Home Improvement

Worst Home Decor Ideas From the 1990s

  • Are you an old-timey pharmacist? No? Then we prescribed a pass on the apothecary table.

    Are you an old-timey pharmacist? No? Then we prescribed a pass on the apothecary table.

  • Beige carpeting can really... really add... yawn...add...yaaawn...

    Beige carpeting can really... really add... yawn...add...yaaawn...  (irina88w)

  • Cleaning your once-hip fixtures can be a real pain in the brass.

    Cleaning your once-hip fixtures can be a real pain in the brass.  (pkazmercyk)

Just how long ago were the 1990s? Well, try to remember the last time you saw someone wearing maroon-black lipstick and rocking a flannel shirt while talking on a 1-pound cellphone. Yeah, that was 20 years ago. And just like fashion and technology, home decor styles have changed radically since the Rachel haircut was all the rage.

For the next installment of our Worst Home Decor by the Decade series, we're looking at you, '90s, and all of your egregious decorating fails.

Beige wall-to-wall carpeting

Minimalism, a popular 1990s trend, meant a neutral palette in fawn, mushroom, and oatmeal. But no matter how you try to disguise the name, those shades are variations on a theme of boring. So it was out with colorful Persian rugs and in with wall-to-wall carpeting on every floor in varying shades of yawn.

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Ivy stenciling

For those who rejected minimalism, stenciling mania fit the bill in the '90s. Home decorating kits made it a snap for anyone to add climbing ivy inside their home, and painted strands of ivy peeked out from behind seemingly every kitchen cupboard and bathroom vanity. Ivy crept around hallway corners and into bedrooms and even climbed on adjoining dressers and bed frames.

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Too much Pottery Barn

Proof the home furnishing chain was wildly popular in the '90s: air time on "Friends" and "Seinfeld," the decade's top two sitcoms. The "Friends" plotline revolved around a reproduction of an apothecary cabinet so ubiquitous, two of the six friends owned it. On "Seinfeld," Kramer called the chain "jack booted -- thugs" due to the deluge of catalogs likely featuring another common look: overstuffed sofas in white slipcovers.

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Heavy curtains with matching valances

Windows are designed to let light and air in. They are not venues for homeowners who want to block every last golden ray with thick curtains and an irrelevant bit of swagged fabric called a valance. Yet valances were everywhere, hanging from the tops of windows like useless dust ruffles for your window frames.

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Southwest style

Start by painting a room dusty coral. Then add teal accents and expose some wood logs in the ceiling. Hang a feathered dream catcher and Kokopelli figures on the wall. Add a cow skull or two to the coffee table, and voil: homes from Illinois to Georgia looked like they belonged in an Arizona desert.

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Complicated bathroom sinks

For years, we lived in perfect harmony with pedestal sinks. They were functional and beautiful. Then in the 1990s raised bowl sinks, aka vessel sinks, arrived on the bathroom scene. These bowls -- often in swooped glass -- left nowhere to put so much as a bar of soap.

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Knotty pine overload

Major cultural artifacts of the '90s included the Spice Girls, the blockbuster "Titanic," and knotty pine. This rustic-feeling, inexpensive blond wood was used to make chairs, dressers, tables, and kitchen cabinets. So, so many kitchen cabinets! And like the Spice Girls (try to name one of their hits), pine does not stand up to the cruel test of time.

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Glow-in-the-dark stars

Bedroom ceilings and walls across America are paying the price for these impossible-to-get-off phosphorescent stickers meant to mimic the night sky. While many children fell asleep to their own private Milky Way, today's homeowners stay awake desperately wondering how to remove the celestial stickers, seemingly affixed with a substance whose pull is more powerful than a black hole.

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Brass fixtures

Brass is the alloy that ate the '90s, appearing in furniture from headboards to lamps, and hardware from doorknobs to faucets. Yet in the cold light of 2016, these shiny metallics look cheap and tacky (not to mention pitted and rusty).

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Shabby chic

Oh, you deliberately distressed and mismatched perfect imperfection! We could handle you when you were a rose-pink chair here or a faux-painted dresser there. But you got greedy in the '90s, when whole rooms were decorated in a weathered chenille and chintz romantic nightmare. Such a shame.

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Inflatable furniture

Rules for sitting on 1990s blow-up furniture: No eating, no drinking, and most definitely no sharp objects. Because who wanted to have a sofa blow out during "E.R."? Also, blowing up a balloon is difficult enough. Blowing up a love seat and a chair? Just no.

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Sponge painting

How and why? As in how and why did this faux finish -- which looks like a kindergartner's art project -- ever catch on? Leave sponges in the kitchen where they belong, and stick with a brush or roller when it's time to paint.

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Massive entertainment centers

Before you could binge-watch Netflix on your smartphone while burning calories walking the treadmill, entire families gathered for "Must See TV" in front of massive entertainment centers. These wall units had to be ginormous, because those tube TVs of yesteryear were enormous. Add a VCR and a stereo system (whatever that was), and you needed a hideously oversized wall unit.

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