Ideas to update your 90s Home

Simple Steps to Modernize the 1990s Home

Updated 90s Home Breakfast Nook
A fresh shade of light blue paint and white trim give this breakfast nook new life. Source

RELATED: How to Update your 90’s Era Kitchen

Some 1990s-era homes truly need a complete overhaul to start fresh. But a major renovation isn’t always necessary. In fact, 90s oak can be salvaged. And if your woodwork and cabinetry is high quality and in great shape, it’s worth hanging onto. The key is to create balance and mix the old with the new. A perfectly curated and modernized space with just a touch of 90s style has the potential to feel warm and inviting. Have a budget-friendly design goal in mind? Well, simple fixes just might be your ticket to a stylish haven. Read on for our list of ideas to update your 90s home. You’ll be ready to tackle it all before you know it. (No extensive renovations required!)

Step #1: Eliminate Any Surrounding 90s Vibes

One of the main problems with a 1990s-style home is the fact that it’s got the decade on every surface. Cringe-worthy decor decisions (sponge painting trend, we’re looking at you) are everywhere you look. So, walking into a 90s home is without a doubt a walk back in time. And when you look at it all at a glance, it can feel overwhelming. But don’t ditch that honey oak trim or cabinetry just yet. The first step to deciding if it has staying potential is to ditch any surrounding 90s vibes first. Get rid of the obvious and easy-to-fix style bits surrounding your oak (think paint, carpeting, fixtures, and more). Once you have the 90s pared down to just your oak, it’s honestly not so bad. It may even be quite pretty if you have the chance to see it on its own.

RELATED: 5 – 90s Decor Trends to Ditch Right Now

In this 90s-era dining room, a combination of earthy green walls, Tuscan-style fixtures, dark cherry red furniture, and beige carpeting made it feel extremely outdated on every surface.
In this 90s-era dining room, a combination of earthy green walls, Tuscan-style fixtures, dark cherry red furniture, and beige carpeting made it feel extremely outdated on every surface.
 

Step #2: Create Contrast

The oak finishes of the 90s can certainly vary in tone. But more often than not we tend to run into ultra-warm honey oak hues (think orange and yellow undertones). And of course, this isn’t inherently bad. Yet, when it’s surrounded by beige or earthy-tone walls and brown carpeting, it can feel pretty blah. So, we always recommend attacking the walls early on in the 90s-elimination stages. Go right ahead and paint over those dull colors and decades-old wall finish styles. You’d be surprised at how a fresh coat of a contrasting color – like a soft grey or a bold navy – can work wonders, and is one of our favorite ideas to update your 90s home.

RELATED:  5 Signs Your Home is Stuck in the 90s

A 1990s kitchen through and through, this before shot of one of our projects reveals a ho-hum palette of similar too-warm tones throughout the space, including outdated oak cabinets, matching floors, and an orange-red wall color.
A 1990s kitchen through and through, this before shot of one of our projects reveals a ho-hum palette of similar too-warm tones throughout the space, including outdated oak cabinets, matching floors, and an orange-red wall color.

RELATED: Best Paint Colors for your 90s Era Home

The use of color in this bathroom (ASID Showcase Home award winner for Best Use of Color) allowed us to use oak in a way that felt fresh and inviting. The cool tones in the blue and green tiled backsplash and crisp white walls helped the warmer honey oak appear balanced and updated. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
The use of color in this bathroom (ASID Showcase Home award winner for Best Use of Color) allowed us to use oak in a way that felt fresh and inviting. The cool tones in the blue and green tiled backsplash and crisp white walls helped the warmer honey oak appear balanced and updated. Interior Design by Carla Bast 

RELATED:  How to Update your 90s Era Bathroom

Step #3: Modernize Your Finishes

Is there anything that screams 1990s more than an overload of shiny faux brass and oil-rubbed bronze? We think not. So, it’s obvious that swapping out any fixtures, hardware, and faucets in these finishes is a must to update your 90s space. Hardware can be modernized in a snap. It’s an easy DIY fix you can do with a simple set of tools. Lighting and faucets, on the other hand, are possible to DIY, but you may need a bit of help from the pros (especially if you’re not well-versed in plumbing or electrical work). But unless you need serious rerouting of anything, a simple swap out definitely won’t break the bank. And once it’s done? Well, it’ll transform that oak in a flash.

