There was a time when people watched The Spice Girls movie in earnest, navel-gazing rock bands were actually signed to record labels, and everyone you knew wore floral leggings without having to explain themselves. While we're glad those days are over, we do miss the good music.
Think about it, we don't have to tolerate offensive living room decor—like the overstuffed, floral couch or the stuffy wall-to-wall carpeting that, over a decade of abuse, became sticky, crusty, and stained.
It's probably for the best that we collectively decided to let these "trends" be forgotten. We’re in a better place now. A place of logical design, minimalism, and colors that match. But, we can still look back in nostalgia (and hilarity).
1. Everything floral
The 90s is to florals as the 80s is to big hair. Whether it was our floral dresses circa 1992 or your mom’s mid-90s wallpaper, it was botanical vomit to the max that someone (who?!) thought was a good idea. Take, for example, this couch, which is like someone sewed the cover together from bits and pieces of old-lady pajamas. R.I.P., florals.
2. Plastic furniture covers
My grandparents were all about the plastic furniture —as were almost all of my friend’s parents. I’m not sure why anyone would own a couch (which I thought were meant to be soft and cozy) if all they wanted to do is deck it out in squeaky, uncomfortable plastic. Plastic covers are tacky, distracting and clinical. I would rather have a gnarly soda spill on my ugly, oversized floral love seat than be surrounded by a sea of plastic.
3. Parquet flooring
This design—and I say this knowing someone out there likes it—rarely looks good. Just, no. And while parquetry (did you know that was a real word?) was popular in the 1600s, it had a little renaissance in the 90s, which is appropriate, because the 90s stood for everything aesthetically terrible. Apparently, people enjoyed making their homes look claustrophobically dark and boxed-in, creating the effect of a sad, old doll house.
4. Blow-up furniture
Once upon a time, inflatable chairs were really popular, so popular that Britney Spears’ name was used to market one. There was just something about the 90s that made everyone want to look so cool and so relaxed (despite looking so, so terribly lame). Just Google ‘90s blow-up chair’ and treat yourself to the inane derpyness of it all—especially the leopard or smiley-face prints. Bonus points if you had a blow-up sofa AND a bean bag chair.
5. Beaded curtains
It didn’t matter where you put them—between your bedroom and your hallway, in your closet, or over your bed—having beaded curtains were a staple for any 90s bedroom. Mostly, we hope, for teens. They were usually brightly colored, some glowed in the dark, but all of them made lots of noise. They packed major “coolness” points, though, which would literally never fly for today’s sleek minimalists.
6. Lava Lamps
The Lava Lamp was an institution of the 90s that was usually available for purchase at Spencer’s gift store in the mall. They meant business, especially for teens who played hooky to sneak sips of their parents’ fancy liquor stash at home (true story). Switch off the light, turn one of those bad boys on and you have an environment of epic coolness.
7. Lisa Frank
Lisa Frank was the queen of all things neon or leopard print, known for drawing adorable animals like dolphins and unicorns jumping through rainbows or splashing out of the sea. Or, even more realistically, banana fudge sundaes hanging out in outer space. Stickers, binders, notebooks, bedding, shower curtains—you name it—could be found in any 90s bedroom. It wasn’t necessarily an adult’s idea of “decor,” but that doesn’t mean it didn’t take over America.
8. Wood paneling
Much like its ugly cousin Parquet Flooring, wood paneling makes your home look dark, small and seriously depressing. If that’s the case, why did everyone love it in the 90s? Maybe they thought it gave an air sophistication or coziness? Well, I’m here to say no, no it didn’t. But then again, the 90s was a confused era. Just ask its fashion. Or Fiona Apple, who may have been one of the only good things to come out of it.
9. Wall-to-wall carpeting
Instead of using a rug to accent a room or bring together a few separate decor elements, 90s folks went all out with their carpets. They went wall-to-wall, up the stairs, down the stairs and covered the hallways. We’re all still trying to figure out why any reasonable, clean human would have put carpet in their bathroom. Confounding.
10. Plaid & patterned couches
Remember when I said there could be nothing worse than a plastic couch cover? I lied. Plaid couches—or any couch with a bold, crazy pattern—are worse. Just think of all the poor couches that had to be thrown away when people realized the errors of their ways! Hopefully, people re-used their horrific couches by covering them up with something, you know, less monstrous? Maybe a simple solid color?
11. Wallpaper borders
This is another weird one. Not only does it look tacky, it makes it so you can’t actually redecorate your home without matching everything to your (most likely) floral wallpaper border. The 90s were all about doing as much—literally as much—as you could with your space without spending too much money. If that meant covering your walls with a strip of flowers, then so be it. Today, luckily, we’ve all come to our senses.