There are many things considered quintessentially British. From fish and chips to football matches, cups of tea and street parties.

Even our interiors have their own sense of style and to tie in with the Quintessentially English interiors giveaway that is going live tomorrow, we want to take you on a ride through the decades exploring interiors from each era.

Every home remembers a time when their bathroom featured an avocado suite or their bedroom was illuminated by lava lamps but just how have styles changed over time? And what surprises do the vaults of design history hold when it comes to British homes through the decades?


Thanks to the work of Colefax & Fowler – an influential British decorating firm – the 1940s has become characterised by the “English country-house”.

This means lavish and elegant interiors featuring chandeliers, floral patterns and lots of fabric! Floors were typically tiled with thick rugs while furniture was wooden with a varnished finish.

1920s tea set

Picture frames, doorways, fireplaces and other key features would be decorated with embellishments such as scrolling and there’d often be an eclectic mix of patterns with colours generally muted in tone: think green, yellow, salmon and white.


Characterised by traditional print photos and adverts from the time, this era featured muted colours, subtle patterns and thick fabrics.

Checkerboard patterns were particularly popular for kitchen floors and walls while living rooms often opted for plain walls and carpets with small patterns and muted colours like brown and grey.

1950s interior decor

Ornaments and trinkets filled up empty spaces to add character while white washed furniture and wooden floors also garnered popularity.


Cool and groovy, 60s interiors certainly had plenty to be proud of in the UK.

Flamboyant prints were all the rage and were found on everything from the walls and sofas to the furnishings and decoration. Colours were generally rich with deep oranges, reds, pinks, purples, yellows and brown all common.

Carpetreight Mardi Gras Dublin monochrome vinyl floor

Pop Art also had a huge impact on style with posters common features on walls and bold colours juxtaposed against black and whites.

Science fiction and the space age also had an impact on interiors, leading to curved “futuristic” style furniture and units as well as cubed designs.


Flower power, lava lamps, bell bottom flares and bright colours – England in the 70s was certainly a place to behold.

Inside the home, patterned prints using stripes and geometric shapes were common as were painted cabinets in vibrant shades and quick clean vinyl floors.

Carpetright Retro style carpet True_Colours_564_9198

Swanky furniture with curved or bold designs, including tub chairs and swish bar stools were also popular.

Don’t forget the pivotal lava lamp and shaggy rug either. No home was complete without one … or two!


After the flower power of the 70s came one of English design’s biggest faux pas: the avocado green bathroom suite.

A style staple in any 80s bathroom, it featured alongside swish fan ceiling lights and extendable desk lamps.


Glass tiles and painted kitchen units with contrasting coloured handles also made it into the most homes while flooring choices leaned towards thick carpets in neutral or dusky shades.


Looking for synchronicity of style, 90s interior design saw huge popularity for pine furniture and all wood kitchens as well as beige or cream leather suites in the living room.

Wood-effect laminate flooring became particularly common as households fell in love with their authentic looks and low-cost prices.

Dynamic 8573 Harlech Oak Room Set_mini

Colour was still used as dominant features in 90s homes but a trend towards neutral colour schemes was become apparent as tones became muted and more subtle.

Then of course there was the obligatory coving on ceilings and animal print furnishings most people would rather forget.


In the 00s, minimalism took off and homes were embracing crisp, clean whites and neutral creams and beiges throughout every room.

Accent colours and colour-matching accessories were used to offset any claims of “blandness” and clutter was eliminated wherever possible.

Wooden or hard floors became the accepted norm and were introduced in most rooms as an easy and stylish solution to redecorating.

CR-ED040 White Kitchen with white appliances and vinyl flooring

Styles often chose to “bring the outdoors in” too with strategic plants and vases of fake flowers and decorated sticks used to add earthly elements to most rooms. This extended into furnishings too where bold, bright floral prints became a popular choice.


Today’s trends are very similar to those of the last decade with minimalist decors and neutral colours still the norm.

Creams and beige havebeen replaced with cool greys, dusky shades and off-whites to add warmth and depth to any design while patterned wallpapers also experienced resurgence on accent walls with traditional damask patterns given a modern edge.


Throughout the home, chrome, glass and wood are all popular materials for furniture while kitchens often opt for sleek and glossy looks with bursts of colour that provide intrigue.

Know your decades?

Think you know more than a thing or two about the UK’s home interior trends from different decades?

Take part in our St George’s Day competition to correctly identify four iconic decades and you could win a fabulous Elizabeth Arden Ceramide range worth £200!

Want to relive one of these decades? Test out which flooring would best suit your design by ordering free samples!