Pop Culture; Renewed environmentalism; Escaping the Modernism trend
Names to remember: Frank Gehry, Rodney Kinsman
Distinguishable features & materials: Polyurethane furniture and inflatable seating; transparent cabinetry; lots of orange, avocado green, brown and red; bunk beds; Perspex coffee tables; paisleys and large floral patterns;
Iconic pieces / reproductions: The Lava Lamp; the arc floor lamp; Macramé;
1980S: Radical Changes
Evolutionary changes: This was a period of political, social and economic change. Individuals had stronger voices than ever before. Fashion went punk. Movies turned violent. Interiors however varied in styles from 80s modern, to country style and Feng Shui to Memphis Milano.
Names to remember: The Memphis Group, Laura Ashley, Ralph Lauren Home.
Distinguishable features & materials: Stripes and tickings for the preppy look. Chintz made a reappearance. The country cottage kitchen was in vogue. Pastels and a lot of salmon pinks on walls and in furniture. Brass lighting and fixtures. The Memphis group introduced more radical interior schemes with their distinguishable colours which were inspired by Pop Art bd their asymmetrical shapes.
Iconic pieces / reproductions: The Lava Lamp; the arc floor lamp; Macramé; Memphis Milano "First" dinner chair.
1990S: DEsign for everyone
Evolutionary changes: A time when dozens of interior design programs aired on everybody's television.
Names to remember: Philippe Starck, Tom Dixon, Jasper Morrison.
Distinguishable features & materials: Beige, white or cream walls; Mediterranean and African inspired decor; brass fittings and lighting (still present from the 80s), can lighting; Sage green walls for the very brave; large leather living room suites; hand painted walls with various effects such as sponging, stencilling, murals, etc.
Iconic pieces / reproductions: The Tom Dixon S chair
2000-2010: Naughties Design
Evolutionary changes: Technological, environmental and economic change; recession, the need to adapt to modern lifestyles. There was a rise in high street furniture retailers such as Next Home and Harvey Norman and Ikea.
Names to remember: Kevin McCloud, Nina Campbell, Damien Hirst, Kelly Hoppen, David Collins
Distinguishable features & materials: LED lighting, Flat screen televisions and home computers and laptops were in almost every home, the home gym, telecommunication systems and the introduction of home automation, integrated kitchens, the feature wall, graphic design in art, green living and the use of natural materials. The financial crisis meant people were back into being thrifty with their interiors, up-cycling or repurposing furniture and shopping in Ikea.
Iconic pieces / reproductions: Ikea pieces!
What is your favourite interior design era from the previous century? Is there a piece of furniture from any of the above decades that you are particularly fond of or own yourself? Please send me in a photo of your piece as I would love to see it!
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to post or send an email.
'Til next Friday,
Ciara Eloise Crosbie.
HI | Homework Interiors