20 Photos of 1990s Home Décor to Overwhelm You With Nostalgia
The good, the bad, and the hunter green.
Doc Martens and Discmans; clear Game Boys and chain wallets; fanny packs and flannel shirts. Though we look back at these things now and cringe, there was once a time when they were all super cool and trendy—and that time was the 1990s. But it’s not just what we wore or the technology we used that defined the decade, either. During the 1990s, home décor was just as iconic as movie culture and fashion.
Who can forget all those damask curtains, garish canopy beds, or uncomfortable inflatable chairs? Herein, we’ve rounded up some of the staples of 1990s home décor that will bring you back to the days of listening to *NSYNC and watching Beverly Hills, 90210 every night. And if you want to jog your memory even more, here are 30 Facts That Will Overwhelm You with 1990s Nostalgia.
While the 1980s had novelty Garfield phones, the 1990s had clear ones that lit up whenever someone called, like this pink one from the 1998 Hype Williams movie Belly.
The transparent telephone was part of the clear craze that took over much of the ’80s and ’90s; other see-through items you could buy during this time included Game Boys, watches, and even computers.
Deep jewel tones, like hunter green, were all the rage in the ’90s and adorned everything from furniture to walls. The color was frequently paired with burgundy, a combination that made appearances on housewares and clothing, too. And if you’re in the market for a new living room color, don’t miss The Paint Colors You Should Never Use in Your Home.
Neon wasn’t limited to clothing in the 1990s—our walls bore traces of this regrettable trend, as well. That sometimes meant having signs that said “bar” in neon letters hanging on your living room wall.
Animal prints leapt off the runways of designers like Versace and Cavalli and right onto our housewares. The result? A proliferation of zebra accents, cheetah-print couches, leopard lamps, and tiger textiles. And for more about the trends from just before the turn of the century, check out these 25 Things Cool People Wore in the 1990s.
Newer homes in the ’90s eschewed the darker wood flooring and cabinetry of the ’70s and ’80s, opting instead for light, almost orange-hued wood that was finished with high-gloss lacquer instead of paint. (For proof, take a gander at the Tanner residence from Full House here!) And if you’re looking to redesign your own digs, don’t miss these 30 Next-Level Home Design Tricks from Celebrity Designers.
Perhaps it was spurred on by the iconic ivy-print wallpaper in the 1994 dark comedy Serial Mom—pictured here—or perhaps it was just a holdover from the botanical interior trends of the ’70s and ’80s. But whatever the reason, plant prints—particularly on walls—were everywhere in the 1990s.
Track lighting was an easy way to illuminate a room without relying on multiple lamps. And it became a fixture—literally—in countless ’90s homes.
However, the trend wasn’t embraced by everyone: “Track lighting is…bulky and clunky, cluttering up your ceiling,” designer Amy Zantzinger told the Washington Post.
What ’90s kid doesn’t remember cutting up a few sponges and dabbing their walls to create this kind of free-form design? It was easier and more forgiving than painting a wall with a roller alone!
The neat and non-ornamental looks of Chinese and Japanese furniture fit in well with the minimalism of the 1990s. Throughout the latter half of the decade especially, zen minimalism was all the rage—and the less furniture that crowded your living spaces, the better. Decorators especially inspired by this trend would opt for neutral colors, natural and earthy pieces, and Asian accents.
It wasn’t just Radiohead’s Thom Yorke who found himself confronted with an endless onslaught of plastic plants in the 1990s. Fake plants—like the ones featured in the 1990s sitcom Mad About You (pictured above)—were staples in homes everywhere during the Clinton years. And if you prefer real greenery to fake plants, check out these 20 Easy Tips for Getting a Gorgeous Garden by Spring.
Even if no one in your family had ever set foot in New Mexico, virtually every ’90s home had a room that, for whatever reason, was decorated like a cheap roadside motel in Taos. Exhibit A: this bedding featured on the 1990s TV classic The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Whether used to divide rooms, block off a radiator, or simply meant for decoration, folding screens were a staple in countless ’90s homes, including on the iconic TV series Friends (pictured here). They were often adorned with the chinoiserie prints, which were popular at the time.
A staple in the countless McMansions built during this decade, arched windows are as ’90s as floppy bucket hats.
Following their introduction to the marketplace in the late ’60s, blow-up fixtures, well, blew up. Eventually, though, their tendency to deflate led them to fade out of fashion. It wasn’t until the 1990s that inflatable furniture made a comeback among teens and tweens.
From chairs and couches to loungers and side tables, inflatables came in all shapes and sizes in the ’90s. They were so popular, in fact, that celebrities like Britney Spears even had their own branded inflatable products.
Plain walls were incredibly passé by ’90s standards. Instead, many interior designers relied on heavy damask wallpapers—often in a variety of patterns—to add some character to rooms.
While the trend of covering piano legs with skirts may have come and gone with the Victorians, the ’90s saw the furniture skirt return—with a vengeance. You could hardly turn around in a department store furniture section during the 1990s without finding everything from beds to side tables wearing full-length—and often ruffled—skirts.
Wicker Living Room Sets
What was traditionally patio furniture in previous decades made its way indoors in the 1990s. While they broke easily, ripped clothing, and left imprints on the legs of anyone who sat on them, wicker was so ubiquitous in the ’90s that the New York Times even ran a full column on how to maintain it.
Children, adults, and everyone in between had canopy beds right before the turn of the century. Whether you preferred heavy, palatial drapes or light, white frills, you could customize your canopy and turn your sleeping quarters into the royal chambers of your dreams.
When your mom said you were too old for a nightlight and you knew you were too scared to sleep in complete darkness, you met in the middle. The middle, at least for ’90s kids, was a ceiling full of sticker stars that somewhat illuminated a room with their green glow.
Fake fruit was as common in ’90s dining rooms and kitchens as granite is today. “Homeowners sought after that ‘perfect home’ look, and they wanted it 24/7, not just when the fruit was ripe,” Leigh Spicher of building company Ashton Woods told Apartment Therapy of the trend. And if you can’t get enough 1990s nostalgia, here are 30 Celebrity Red Carpet Photos You Won’t Believe Are 30 Years Old.
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