5 90s Decor Trends to Ditch Right Now

Budget-Friendly Upgrades to Modernize Your Home

Remember our run-down of 5 Signs Your Home is Stuck in the 90s? Well, we couldn’t resist adding a few more to the list! And this time, we’re talking all about those deja vu trends that are so rooted in 90s decor lore that it’s hard to believe they were ever in style. But of course, if you own a home that had a featured selling point of pristine wallpaper borders in every room, then you are all too familiar with the reality. Fear not, though! Everything in today’s post is budget friendly. So, if an extensive remodel just isn’t in the cards for this year, you can still make some changes that we guarantee will have a major impact (and will bring you right into the present day).

#1 – Hunter Green & Burgundy

Ultra-saturated hues of green, red, blue, and everything in between seem to be everywhere right now, and if you’ve got a shade in a soft sage or a bold wine red, you’re sure to be right on trend. But a good old fashioned hunter green or burgundy (or both)? You’re living in a 90s decor world, baby. Luckily, getting rid of this color is as easy as slapping on a few new coats of paint. Just remember to use a quality primer first – getting rid of that dark paint color takes a bit more work than putting it on a neutral wall to start with.

With hunter green carpet and a burgundy-patterned bedding set, this master bedroom was firmly rooted in the 90s.
With hunter green carpet and a burgundy-patterned bedding set, this master bedroom was firmly rooted in the 90s.
In a similar-sized space, we eliminated the 90s style of the original bedroom and updated it to fit our clients’ modern style. A mix of warm greys, blues, and creamy whites gave the room a calm refreshed aesthetic. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
In a similar-sized space, we eliminated the 90s style of the original bedroom and updated it to fit our clients’ modern style. A mix of warm greys, blues, and creamy whites gave the room a calm refreshed aesthetic. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

#2 – Shiny Faux Brass Hardware

Listen, we love a good infusion of brass into a space. But the key to making this finish feel modern is to opt for brushed brass or an antiqued brass finish. Any hardware that’s ultra shiny (and especially faux) is definitely going to age your home to about 1992. The good news? Well, all you need to do is a simple swap. You can find replacements at any price point, and as long as you stick to the same hardware style (knob versus pull), it’s as easy as unscrewing one and screwing in another.

Contemporary brushed brass hardware pulls pair with the brushed brass island pendant lights for a sleek and modern look in this kitchen. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
Contemporary brushed brass hardware pulls pair with the brushed brass island pendant lights for a sleek and modern look in this kitchen. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

#3 – Pickled Wood Kitchens

We will admit, a little shabby chic style in moderation can work in a room. But the 90s decor trend of a kitchen full of floor-to-ceiling pickled wood cabinets is a no-go. It’s dated through and through. So, what’s the solution? For a total custom route, you can scrap your existing cabinets and start fresh with new, contemporary ones. Or, you can work with what you have by sanding your cabinets down to their bases and using an updated stain. Painting your cabinets a fresh new color is also a great option (and probably the least messy and expensive of the three). 

A pickled wood kitchen in shades of pink gives this home an instant 90s vibe.
A pickled wood kitchen in shades of pink gives this home an instant 90s vibe. (Source unknown)
Rather than a shabby-chic set of pickled wood cabinets, this kitchen shines thanks to a creamy coat of warm white paint in a classic cabinet style. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
Rather than a shabby-chic set of pickled wood cabinets, this kitchen shines thanks to a creamy coat of warm white paint in a classic cabinet style. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

#4 – Wallpaper Borders, Wall Stencils, Faux Paint Finishes, Sponge Painting

Does a scalloped floral border around a room make you think instantly of your great aunt? Are you staring at a purple sponge-painted wall and wondering how the heck to work with it? Wallpaper borders, wall stencils, faux paint finishes, and sponge painting are hallmarks of a 90s home. As such, we give you full permission to remove and paint over all of it. We promise you won’t miss it one bit.

A sponge-painted bathroom with wall-to-wall Tuscan style screams “I’m old!” and is practically begging for a modern update.
A sponge-painted bathroom with wall-to-wall Tuscan style screams “I’m old!” and is practically begging for a modern update. (Source unknown)
Wallpaper borders are far too 90s in style, but wallpaper can absolutely be used to beautiful effect. By balancing a soft floral print with a bold blue vanity and an otherwise neutral palette throughout, this powder room feels fresh and inviting. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
Wallpaper borders are far too 90s in style, but wallpaper can absolutely be used to beautiful effect. By balancing a soft floral print with a bold blue vanity and an otherwise neutral palette throughout, this powder room feels fresh and inviting. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

#5 – Florals Everywhere

Finally, we can’t forget to mention the florals everywhere trend of the 90s. And when we say everywhere, we mean everywhere. Think a powder room with floral wallpaper, floral hand towels, faux flowers in a vase, a flower toilet seat cover, and a floral-patterned floor mat. Or, imagine a master bedroom with floral bedding, floral scalloped wallpaper, framed floral prints, and floral curtains “to match.” Needless to say, this look is a nightmare and needs to be pared way down. Florals can absolutely work, you just need to use them sparingly. Balance them with more structured and solid prints and patterns and they’ll get the spotlight they deserve (and you’ll actually feel at home in your space). 

A 90s-inspired floral-themed room with near-identical patterns on every surface feels busy and overwhelming. (Source: IKEA)
A 90s-inspired floral-themed room with near-identical patterns on every surface feels busy and overwhelming. (Source: IKEA)
A subtle nod to florals via classic curtain panels are all this dining room needs to add a pop of interest without going too far into floral-everywhere 90s territory. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
A subtle nod to florals via classic curtain panels are all this dining room needs to add a pop of interest without going too far into floral-everywhere 90s territory. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)

What are you most looking forward to painting over or swapping out? Is “ditch the pickled wood cabinets” on the top of your list? Or are you planning to strip that floral wallpaper the next time a long holiday weekend rolls around? Whatever your DIY decision may be, we’re here for it – 90s decor style has simply got to go.

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Carla Bast Design

12 Responses

  1. I love this series of the transformations you’ve achieved for your clients, Carla. Each one is such an improvement over what was there before.

    Beautiful work and I imagine your clients are thrilled.

  2. Carla, I think your blog posts about being stuck in the 90’s AND how to update those spaces are a service to humanity! They’re so much fun to read.

  3. OMGosh YES! There is a sea of this stuff around here that needs to go! And I’m old enough to have perpetrated some of it when I was young and it was “in” LOL. I’ve eradicated most of it in my own home at least…work in progress!

  4. Wow this was so much fun to read, and you are so right about the outdated color trends! I love your before and after photos, it makes the upgraded spaces that much more impressive!

  5. Oh my….so many old ‘trends’ that really made me giggle a bit. Hunter green and burgandy, faux paint….Everything you mentioned truly does date a home (IMPO).

    Your images of your projects to showcase how to update a home are gorgeous!

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Carla Guide_whitecrop

Choose your paint colors with confidence

Hi I’m Carla

carla-bast-interior-designer-and-blogger

I’m glad you’re here! You are in the right place if you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of embarking on a remodeling or interior design project. Living with and outdated 90s era home and don’t know where to start? I’ve helped families like yours update their home and create spaces that reflect what’s important to them for over 25 years.

Join me!

 

I’ve been honored to be featured in and receive awards from:

The Spruce

Apartment Therapy / Cubby

Houzz / Best of Service & Design

Minnesota Chapter ASID – First Place Award

MSP Magazine, Best Use of Color

Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

 

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