• What were the biggest design trends of the 1990s?

    Late this past summer, while worker dudes were at my home adding more insulation to my attic, a momentous thunderstorm swept through town. It was so fearsome that everyone stopped whatever they were doing and gathered in the garage to watch. We were there for just three or four minutes when BOOOOOM, right across the street a super-powered thunderbolt pounded into my neighbor’s front yard right. At least, it seemed that close… it was so fast. You could feel the strike deep into your reptilian brain.

    Initially, there seemed to be no consequences. But when I drove down the lane on an errand a bit later, I saw that a humongous, old tree had been hit and fallen three houses down, at the intersection leading toward town. The entire DPW and firetrucks and gosh, everyone, was buzzing, it was some excitement.

    Moreover, that night, when we went to watch TV: Nothing. No signal on two of the three TV sets in the house. Darnit, another project. Fast forward a couple days and a couple of service guys, and it seems the lightning came right through the (unground) cable and electrocuted the TVs. Today, we are proud owners of a big honkin’ flat screen with surround sound and high def and some variety of better cable service with 600 channels and which will be dissatisfying us by next year, I’m sure.

    Our old TV was very old, so my husband likes to say, we have now left the 1990s and entered the 21st century. But not so fast. The first thing I want to look up, once I learn to triangulate the three remotes, is: Portlandia — a brand-new TV show where, yes, they they still dream of the 90s. It looks pretty funny. I like my satire. Note: Comedy/satire can be offensive… no political statement intended, not the purpose of the blog… and actually, in its way, I think this video actually pokes fun at all/both sides… Also, there is one reference to anatomical parts. Be forewarned.

    Hey! My first post on the 90s!

    I was bigtime decorating obsessed that decade. As I recall, the top trends included, (in no particular order):

    • Pine furniture….
    • Shabby Chic…
    • Oversized slipcovered sofas…
    • Corian countertops…
    • Apron sinks…
    • Arts & Crafts furniture…
    • White kitchens with ivy trellis wallpaper…
    • Huge prints of a pears…
    • “Bringing the outside in” with architectural ornamentaion…..

    What else, readers? I bet most of us were there! Note: BE NICE, everyone! This is not a post intended to diss the 90s.

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    Comments

    1. I remember when Corian first came out–my mother worked at (no names mentioned), manufacturerers of these HUGE RVs that were super lux. They came with Corian as part of the $100,000 basic package. Mom was able to buy a remanent and gifted it to me as a chopping board in the 90s. Love that thing! Sure, it’s heavy…but VERY durable and easy to decontaminate after chopping up chicken. =)

    2. Why is it that I only remember things like mustard yellow and purple together. Pleated pants and silk jackets?

      Of course I remember the grunge era, but as for home style, I remember everything was light colored furniture, and rounded edges, and oversized. I’m not a round edge person. I totally identify with mid-century, clean lines. I hate to lump myself into the transitional. I guess I’m still finding my style.

    3. Lexi's Mama says:

      I live in a home built in 1993, and really prefer the features of the mid century modest homes much more. The 90′s……lots of oak woodwork EVERYWHERE, ceiling vaults, wallpaper borders, stencils, lots of wreaths/plaid furniture/white walls/shiny gold.

    4. pam kueber says:

      Toile de jouy (sp?) — matched with checks. I wrote a story about this for the Ann Arbor News Sunday Home section!

    5. In the kitsch and chachkies department, I would have to say Beanie Babies seemed to rule the universe for a bit. I think it was about this time that nets attached to the wall at the corner of bedrooms became the place to store all those plushy dust magnets.

    6. lexi's mama says:

      In the last few years I have actually become more tolerant of all of the 90′s golden oak in my house…don’t know if I am just getting used to it, if the “love the house you’re in” idea has rubbed off on me, or if heavier grain woods like alder making a reappearance in design trends has done it?

    7. Let’s talk jeans. I wore boot-cut jeans, always in a ‘relaxed fit.’ They were 100% cotton, so by the end of the day, they sagged in the rear. Also, the pant legs were the same width from thigh to ankle. I’m 5’1″, so I sort of looked like I had short, thick, denim fence posts for legs.

      For me, this was a vast improvement over the high-rise jean of the 80′s. When I wore those, a wrinkle of denim would form across my hips along my zipper, making me look, er, masculine. Even if I wore a belt.

      As I recall, 90′s boot-leg pants were a reaction to the tapered leg jean of the 80′s. We were told that a tapered-leg pant made our butts look wider in contrast to a narrow ankle. A high waist would also make our rears look larger, a lower rise was the answer.

      Modern skinny jeans are now mid-rise and narrow at the ankle and knee. I guess this is the industry’s latest take on the perfect jean.

      I read this blog because it reminds me that nothing’s perfect. We shouldn’t believe that the home design/remodel industry has the power to make our homes perfect.

    8. When I close my eyes and return myself to the 90′s, I am surrounded by; “country blue” with peach accents, hunter green plaids, honey stained oak, brass trim and light fixtures, all sorts of beige, vertical blinds with fabric valances, light beige or bone colored appliances, faux marble ceramic tiles, vaulted ceilings, and over sized sectional sofas with recliners, pull-down cup holders and hidden compartments for 30 remotes and/or the TV Guide. There were also entertainment centers with spaces for VHS tapes (usually in a honey oak laminate finish), whirlpool jet tubs and recessed can lights everywhere. My favorite visual reminders of the 90′s though, are the Star Trek TNG episodes. One of the best things to ever come out of the period.

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