Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Table and Hermann Miller’s Eames chair defined the 1950s and '60s, while shag carpets dominated the '70s. In the 1980s big bag chairs were big, and the '90s found us shining our track lighting down to showcase our huge compact disc systems. The early 2000s were sort of a hodgepodge, ranging from Shabby Chic everything to, well, IKEA everything.
So what exactly will the second decade of the 2000s be known for? We asked some of the top interior designers in the country to pick the products and trends that defined the last decade.
The Smart Home Hub
While Alexa and Siri might not be on the list of the most popular baby names of the decade, their names are without a doubt the most repeated of the decade. “There's been a huge shift towards technology in the past decade,” explains Jade Joyner, Founder & Principal Designer at Metal + Petal. What can’t a smart home hub—or even a smartphone—do? “In many ways, so many elements of home comfort can be congregated so simply in a 3” x 5” phone that we crane our necks every hour of every day and enter in commands for heating, lighting, vacuuming, music, television, viewing the dog, and most anything else we conjure up to make our lives easier,” adds Cathy Maready of Elephant Ears.
Organic, Sustainable, Non-Toxic Home Goods
From cleaning supplies to textiles and furniture, in the last ten years, we have seen a major shift toward a more thoughtful approach to home goods, including organic, sustainable, and non-toxic home products. “Straying away from chemicals, and purchasing organic home products that are natural and harmless has also become a popular trend in the past few years,” explains Joyner. We are also much more aware of where products are sourced and the type of labor that goes into them, with a major shift away from sweatshop-labored products.
The Bar Cart
Bar carts made a major statement in the last decade, serving more of a purpose than a functioning bar. “A feeling of nostalgia continues to impact trends in everything from fashion to design—and the bar cart is a great example of this,” explains Casey DeBois. Bar carts have become an almost ubiquitous accessory—with people using them in homes, apartments, and even the office. “There’s a ‘serve yourself’ element of this accessory that makes it great for entertaining and creating a fun and relaxed atmosphere for a gathering or parties,” she adds. “Bar carts also offer a space to display unique glassware and favorite bottles of booze that would normally be stored away, allowing you to show off other elements of your personal style and taste.”
IKEA Besta Units
No matter how you feel about IKEA, you can likely spot a Besta unit from a mile away. “These are a staple in so many homes—regardless of the design budget,” says DeBois. “They have a clean modern look that can blend in but can also be easily customized by adding hardware or changing out the top with marble or natural wood.”
Mix-and-Match Furniture Sets
While shopping for matching sets of furniture used to be the most common way people decorated their homes, Maggie Griffin, Founder & Designer of Maggie Griffin Design, believes that people started to shy away from matchy-matchy rooms this decade. “It’s no longer in vogue to purchase a whole room that coordinates,” she says of bedroom suites or living room sets. “It’s so much chicer to have a collected look of mixed materials in an appropriate scale for your space!”
The Gallery Wall
About 10 years ago, the term “gallery wall” went totally mainstream, with most of us jumping on the curated wall bandwagon, Noel Gatts, Founder of Beam + Bloom Interiors points out. “There are now templates and hanging tools for making them organized and beautiful!” she says. “We have had increasingly beautiful and creative frame designs that make it easier to dress the walls of your dreams!”
Sleek, Integrated Technology
Maready also points out that there has been an incredible shift in the design aspect of technology. In previous decades, televisions were huge and boxy, speakers large and space-consuming, and other gadgets, ranging from microwaves to printers were overall eyesores.
However, in the last decade, brands have somehow managed to make these systems aesthetically pleasing, more integrated into the space, sometimes even adding a design element. “In design, this leaves wondrous walls without enormous electronic panels,” she says. “Instead, we can adorn them with art and beauty.” For example, speakers are not gigantic gargoyles in our living rooms and space planning has become more…spacious. “Technology has let us open up our dimensions to a softer environment where layers are more easily and evenly applied.”
The Trestle Table
Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, farmhouse style was a dominant trend of the decade. In nearly every farmhouse style home lives a long, functional trestle table, perfect for casual but refined family gatherings. Nearly every furniture brand jumped on the trestle bandwagon, and the piece was clearly the most popular style of table of the period.
In the textile realm, faux fur definitely made a mark in the 2010s. “It continues to pop up in pillows, blankets and even upholstery,” says Gatts. “In the right quantities, it’s an animal-friendly way to add warmth and texture to any space. The quality of the texture and design has leveled up, giving us truly soft and beautiful products to elevate a space.”
The Restoration Hardware Lancaster Sofa
Restoration Hardware has been around since 1979, but undeniably made their biggest mark in the interior design world over the last decade. Perhaps their most recognizable piece is their rich, leather Lancaster Sofa. It came to define rich, masculine, elegance, while being versatile enough to work in a contemporary, traditional, farmhouse, or even lofty type of space.
Upcycled furniture and antiquing has started to dominate over the "fast furniture" pieces intended for instant use and quickly thrown away, according to Philadelphia based interior designer Sabrina Piazza of Living Quarters. “People are no longer poo-pooing flea market finds and previously owned items like rugs, art, and one-of-a-kind chairs,” she explains. “This has affected everything in the design world as consumers become more conscientious,” she adds.
Conversion from incandescent to LED has been monumental in energy savings for residential and commercial use, says Piazza. “Technological advances allow for more accurate color rendering, dimmability, and more acceptable design aesthetic than the first prototypes,” she explains. These reasons, along with greater accessibility, has allowed users to shift to these products saving at least 75% energy over incandescent counterpart by lasting 25 times longer.
Mid-Century Modern Styles
In stark contrast with the early 2000s Tuscan overload, minimalism came back in a big way in the last ten years, most overtly curated in the 1950's mid-century modern varietal. “Once available from only high-end modern resources like Design Within Reach with a hefty price tag, these furnishings have been pervading both the trade and public design arena,” says Piazza. “With online retailers like Joybird, middlemen have been eliminated, allowing accessibility for the masses with this type of furniture.”
Mattresses in a Box
One of the products that dominated the 2010s is without a doubt the bed-in-a-box. “Companies like Nectar, Purple, Allswell, Leesa, and Helix have found a space in the marketplace thanks to Casper's inventive answer to small stairways and apartment living,” Piazza explains. “Upending the traditional mattress shopping experience forevermore, these companies now allow us to shop from the comfort of our own bed, shipping directly to our boudoir with white-glove service with the option to change our minds after a 3-month slumber.”
Performance Fabrics and Rugs
“Kid and pet friendly upholstery for retail consumers used to be limited to microsuede and slip-covers. Now even those without professional design assistance have options for furniture choices using a variety of performance-grade fabrics,” says Piazza. Instead of waiting to be empty-nesters for nice furniture, families are now buying their forever pieces with fabric that can stand the test of time and red wine spills.
“Companies like Sunbrella have revolutionized the way we think about our fabrics and rug choices. Our range of outdoor fabrics used to be limited to blue and beige awning stripes, while today we have an almost unlimited selection of indoor/outdoor performance fabrics in every flavor.” For example, Pottery Barn, Serena and Lily, Room and Board, and RH offer upholstery frames in stocked options for quick delivery or custom choices with a lead time.