​Design Trends Throughout The Decades

Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

architecture and interiors

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Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

architecture and interiors

Leslie Saul & Associates, Inc.

architecture and interiors

architecture and interiors

Architectural trends, like fashion, come and go throughout the ages. Just as skinny jeans and shimmery makeup populate the runway nowadays, modern and mid-century architecture and design was re-popularized last decade and now gold fixtures and finishes (remember the 90s?) are showing up again too.

 

When design trends are recycled, they blend favorite ideas from the past with contemporary innovation to gain the best of both worlds. Let’s revisit design trends from previous decades and compare them to contemporary trends.

 

Comparing a Century of Design Trends

For our comparison, we will take a look at three common living areas – kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms – to see what aspects of their designs prevail and which ones have been left behind…for now.

 

The Living Room. The living room of the 1930s and 40s was a more formal affair. This space sat empty for much of the year, only inhabited when there was “company.” Thus, furniture was very upright and had high-maintenance upholstery and trim. Wood accents, especially crown moulding and elegant door trim was popular. Today, most homes are built with an open floor plan that blends kitchens, living and dining areas. Thus, while beautiful architectural accents are still appreciated, homeowners typically prefer stylish but comfortable furnishings that are easier to maintain.

 

The Kitchen. The kitchen is definitely a contender for “Most Transformed Living Space.” In the 1930s and 40s, it was all about function. An absence of processed foods and microwaves, and the lack of ample and efficient refrigeration methods, meant preparing meals was a full-time job; style took a back burner. The post-war era, however, brought a wealth of convenient, time-saving appliances and food preservation/storage methods. This allowed women more time to socialize, which made kitchen aesthetics more of a priority. By the 1970s, we had a heyday playing with bold colors as well as varied materials and finishes. Today’s kitchens are often the heart of the home, where the bulk of the dining, socializing and even entertaining takes place. Thus, high-end appliances and luxury finishes are the norm.

 

The Bathroom. In the 1930s, much of the nation was still using outdoor commodes or perhaps they shared common hall bathrooms with apartment neighbors. By the 1940s and 50s, bathrooms were (almost) exclusively indoors and this change placed an emphasis on bathroom design. Since then, bathrooms have evolved into more luxurious spaces with each decade. Bath tubs and showers have gotten bigger and better, often serving as bathroom show pieces. Tiles are still the preferred finish for flooring and shower/bath walls, but natural stone has superseded ceramic tiles. While the predominantly pastel color schemes of the 80s have gone by the wayside, glass tiles and metallic fixtures are making a comeback, which just goes to show you never know which trends are gone for good and which ones are here to stay.

Would you like to design a residential remodel that blends some of your favorite design trends with contemporary aesthetics? Start a conversation with Leslie Saul Architects and Interiors.