The Worst Home Decor Styles By The Decade

The Worst Home Decor Trends of the Past 50 Years, According to Everyone

There are certain styles that stand the test of time—continuing to look beautiful and dignified even as trends ebb and flow around them. Some trends, on the other hand, are not those timeless classic styles. Sometimes we look back on the decorating decisions we made in decades past, and there’s only one question we have: “What on earth were we thinking?!”

Whether you feel faint at the thought of your fuzzy toilet seat cover of the 1970’s, or you try to block out the mirrored walls you installed in the 1980’s, everyone has interior design regrets, as some styles prove to be absolutely the wrong decision. But Empire Today were curious which interior design trends of the last 50 years were the worst of the worst. Are avocado green couches worse than mauve? Are vertical blinds worse than floral patterns? Are bean bag chairs the worst relic of the ’90s, or is it massive entertainment centers?

They decided to conduct a survey in 2019 in order to find out which of the bad home decor trends of the last 50 years were best left in the past. This is what we found out!


Their team conducted a survey of 1,519 U.S. citizens from October 18 to October 29, 2019. Respondents were asked to vote on their least favorite home decor trend per decade, as well as their least favorite trend in various categories such as furniture, print, color, and room.

First, let’s take a look at what their respondents voted as the worst home decor trends for each decade.

For some reason unbeknownst to us, people seemed to believe that popcorn ceilings were a fantastic idea in the ‘70s, and the trend has not aged well! Over 40% of respondents say that they hate the popcorn ceiling trend the most out of all the interior design trends of the ‘70’s.

In second place were fuzzy toilet seat covers—which frankly just seem unsanitary. And in third place for the worst interior design trend of the 1970’s was wood paneling.

What about the 1980’s? For those of us who were there, we remember the ‘80s as an age of ruffly florals, vertical blinds, and mirrored walls—all of which were identified as major design faux pas of the decade.

Next, we’ll dive into the ‘90s. And yes, there was actually a time when people opted for inflatable furniture to complement their spongey walls. This aesthetic was topped off by massive entertainment systems that dominated our living rooms. According to our respondents, all three of these trends should undoubtedly be left in the 1990’s.

In an overwhelming majority, the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was the most despised home decor trend of the 2000’s. The Keep Calm and Carry on poster was created by the British government in the 1930’s to prepare its citizens for WWII, yet it saw an impressive reemergence early on in the 21st century—enough that it became stereotypical, and apparently, really got on people’s nerves.

Speaking of motivational signs, this is a trend that has skyrocketed in the 2010’s. Even worse than “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters, it turns out that wall decor telling you to “Live Well and Laugh Often” really grinds people’s nerves. More than 50% of respondents said that that was the worst home decor trend of the 2010’s, followed by the faux shiplap and mason jars that are all over HGTV.

The Worst Home Decor Trends by Category

When we combine all of these home decor trends of the last 50 years and break them down by category, which truly are the worst of the worst?

According to respondents, some things just shouldn’t be done. And for each room, there seems to be a mortal interior design sin. Based on our research, it turns out that the worst thing you can do is put in tile countertops, use ruffled bed skirts, have a fuzzy toilet seat cover, or have an inspirational quote or phrase poster in your living room.

There are also minor interior design touches that really offend (though luckily these are more easily changed than large furniture pieces). For example, if you’re trying to stay with a look that’s as updated as possible, it’s advisable to not paint your room hot pink and fill it with animal print and inflatable furniture. The Hollywood glam age is past, and people are veering away from old-school styles of carpeting as well.

Since everyone was so against word art, Empire Today wondered which phrases were the worst offenders. It turns out that more than 50% of people are very sick of “Live, Laugh, Love.” “It’s Always Time for Wine” came in second place for the most despised. Either way, if you’re trying to abide by the latest interior design opinions, it’s probably best to stay away from word art altogether.

We found this survey fascinating! It was fun to understand and see just how much interior decorating has changed in the last few decades alone.

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