To say that 2020 was a tough year is like saying that in the winter, Canada is a bit cold. The thing we might remember most from a design point of view is simply keeping the coffee table clear.Let’s take a light-hearted look at some of the more questionable design choices of days past, to take a break from the seriousness of the modern day. Knowing what goes around, we’re going to do it carefully, just in case the shag carpet starts trending in 2021!
Mid-Century Modern is fantastic in the mid-century. For the 1950s, there’s just one little question we have. What about the pink one? Sure, a makeover was necessary for the drab khaki years, but the influx of pink tiles and sinks in later decades sparked many renovation counterattacks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the colour pink, to be clear, but it could have pushed some limits to use it in these amounts.
Shag’s carpet may have kept our feet warm, but it’s a bit of an eyesore of the decade from a visual standpoint. In the 60s, Shag’s carpeting was all the rage, and for that you can thank Brady Bunch. Their house featured many colours of wall-to-wall carpeting, prompting a fresh trend across households everywhere. Anyone who bought a house after the Shag era ended, however, will tell you that when doing renovations, it was the first thing to go. Shag carpeting is still around these days, but instead of wall-to-wall decor, it’s cleverly used for smaller area rugs.
It’s not that much that wood doesn’t have a place on walls. It does, and a design feature that goes back centuries has been panelling. Even today, it’s a stylish and practical alternative. What, then, happened in the 1970s to wood panels? We got glorified cardboard instead of tasteful, upscale presentations. It was affordable and lined a lot of a basement much faster than conventional construction of drywall, but perhaps this was where the “wreck room” mispelling originated.
Harvesting gold, particularly in the form of appliance colours, could be the biggest stain in the 80s, as pink defined the worst of the 50s. That says a lot when you consider the floral or pastel-related offences committed in the Miami Vice Decade by Laura Ashley. In earlier decades, Harvest gold appliances existed, but in the 80s they reached epic proportions. Luckily, the move to energy-efficient appliances hastened this unflattering retro shade’s turnover.
The design disasters of this decade seem somehow less dramatic, since we are more than two decades away from the 90s. Though Monica Gellar’s eclectic apartment in Friends probably sparked some failed imitations, the period may be too close for a horrified perspective to fully develop. The decorative wallpaper border trend, though, is not one that is gracefully ageing. It may remain a valid choice when used with restraint, but the ethos of the 90s had a definite “border for every room.” It was often overdone, giving a two-dimensional impression that was as flat as the borders themselves, even though the appeal was a quick and affordable way to perk up a tired room.
Although they may not be “trendy” anymore, in these design trends there is some definite comfort, bringing us back to a time that seemed a bit more simple. History suggests that even now, even though we sit comfortably in the midst of these future horrors, we’re committing design faux-pas that will horrify our children and grandchildren. There is some comfort in knowing that there is a chance, however small, that one of our descendants may choose a gold refrigerator or pink bathroom tile for harvesting. As they say, what goes around comes around.