The Tackiest Decor Trends Born in the '90s

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The Tackiest Decor Trends Born in the '90s

The ‘90s gave us some pretty amazing things, like Gwen Stefani and Nirvana....but while we were jamming out to amazing music and rocking quirky fashion, our homes looked like a dumpster fire. Honestly, if you were to tally up the number of tacky decor trends throughout time, at least 97% of them would have come from the infamous ‘90s. It truly was a sight to see. Wall-to-wall carpet (Even in the bathrooms!), and hideous floral motifs that no one actually liked at the time. It truly was horrid. 

For those unfortunate souls still living in a house straight out of 1993, we have clarified a few things to help them leave the past behind. Afterall, the ‘90s were thirty years ago. Yes, check your wall calendars...we promise it’s really been that long. 

So, now that we’re on the same page, we’ve called all of our gal pals to reminisce about dial up internet and that one floral couch all of our mom’s had. These were the tackiest home decor trends we’ve all unfortunately encountered from 1990 till 1999. While we’re at it, this is also a PSA to put down the lip liner and ditch the under-eye eyeliner! If you like home décor, especially laughing at tacky home décor, check out the article we picked just for you at the end of this one!

Inflatable Furniture
Inflatable Furniture

Honestly, anything you have to blow up with an air hose has no place in your home! Okay, not all inflatable furniture needed an air hose. You could blow it up with your mouth, but you"d probably blow your lungs. Fun times! Also, nothing says comfy like plastic and vinyl. The most popular was the chair, but it didn"t stop there.

There were couches, beds, and so many other options that you could fill an entire house with plastic inflatables. Let’s just leave inflatables for the pool and music events, okay? Nothing like this belongs in your home. If it ever comes back, we’re going to riot – and that’s coming from a ‘90s baby!

Image via Pinterest
Carpet Everywhere
Carpet Everywhere

Whoever thought lining every square inch of your home in an unending dirt-trap really has no idea what it’s like to clean a house! It wasn"t as bad as the "50s when people carpeted their bathrooms, but it"s pretty close. The mats alone in the bathroom were so big that they reached wall-to-wall.

Then, there was the living room where there was the most traffic. If it was light-colored, then it was surely dingey hours after it was cleaned. Carpet reached its pinnacle moment in the ‘90s and we’ve been paying thousands of dollars to remove it ever since! At least hardwood is much easier to keep clean. Even our Roombas appreciate the swap over.

Image via Imgur
CD Storage Shelf
CD Storage Shelf

It’s insane to think that there is a whole generation of people out there who have no idea what a CD even is! The worst thing about this trend was that you probably had hundreds of CDs, many of which only had one song that was worth listening to. No regrets though, it was a really good song and very much worth the space at the time. 

These quirky storage solutions were horribly tacky and generally took up unreasonable space in the middle of your floor. Then, there were the DVD ones that were all different sizes and colors, mostly due to the fact that the quality of the DVD cases went downhill just as fast as the media form itself! Long live digital content! I never want to go back to owning all that space-consuming plastic. 

Image via Amazon
Glass Block Walls
Glass Block Walls

This trend was a leftover ‘80s incident, and we’re not going to forgive them for this atrocity. The glass blocks were supposed to add a little pizzazz to your home, but all it did was make your home look dated moments after it was installed. How was this ever a good idea? Maybe it’s because we’re looking back, but it’s hard to imagine a time when this trend was on-point.

Thankfully, after living with them for a few years we finally came to our senses and stopped using awful glass block walls. It’s okay for guests to see around your house without obscuring the view, particularly into the bathroom. Spoiler alert: everyone has one! At least…we hope everyone has a bathroom.

Images via Pinterest
Beaded Curtains
Beaded Curtains

Ok, hear us out on this one. Beaded curtains were pretty great at the time, especially if you were a teenager of the ‘90s. Nothing made you feel like royalty more than moving the beads back to enter your humble boudoir. The only problem? Beaded curtains weren’t even that great at the time. They were super kitsch, but that wasn’t the only problem.

If you were in a hurry, they got in your way – and I mean in a bad way. They would tangle in the worst possible way, and if you had smaller kids in your home (or pets), they would eventually look like trash. Actually, that’s pretty apt because that’s where they belong: the trash. Regular doors will always reign supreme.  

Images via Pinterest
Wonder Stars
Wonder Stars

Chances are if you’re under 40 years old, you remember these glow-in-the-dark stick-on pieces of plastic we all begged our parents to glue to our ceilings. They were the best thing to have in your room at the time, even if they did often fall because of the ugly popcorn ceiling that we all had to deal with. While super cool, we’re pretty sure kids these days would opt for the LED lights instead.

The LED lights are becoming a much bigger trend, and more convenient since you can turn them off and on. You can also sync the LED lights to your music. Glow-in-the-dark stars were great at the time (and they can still be kinda cute in other types of artwork), but let’s leave this space trend in the past, shall we?  

