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How Decor and Interior Design Has Changed Over the Last 50 Years

A theme, or style, is an idea that is consistently used through the entire room, creating the feeling of unity. A design concept involves a much deeper knowledge of the client's socio-cultural and the architectural context. These design concepts will generally follow a specific period style. In the past fifty years, interior design and home d├ęcor have changed tremendously. With the introduction of new technologies, fabrics and products, it is only natural that designs will evolve with the use of these new materials.

Prior to 1960

Houses had virtually no personality and were just boxes that were lived in until the occupants moved to the next house. The 60's changed all that, and we still see the influences of this change in design today. Open plan living was born. Open plan living is described as making various rooms 'subdivisions' within the same space.

Many of the homes that were built following the war had a lounge located at the back of the front room. The wall between the two would be removed, creating a larger room with an open floor plan. There would be an area for dining, an area for television viewing, and many times there would also be a third area incorporated for another activity. Divisions of the rooms were accomplished with screens; the different areas of space could also be evident with the use of different carpet or rugs.

The 1960s

Floral patterns were prominent. These patterns were not actually invented in the 60's, but not everything was about the psychedelics either. It did not matter whether the floral patterns were for the upholstery or wallpaper; it was a very widespread trend. Decorating trends like feng shui, and the desire to be part of the universe, make it evident that the holistic decorating trends were born in this era.

The 1970s

Interior design settled down. Poor economic situations caused moderation concerning home design. The bizarre experimentation of the 60's ended. People's interest in historic preservation was sparked. The older homes were being renovated, and urban neighborhoods reclaimed. People converted stables, clock towers, carriage houses and even barns into living areas. Interior design eclecticism continued to grow throughout the 70's.

The common fiber used for shag carpet was polyester. Everything involving interior design in the 70's was about comfort. This, to the majority of people, meant plush. The renowned shag carpet was just the beginning. Velvet couches with vast amounts of pillows became living room centerpieces with a cushy recliner on each side.

The inexpensive paneling made of wood, the linoleum floors and laminate counter tops are eyesores from this era and some of the main reasons for home remodel today.

The 1980s

It was all about pretty in pink, which is why salmon colors were painted on the walls. Many have said that if you did not love the 80's you hated them. There was not any in between, everything was great or everything was horrible. The same was true about the trends in decorating.

Experimentation with the various drywall textures brought about the 'popcorn' ceiling of the 80's. It is thought of as the absolutely worst looking drywall technique. An accent border can make an amazing difference in a room. Tile and wood flooring have the ability to yield beautiful results with the use of different tile or wood for decorative borders. We also thought that the hideous wallpaper from the 70's would make a fantastic border for our walls in the 80's, NOT!

The 1990s

We were in such a rush that there was not any time for decorating. We were too busy soaking in all the new technology. We were fast-forwarded into the computer age. Minimalism became the new decorating trend. With this came the shiny appliances made of stainless steel, geometric contours and sleek lines, we wanted anything and everything to be low-maintenance. We had ovens that cleaned themselves, dishwasher with high-powered water pressure and various storage designs to help create a clutter-free home environment.

The New Millennium

Today, the themes used in interior design include themes that are not always consistent with specific period styles. This affords the ability to mix pieces from various periods. However, each element needs to contribute to function, form or both.

For the past ten years, architects, designers and decorators have rediscovered the distinctive furniture from the 50's and 60's. The designers of today have the ability to use both natural and synthetic materials. They reference the past generations influences and create novel design trends.

The area of design displaying an amazing innovative focus is lighting. The mixing of accent and task lighting is used to create a visually appealing atmosphere.

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