RELATED: How to Update Your 90s Era Lighting

1990s style was the defining characteristic of this outdated Tuscan style bathroom, thanks to a blend of an ornate scrollwork mirror and light fixture and a dull gold wall color.
1990s style was the defining characteristic of this outdated Tuscan style bathroom, thanks to a blend of an ornate scrollwork mirror and light fixture and a dull gold wall color.
In these before shots of our Jordan mudroom design (scroll down for the after photo), they reveal a 90s-era cramped and crowded entryway with little space to easily set down essentials like bags or coats.
In these before shots of our Jordan mudroom design (scroll down for the after photo), they reveal a 90s-era cramped and crowded entryway with little space to easily set down essentials like bags or coats.
In these before shots of our Jordan mudroom design (scroll down for the after photo), they reveal a 90s-era cramped and crowded entryway with little space to easily set down essentials like bags or coats.
This updated mudroom design was a bit more extensive than a simple finish swap out. We did some rearranging of the space to include a larger warm wood-toned bench and grey cabinet lockers, and then we added sleek modern hardware pulls in brushed nickel for a balanced aesthetic that perfectly paired together cool and warm hues. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
This updated mudroom was a bit more extensive than a simple finish swap out. We did some rearranging of the space to include a larger warm wood-toned bench and grey cabinet lockers, and then we added sleek modern hardware pulls in brushed nickel for a balanced aesthetic that perfectly paired together cool and warm hues. Design by Carla Bast Design

RELATED:  Mudroom Ideas for the Busy Family

Step #4: Cool it Off 

After you’ve finalized your wall paint and finishes, what’s next? Continue to cool things off with a complementary (cool) palette throughout the space. We’re talking about decor here, of course. So, when in doubt, choose rugs, furniture, accessories, and more that favor a cooler color scheme. Crisp bright whites, deep blues, modern blacks, and fresh, clean, greens can have a profound impact on the overall vibe of your space. By adding in elements that pop against your oak, its warmth can shine in a positive way as opposed to blending in with everything else around it.

RELATED: Best Paint Colors for Your 90s Era Home

A 90s-style bedroom can be spotted instantly; between its beige carpeting, off-white walls, and red-toned oak trim, this bedroom was in need of a major overhaul.
A 90s-style bedroom can be spotted instantly; between its beige carpeting, off-white walls, and red-toned oak trim, this bedroom was in need of a major overhaul.
Using a cooler color palette of greys and blues, we were able to modernize this 90s-era bedroom into a relaxing retreat that felt firmly rooted in the present. (Interior Design by Carla Bast | Carla Bast Design)
Using a cooler color palette of greys and blues, we were able to modernize this 90s-era bedroom into a relaxing retreat that felt firmly rooted in the present. Interior Design By: Carla Bast Design

Have you always been a bit afraid of tearing out your home’s oak (especially if it’s in mint condition)? Dying for a modern upgrade, but aren’t ready to ditch every element of your home’s style? Then trust us. Incorporating each of these ideas to update your 90s home is guaranteed to give you the perfect solution for your troubles. You may realize that your oak isn’t quite so bad after all.

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Carla Bast Design

3 Responses

    1. Hi Betsy, Absolutely! This is a great option if the cabinets are functioning properly and you aren’t changing the layout of the kitchen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

 

 

Mockup 5 tips for stress free

5 Tips for Stress Free Remodel

Don’t miss a thing!

Enter your email below to be the first to know about design posts, new products and tips for a more beautiful home.

More Posts We Think You'd Love

how to choose paint colors with confidence

Free Design Guide

5 Tips for a Stress Free Remodel

Get The FREE Guide

Ever wonder what your own personal interior design style is?

Unlock Your Unique Design Style

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.