Image via Amazon
Gel Candles
Gel Candles

Candles aren’t tacky – don’t misunderstand what we’re saying. We’re talking about those gel candles that everyone adored in the ‘90s. They were seriously trying too hard. They would be a super cute craft project for your 3rd grader to make, but the problem was that they were mass-produced and everyone just loved displaying them in their bathroom. 

That isn’t even the worst part. A big reason they fell out of style is because everyone learned that they were a fire hazard! When the gel got hot, it expanded and could cause the container to shatter. Basically, it was a scarring lesson that was begging to happen. It’s best to toss out any old gel candles you have.

Image via Pinterest
Beach Decor
Beach Decor

Every now and then, a trend will come along, and everyone will jump on board – and I mean everyone. For whatever reason, everyone lost their minds and decided to convince themselves that they lived on the beach by filling their home with beach decor! Beach theme is great, but only if you actually live near a large body of water… like the ocean. 

Most of the people that decided to roll with a beach-themed room (most of the time, it was the bathroom), they lived in a landlocked state! Come on. How does that make any sense? It fell out of style for the most part, and that’s something we can all cheer about.

Images via Pinterest
Entertainment Centers
Entertainment Centers

At the time, these gigantic pieces of furniture were completely justified. You needed a huge, clunky, piece of furniture to stuff your ‘90s TV and your ‘90s TV accessories! The TV itself probably weighed somewhere near 30lbs and was so huge it sometimes took two people to carry it, especially the ones with the big screens.

However, today these humongous pieces of memorabilia are few and far between. There’s absolutely no reason to have a huge, antique (yes, I said antique) style entertainment center. TVs are light enough to mount on the wall, and most people don’t even own a DVD player anymore. Believe me when I say rooms look ten times bigger without this bulky piece of furniture.

Image via Wayfair
Hideous Wallpaper
Hideous Wallpaper

Don’t get us wrong, wallpaper can be awesome! Joanna Gaines is single-handedly ensuring the livelihood of wallpaper as she ditches shiplap in place of some shabby-chic style wallpaper. The issue with ‘90s wallpaper is that it was just downright fugly – using ‘90s lingo just seems to fit perfectly here, doesn’t it?

This decade of wallpaper featured offensive florals and lovely colors like burgundy and mauve. Fun! Not really. Now, most new homeowners are stuck trying to peel off this hideous wallpaper from their walls, which is even less fun since some people went very liberal with the glue. Others decided just to paint over it to figure out that was a terrible decision. I blame ‘90s wallpaper.

Image via Pinterest
Parquet Floors
Parquet Floors

Oh parquet! We could never forget you, because you still haunt us in every un-remodeled Dillard’s across the Midwest! These truly are just about the worst flooring trend to exist, besides carpet. The worst part is that parquet flooring was so expensive to install back in the day. Maybe it was cheaper than hardwood, but it really isn’t once you account for redoing all the floors.

Yes, that’s counted in because no one likes parquet nowadays. The other option is to get a huge rug and throw it across your floor. A brave few have decided to paint their floors, but that just causes more issues. The only solution is to get that ugly flooring up. Ugh. Thinking of it makes my arms hurt (and my wallet).

Image via Pinterest
Blue and Purple
Blue and Purple

These were the colors featured in all the homes from your favorite ‘90s sitcom – Friends. Almost everyone watched it whether they loved or hated it. Let’s all just admit one thing: Ross was a terrible person and character. At the time, the Friends had some top-tier decorating tips (almost like Pinterest is today).

Out of everything on the show, the one thing that took off was the blue and purple walls. Yeah, there were a dozen other things we could have pulled from it, but it was the ugly paint colors. It looked great on TV with all the color correction and everything, but in your mom or girlfriend’s house? Not so much. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg. 

Image via Pinterest
Clunky Furniture
Clunky Furniture

Oversized and overkill – ‘90s furniture is just that. The more furniture that you could cram into your space, the better! It didn’t make the space look tiny at all…you catch the sarcasm, right? The paint colors and the oversized furniture really made the room close in on you. Yeah, I’ll have a little anxiety with my TV shows.

Eventually, minimalism came along and hit La-Z-boy where it hurt. Minimalism can go too far, especially when it first got started, but at least it was better than the massive furniture that kept you from walking around. It’s no surprise that companies that banked on this clunky trend went out of business (or are hanging on by a thread).

Image via La-Z-Boy
Acrylic Toilet Seats
Acrylic Toilet Seats

Okay. For real, what was with this trend? I feel badly for any kid whose parents decided to use an acrylic toilet seat. Don’t you want to enjoy that lovely decorative toilet seat while nature calls? Nothing says, “Pee Here!”  like a seashell encased in dingy acrylic! Gross! The worst part? It was never anything normal, either.

