Style & Shopping

our 12 favorite decor items of decades past

(and their updates!)
Photography by LUCAS ALLEN

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Decor trends come and go—and are almost always reinvented. Shag carpets are returning in the form of area rugs and wicker chairs with a mid-century modern feel are the new essentials. But some trends, like chia pets and plastic covered furniture, are better left in the past. Read on to see our favorite decor items of decades past AND their new, trendy replacements.

White Living room
Photography by KATEFORMAN.CO.UK

1. past: floral couches

We all remember growing up with the most boldly colored floral couches. Whether you cozied up on cotton, velvet, or jacquard (!!), you know what I’m talking about. In the past, this type of couch more closely resembled Kim Kardashian’s infamous 2013 Met Gala dress. Now, done right, a light floral couch can pass for shabby chic and be a lovely statement piece for any room.

Photography by Life Style Etc UK

present: velvet couches

Velvet is an easy way to add texture—and an air of regal elegance—to any space. No matter if you opt for a bold or soft shade, a rich color will shine through.

White Living room

2. past: wall-to-wall carpeting

Wall-to-wall carpeting had its time, but that time has passed. Kudos to anyone who remembers raking their wall-to-wall shag carpet to keep it looking new.

Black and Taupe Living room
Photography by CHRISTINA LILLY

present: shag rugs

Shag carpet is making a comeback, but thankfully in a more manageable form. Cozy area rugs of the “shag” variety are on trend, and we’re not hating it. Also proving its longevity is the sheepskin, a fun alternative to the shag carpet rug.

White Living room
Photography by SEENOBJECTS.ORG

3. past: potpourri

You used to be able to find a bowl of this fragrant stuff in nearly any home—or more specifically, the bathroom of any home. Thankfully, its popularity waned.

Black and Taupe Vignette
Photography by CHRISTINA LILLY

present: sweet smelling candles

A vast variety of scented candles are now how most of us opt to add seasonal smells to our homes.

White Living room

4. past: embroidery

Skilled embroiderers have almost completely disappeared with the onslaught of mobile devices. If you’re still a fan (we admit it, we are), there are young, trendy vendors selling their stuff on Etsy.

White Living room
Photography by @THEPINKORANGE

present: thoughtful prints

While your mom might have hung important phrases on the wall that she embroidered herself, now we’re way more likely to buy a print.

Lauren Liesss White Wood Kitchen

5. past: wicker furniture

We LOVE wicker furniture. Especially the mid-century modern-inspired or vintage chairs seen here.

Taupe Living room
Photography by MAX KIM-BEE

present: wicker furniture!

There is no replacement for wicker furniture, and we’re thrilled it’s made its way back into our hearts and homes.

White Living room
Photography by BUZFEED.COM

6. past: graphic bedspreads

The 80s and 90s were filled with printed comforters reflective of the popular design and fashion trends of the times. While we’re glad we’ve moved onto simpler designs, there’s no arguing that these bedspreads will always have had an epic moment.

Photography by Michael Wiltbank

present: solid or lightly printed linens

These days, we’re way more likely to pick out a solid-colored comforter, duvet cover, or quilt that correlates with trendy minimalist dressing and home decor.

White Living room
Photography by AMAZON.COM

7. past: chia pets

Nothing, we repeat NOTHING, will ever replace our love of chia pets. While these cheesy planters delighted us as children, we’ve moved on to trendier greenery.

White Living room
Photography by @THESILL

present: succulents

Of course, succulents had to make our list. These tiny plants are appropriately sized for small spaces and window sills (much like our chia pets), and add some much-needed green to our lives.

White Living room

8. past: plastic covered furniture

I think we can all agree that while once upon a time, covering your furniture in plastic was considered practical, the act is now unthinkable. Even though we giggled at the thick, sticky plastic coverings, they will always be one of our favorite decor memories.

Photography by Daniella Witte for Nya Hem

present: mid-century modern furniture

We simply can’t get enough of mid-century modern couches, chairs, tables—you name it. Something about stealing a design trend from the past that was inspired by the future just feels so right.

White Living room
Photography by HGTV.COM

9. past: fabric wall

Yes, people actually used to paste fabric to their walls, and for that, we will always be grateful.

White Living room

present: wallpaper

Now, we have so many more options for covering our walls. Between

temporary wallpaper

wall decals, and wall tapestries, it’s easy to add patterns to any-sized wall spaces.

White Living room

10. past: valances and heavy drapes

Valances and thick drapes had their time in the sun—and really, we just loved hiding behind them as children.

White Living room

present: long, light drapes

Most of us have ditched heavy window treatments for lighter, longer drapes that let in lots of natural light.

White Living room

11. past: glass dining table top

A large glass dining room table was—and still can be—a hot commodity. With updated legs, modern or

mismatched chairs

and other accessories, the glass top is welcome to stay.

White and Wood Dining room

present: mismatched wood and metals

Our favorite current day dining table trend is tables and chairs made out of different materials. Mixing wood finishes and metals has never been more fun.

White Living room
Photography by MOMONDESIGN.COM

12. past: a sunroom

There was a time when we relied on our sunrooms for the majority of our natural lighting, but now we strive for large windows that let in the maximum amount of natural light in every room of the house. Patios and spending time outside are preferred.

White Dining room

present: a breakfast nook

Our latest home interior craving? The

breakfast nook

It’s a cozy commodity that any house is lucky to have.

Alyssa Clough


Alyssa is a Brooklyn-based maximalist and vintage addict who is always on the hunt for something—a new piece of collage art, more plant babies, yet another ceramic vessel, you get the picture. Obsessions include bold accent walls, living a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, and supporting female artists and makers. Find her on Instagram ignoring her phone’s screen time alerts.