Staying ahead of trends is tricky business. A Pet Rock was a must-have in 1975, but you’re not likely to find many on display in contemporary curio cabinets these days. It’s not much different for elements of home design. Flocked velvet wallpaper may have put you one step ahead of the neighbors the day it went up, but it quickly became a design liability just months after its application. There’s a natural conservative impulse surrounding big-ticket home purchases. We tend toward neutrals or classics for sofas or appliances for the purpose of longevity. We want things that “fit” five or 10 years down the road, though not every choice holds up over time.

A GIF of Regina George from Mean Girls, text reading "Vintage. So adorable."
Image via Giphy

On the other hand, accessories are particularly prone to trendy regret status. An accessory can be a bold personal statement, and since it may not carry an outrageous price tag, it’s ripe for impulse purchases. It’s much easier to fall for a trendy mistake on impulse. It’s this sort of design FOMO (fear of missing out) that leaves us with tchotchkes and décor pieces that no longer have a place in our modern homes. 

Fortunately, you can put that kitsch in a box and donate it to free up space—at least for now. Let’s take a look at some of these retro design accessories of yesteryear.

An inflatable chair styled in a boho room

1. Inflatable chairs

Unless you have a swimming pool, there’s a consensus that inflatable furniture is a ghastly mistake. The 1990s were primetime for neon plastic chairs and sofas at home, perhaps in a teen’s bedroom. But these inflatable accoutrements aren’t things of the past just yet. A quick internet search shows hundreds of technicolor pieces still available for purchase today.

A vintage illustration of a pink bathroom

2. Pink bathroom fixtures

Blame it on Mamie. Former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower launched the 1950s design trend that pinkified many a lavatory. From towels and shower curtains, to furry toilet seat covers and crocheted toilet roll hats, the onslaught of pink was real.

There’s usually history behind design trends both good and bad, and the American president’s wife is often seen as a style influencer.

A closeup of retro beaded curtains

3. Beaded curtains

Dreamy hippie culture introduced the beaded curtain to the design world, though usually as entryway barriers rather than as window coverings. Doors are so harsh, man. There are some good ideas behind the beaded curtain, like improved airflow versus a closed door, but they don’t manage privacy well. 

A mirrored wall in a home displays the home's dining area and chandelier

4. Mirrored walls

Self-adhesive mirror tiles made it an easy weekend project to add a mirrored feature wall to a room. However, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. In the 1970s, you might have even seen gold-flecked tiles to make the space seem even more opulent, but there’s no fooling the keen design eye of today.

Of course, the theory makes sense—mirrors can make a space appear bigger and bring in more light. The question remains, do you need a room to appear bigger at the expense of more optimal design? 

A hand holding a see-through plastic phone

5. Clear plastic phones

Paging George Jetson! Clear plastic phones were all the rage in the 1990s, making us feel like tech geniuses as we could see every gear and gadget inside. Sure, the sound quality may not have been great, and you may have had to hang up so your mom or dad could use the internet to check AOL, but these phones were the epitome of cool. 

A vintage wicker chair in a home interior styled with throw pillows

6. Wicker peacock chair

It’s one of those love/hate relationships. In the right space, perhaps based on bohemian or shabby chic design, a wicker peacock chair makes a spectacular statement. As an impulse purchase amidst a roomful of conventional furniture, the wicker peacock chair is sure to stand out, though it takes a keen design eye to make sure it’s not completely out of place. Inexpensive wicker and rattan pieces tend to wear quickly too, which means it doesn’t take long for the piece to go from fab to drab if it’s used frequently. Yet this chair was one we were itching—literally—to have in our homes in decades past.

A water bed in a bedroom

7. Water beds

A design item? Perhaps not, but we would be remiss to leave out one of the most polarizing sleeping solutions of our time. Water beds certainly made a statement, though what that statement was remains to be seen. Rising to fame in the 1980s, water beds were the thing you begged your parents for and couldn’t understand why they refused. Here’s a fun fact: water beds were invented by Charles Hall in 1968 as a Master’s thesis project. His original intention was to create “liquid furniture” out of Jell-O and cornstarch gel, but as you can imagine those didn’t work out.

When you’re committed to a style, another person’s accessory disaster can be a distinctive and personal statement. Even lava lamps still have their devotees! There are cool, contemporary trends we adore now that will terrify us in 12 months, no doubt. Such is the beauty of the everchanging design world. 


Posted by Infinity Admin on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.