Then again, what would a “normal” acrylic toilet seat look like? In hindsight, there really isn’t one. The worst ones were also clear where you could see right through and into the bowl. Not only did you have to keep those clean 24/7, no one wants to close the lid and still see their…ahm. Business.  

Image via Wayfair
Patterned Coaches
Patterned Coaches

Everyone had “The Couch.” You know the one. It’s always covered in stains, but you couldn’t even tell because the pattern was so hideous. The kitschy, floral always hid the chocolate that you accidentally smeared, but maybe that was exactly what it was supposed to do. That’s why busses had that hilariously graffiti-like design.  

Regardless, the couch was basically part of the family. It"s in all of your family pictures after all. What really helped was that everything else in the living room was also a busy pattern, making the couch look simultaneously in place and out of place at the same time. It was absolutely perfect.

Image via Pinterest
Poster Walls
Poster Walls

Every ‘90s kid"s dream was a bedroom completely covered wall to wall with their favorite celebrities and singers. There were the popular ones like Leonardo DiCaprio and Boy Meets World, but anyone else had cartoons like Rocko’s Modern Life and Ahh! Real Monsters? Those shows were the best, weren’t they?

The funniest part was when we moved out and went to college. Chances are your mom kept it the same until at least 2010, it’s basically a time capsule of your life! Coming back in felt like a blast from the past in a good way…until it was time to modernize your room and make it look a million times better.

Image via Reddit
Oak Cabinets
Oak Cabinets

These are literally the worst; honey oak was everywhere, and we’ve spent 30 years trying to get rid of these poor things. If you’re lucky your oak cabinets are solid wood and not just veneers! Then you can sand and stain them however you like. Of course, with the way white cabinets are coming into style, painting them is another option.

Part of the problem was that honey oak was a “builders’ grade” product. With how expensive homes were becoming, you wanted to pick some of the cheaper options. Unfortunately, that bit you in the butt when it came to put your home back on the market. It was time for major updates, which was probably dark cabinets or Tuscan kitchens depending on when the home hit the market.  

Image via Pinterest
Folding Screens
Folding Screens

Folding screens were all the rage in the ‘90s! Many people used them as room dividers or changing areas in their room, how quaint! Not really, they’re just about useless and totally in the way. Everyone bought into them because movies and TV shows used them all the time. It was just the easiest way to continue the conversation realistically while a character changed.

When would someone need that in their home? Most of us spent our time walking around the stupid screen to get to where we want to go. You know what works really well as a room divider? An actual door or a wall. Considering most of us crave an open layout, it also makes zero sense to have a folding screen divider.

Image via Pinterest
Floral Motif Wall Borders
Floral Motif Wall Borders

Along with your floral wallpaper you can also have a more intense floral wallpaper border! It was the finishing touch to replace your crown molding...how classy. Just kidding, they were heinous. Now, they make your home look like a 90-year-old woman lives there. Granny chic is okay and all, but no one wants to have a home like that.

This trend got especially bad when “Tuscan” kitchens came into style. The wall border was always that dark fruit border – you know the one. This is a trend I was happy to see go. Now, it’s all about adding an accent wall or wainscoting. That’s great for now, but I have a feeling that’ll fall out of style, too. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Image via Pinterest
Bed Skirts
Bed Skirts

Who doesn’t want fabric dragging the ground next to their bed collecting dust? I know... nobody! Bed skirts are seriously dumb and just another thing to clean. Cleaning it was another inconvenience. Since your mattress lay on top of it, you have to pull it out using brute strength (which could tear it) or lift up your mattress.

Oh, so now, manual labor is involved in a bed sheet? You could not have one at all and call it done. They weren’t really good for anything, anyway. What’s wrong with under the bed? The only thing they"re good for is hiding the monster under your bed. If you have pets, that’s another issue to unravel.

Image via Bed Bath and Beyond
Indoor Wicker Furniture
Indoor Wicker Furniture

I blame Pier 1. Wicker furniture is barely furniture in and of itself. It doesn’t last long, and it’s super uncomfortable not long after purchasing. Honestly, this type of furniture is only acceptable outside, so it’s baffling why anyone would decide “Hey, let’s drag it inside and use it as regular furniture!”

It isn’t like you would take a couch out onto your porch. No, you’d get an outside couch because a regular one could mold. At minimum, it would hold water like crazy. Eventually, everyone understood that this furniture was a terrible choice. The trend fell out of style and never really gained the steam it once had in the ‘90s.  

Image via Wikipedia
Plant Prints
Plant Prints

Plant prints are coming back, but moderation is the keyword here. A cute little plant print pillow here and there can be adorable. A huge wall or giant couch with a plant print? That’s going into “overboard” territory. Another really popular choice for the print was curtains, and let me say, that was pretty bad, too.

