How the American Home has Changed Throughout the Decades
The American lifestyle has obviously gone through instrumental changes over the past seventy years, be it through social, political, or material reasons, and the American home truly represents this. It has been an ever-changing ideal throughout the decades with a constantly shifting focus on different trends and stylistic choices. This passage will break down the American home from the post-war boom to the lavish style of the 80s to the minimalist 2010s, detailing the differences between the decades and how we have found ourselves at this point.
The 1950s represented a time when the American home became this real tangible ideal. Soldiers had returned from the Pacific and European theatres to a victorious reception and a booming American economy. This was in complete contrast from the depression ridden the 30s, people had money in their pockets and all the fancy new household compliances to purchase; this economic freedom was represented by the American household. The 50s American home contained new gadgets like refrigerators, washing machines, and turntables. The American household truly represented the ideals of the American dream. The 50s home also used a bright color scheme, a real sign of the new hope that surrounded American life.
The 60’s American home has attained quite the iconic status, with the era being famed for its chic style; but what could you expect to find in the American household of the 60s. The cultural revolution not only brought new social ideas into people’s homes but saw an influx of new cultural and artistic ideals. The 60s home saw thick rugs, wooden padded walls, and many a ridiculous chair; think your bean bags and ball chairs, along with your lava lamp of course. The previously mentioned wooden walls were especially popular, I can guarantee you could walk into any home across America and find three rooms with wooden padded walls. The 60s home did not completely leave the ideas of the 50s behind, the color was still incredibly key with the ’60s incorporating many of the bright color schemes of the previous decade into their chic homes.
The American home of the ’70s actually took a lot of its influences from the Old World. It is quite a contrast from the homes of the last two decades in this list. Instead of focussing on color and vibrancy, the house of the 70s took a far more grandiose approach to it all. This included shorter curtains, chandeliers, and kitchen islands. The ’70s saw the cool kids of the 60’s purchase their own homes and their hip style is clearly shown by the homes of the time. Probably my favorite era for the American home.
If you could do me a favor and quickly close your eyes and picture the American home of the ’80s… Yes, that is precisely how it looked, it truly lived up to every stereotype of the time. Ugly decor swept into the household and the earliest forms of the gadgets we know today were first brought into the household. The ’80s was a real turning point in American history, and with the introduction of Reaganomics, America was once again under a cultural revolution. The blinds became long and floral once more, as the color began to take center stage in our homes again.
Many of our slightly older readers may view the 90’s like our last truly great decade as a country. What the ’90s can show us is a glimpse of the American household we now know today. Homes across the country experienced a real art craze, with paintings hanging off every spare piece of wall space, and who could really resist with Bob Ross on TV. Primary colors replaced the boldness of previous decades with yellow, red, and blue becoming our new go-to. Though far more minimalist than their 60’s predecessors the ’90s also saw a return of the wooden aesthetic; with pine finally reclaiming its rightful place in our households. For a little bonus, the ’90s also saw the introduction of the man cave, every middle-aged man’s dreams where they could be their sexist best in their basements.
We might be all too familiar with the house of the noughts, but it may be all too recent to truly appreciate the distinctive nature of the decade. If you remember feature walls became a massive part of our homes. Feature walls allowed homeowners to completely change the look or the aesthetic of a room without completely busting the bank. The feature wall would be a novel piece of wallpaper or some bright paint that really transformed the room. The wooden aesthetic continued to enter our houses as we seemed to have now completely fallen in love with the look be it furniture, chairs, or pad; we simply cannot get enough. What was clear was the stripped-back aesthetic designers had fallen in love with, with exposed brick walls becoming the new cool trend.
Well, we have finally made it, what has been the influence of this past decade on our homes. As a nation, we most certainly looked for quality, with a real rise in double glazed windows, just like those you could find at friendly windows. We certainly saw the rise of Ikea, as it managed to take a real grip on this nation. This Swedish minimalism transformed our homes, turning us all into the trendiest of household aficionados. Perhaps usurping our love for wood was the introduction of brass and other forms of metal into our homes. Giving us a luxurious feel it seems like brass lighting sneaked into everyone’s kitchens overnight. The 2010s saw a rise in what I like to call fast designing with us constantly purchasing new pieces to spruce up our homes.