I’m not sure what is with the ‘90s and everything fake plants, but it’s what the decade loved. There had to be something foliage and flora related in every single room, except real plants. Real plants were avoided like the plague – that’s pretty opposite of what it’s like for most people now.

Image via Amazon
Neon Signs
Neon Signs

Neon signs are a great addition…for a store. All they need is a big open sign or maybe one advertising their products that are for sale. It was a most for most liquor stores, especially in the ‘90s. So, keeping that in mind, why on Earth would anyone want to bring neon signs into your home?

It’s baffling. They tried to make them cute and quirky with little sayings or hearts, but it still didn’t make sense. Most neon signs are also painfully bright making it aggravating at best. In theory, this idea may not have been so bad, but in practice? Let’s just leave this one dead in the grave.  

Animal Print
Animal Print

There’s nothing wrong with a little animal print in fashion or décor. Actually, no, I take that back. Animal print doesn’t look good in your house unless you’re Carol Baskin. While leopard could look okay, it was the cow print that was used to an obsessive amount in the ‘90s. It was like people couldn’t put it down.

Some people had whole rooms dedicated to cow print, especially in the southwest – as if there weren’t enough cows there to begin with. It tried to make a comeback recently with the ‘90s surge, but most people refused to bring back this udder-ly ridiculous trend. Oh, yes. I went there.  

Track Lighting
Track Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important things in a home. It’s so essential that it can literally make or break a homebuying purchase. That makes track lighting an especially grievous sin. Since the ‘90s didn’t have today’s tech, the lighting was big, bulky, and bright. Furthermore, they were plagued with issues.

It isn’t uncommon for track lighting to have problems like flickering, bulbs dying faster than usual, or the whole thing crapping out on the person. Unless you live in an art studio or studio-esque situation, there’s no reason to have track lighting in your home. Look for more discreet options.  

Image via Wikipedia
Sponge Painting
Sponge Painting

Sponge painting is one of those things that came from the ‘80s and gained a ridiculous amount of steam in the next decade. It would be great to say people picked this painting style because it was easier than regular paint. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It was really more of a hassle if anything.

It took much longer than regular painting, and then it looked tacky. Of course, ‘90s sponge-painted walls wouldn’t be ‘90s sponge-painted walls if it wasn’t obnoxious colors. Orange, purple, blue – nothing pastel here. Even at its best, sponge painting looked awful. At least it’s easier to cover than textured walls.  

Image via Pinterest
Fake Plants
Fake Plants

Some plants are hard to take care of, and that’s understandable. You need a lot of light for some, and the watering schedule can be tedious for a busy person. That being said, there’s a plant for every lifestyle whether it’s a fiddle leaf fig, a pothos, or a succulent.

The issue with ‘90s plants is that they were just super fake. They had plastic bits sticking out everywhere, and the fabric texture could be spotted from a mile away. That’s not what you want in a fake plant, but everyone had them during this decade. Now, there are fake plants that are worth your money, but real plants aren’t that hard to take care of.  

Transparent Tech
Transparent Tech

Technology was really just getting good, and I mean that in every way. Even in the ‘90s, phones, TVs, and pretty much any tech you can think of got smaller and more manageable. As phones shrank, funny designs poured onto the market. Anyone else remember hamburger phones? One of the most popular quirky options was transparent phones.

The transparent trend was everywhere! Even Gameboys came in a transparent option. Back then, it was pretty cool because we’d never had anything like that previously. Now, people don’t want to see a circuit board. Tech also isn’t décor. No one puts their phone on display for everyone to see. Could you imagine?  

Image via Pinterest
Fake Fruit
Fake Fruit

What’s wrong with having real plant matter in the home? Really! Among one of the worst was the fake fruit trend. Fruit goes bad, yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a bowl of it in your home. Just eat it before it goes bad. Most fake fruit in a home collected dust like no one’s business.

Either you had to clean it constantly or leave it to be the dust-filled mess that it was born to be. While some fake fruit looked just like the real thing, most also looked super fake. We’ve all seen the banana with the brown tip that was perfectly smoothed over with the obviously spray-painted tip.

Image via Amazon
Sand Art
Sand Art

Sand art absolutely exploded in the ‘90s and stuck around for the early 2000s. As a ‘90s baby, I sincerely apologize for that trend. The sad fact of the matter was that it was fun to make. It wasn’t the best art in the world and was basically like the décor equivalent of tie-dye.

It’s easy to see why it made perfect sense in the ‘90s, but today, it’s easy to see why it was tacky. If you were lucky, the sand art never fell and went all over the place. Those of us who suffered that fate found sand (and glitter) in places for years afterward. No vacuum could ever pick it all up.  

Author Alot Living Team Last Updated: April 02, 2021

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