The Most Iconic Home Trends of the 2010s
Some came and went (RIP, chevron), but others (like matte black) are here to stay. Take a walk down memory lane with our roundup of most memorable interior design trends of the past decade.
The 2010s are coming to a close, and what a decade it was for interior design. The past ten years brought us Chip and Joanna Gaines, Marie Kondo, and a huge array of decor trends that shaped the way we style our homes. Some were short-lived, but others, like the return of color in the kitchen, will continue to hold strong in the next decade. With help from interior designers and industry experts, we reminisced on the past decade to pinpoint the biggest fads from 2010 through 2019. Cue the nostalgia!
Bold Large-Scale Patterns
The 2010s were a big decade for bold patterns. "Many of us can probably look at our graphic print accessories, whether it be a chevron pillow or a Moroccan motif area rug, and think back to 2014," says Andrea Magno, director of color marketing and development at Benjamin Moore. Whether you embraced them or passed for solid colors, these high-energy, statement-making patterns were all the rage throughout the decade.
This iconic zigzag pattern was practically everywhere throughout the 2010s. The graphic stripe showed up on rugs, pillows, bedding, and even paint treatments. "I'm perhaps dating myself with this, but chevron was THE pattern of choice for college dorms in the early 2010s," says Caitlin Sole, home editor at BHG.com. "You couldn't go into a Bed Bath & Beyond without spotting towels, comforters, and curtains in the pattern." Chevron fabrics and accents often featured bold colors to add even more zing to the eye-catching pattern.
This gradual, color-changing treatment brought depth and dimension to furniture, walls, and home accessories. Accent wall paint treatments, dip-dyed fabrics, and spray-painted furniture projects were a few favorite ways to embrace the faded look, which made its way into the hair and beauty space, too.
Bold blooms and leafy prints saw huge growth in the last decade. "I think they're part of a larger trend—the return to popularity of wallpaper," says Sally Finder, senior design and lifestyle editor at Traditional Home. "People are becoming braver with their interior design, more confident in showing their personal style—and wallpaper is a great way to do that in setting a mood for a room." Homeowners and designers also began using floral wallpaper in bolder applications, such as on ceilings and in powder rooms. Elsewhere, the pattern appeared on throw pillows and upholstered furniture.
Hot Hues and Cool Neutrals
We saw home decor color trends come and go from year to year, but a handful of hues stuck around long enough to make a big impact on homes everywhere. These shades topped the list for the 2010s.
"The internet was abuzz about generational hues in the late 2010s," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. "From millennial pink to Gen-Z yellow, these colors supposedly defined generations." Both shades were adopted in big doses, including wall colors, sofas, and kitchen cabinets, as well as incorporated into homes via small accessories, like artwork and throws.
Coinciding with the rise of farmhouse style, the white-on-white look, including walls, trim, and decor, hit its peak in the past decade. "In terms of color, it's no secret that white-painted everything was everywhere during the 2010s," Wadden says. "These neutral colors provided a blank, cool slate for homeowners to decorate, and were heavily favored by design bloggers across the country." To keep the monochromatic look from becoming too boring, homeowners and designers relied on a variety of textures, finishes, and shades of white to amp up interest.
On the opposite end of the color spectrum, matte black also experienced a surge in popularity, especially toward the end of the decade as more and more retailers offered products in the soft finish. The trend encompasses the metal finish on kitchen appliances and hardware, as well as paint sheens used on walls, cabinetry, and furniture. "The super matte finish trend we’ve seen with chalk paint and other specialty paints was a to-die-for trend in the past decade," Wadden says. "Even on walls, homeowners took durability off the table in favor of soft touch."
A blend of gold, copper, and silver, rose gold emerged during the 2010s as a warm alternative metallic finish. The shade appeared primarily as small accents, including vases, table lamps, flatware, and even faucets. "It has been a refreshing option that harkens to classic copper pots and bespoke hardware—yet it came on with a clean, modern flair," says Jill Waage, editor-in-chief of Traditional Home. However, she predicts the rose gold fad won't last: "It isn’t something that will arc too far into the '20s."
A cool, modern neutral that pairs well with most colors, gray stole the hearts of homeowners and designers in a big way during this decade. "Gray showed up everywhere—faucets, fabric, and flooring—and in nearly every shade this past decade, kicking off with the beloved yellow, white, and gray chevron we all embraced," says Rachel Haugo, deputy editor at BHG.com. "Over the past two years, I've seen the pendulum swing; tan seems to be making a comeback."
Decor Styles Inspired by Past and Present
As people increasingly relied on social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram for design inspiration, certain home design styles went viral. After the Internet propelled aesthetics like modern farmhouse, midcentury-modern, and others into popularity, we began seeing them in homes, commercial spaces, and furniture and decor stores everywhere. Here are the styles that hit it big in the past decade.
Barn doors, farmhouse sinks, shiplap—so many iconic trends of the 2010s stemmed from the popular modern farmhouse aesthetic. "Chip and Joanna Gaines' Fixer Upper modern-farmhouse style defined this decade ... [and] introduced farmhouse styling to people everywhere—no matter if they lived on a farm or not," says Alessandra Wood, vice president of style at Modsy. "The style re-introduces us to cozy, warm spaces that are welcoming and inviting for friends and family, with notes of mid-century elements."
The finale episode of Mad Men aired in May 2015, and with that came a craze for Eames chairs, sofas with flared legs, and Sputnik chandeliers. "We saw the Mad Men obsession trickle into furniture designs in nearly every top retailer in some way," Wood says. "Whether through acorn finishes and tapered legs or iconic revivals, mid-century modern-styled design was everywhere."
Heavily influenced by designer Justina Blakeney, the boho-inspired jungle-meets-bungalow style exploded in popularity during the 2010s. This wild style was the bold, colorful antidote to more minimalistic modern designs of the same time period. Macrame wall hangings, tropical houseplants, rattan furniture, and bold botanical-print wallpapers feature heavily in these eclectic, energetic spaces.
Borrowing elements from old factories and converted urban lofts, industrial style went mainstream during the 2010s. Exposed brick, lofty ceilings, concrete floors, and bare lightbulbs marked these no-nonsense, masculine designs—but the overall effect was warm, not chilly. Heavy doses of raw, unfinished materials like wood and metal brought a sense of history and warmth to this utilitarian aesthetic.
Kitchens Packed with Personality
In the past ten years, homeowners and designers began to embrace the kitchen as a place to play with pattern, color, and finishes. These kitchen design trends dominated during the 2010s.
On light fixtures, hardware, faucets, and accents, brass shined in the 2010s. "Brass made a big comeback, but in sophisticated iterations that speak more to the 1920s than the 1980s with a great deal of sophistication and in living finishes like unlacquered brass," says Finder of Traditional Home. Burnished or bright and shiny, this warm metal finish brought a timeless touch to kitchen surfaces—and it's great for mixing. "People seem to be finding attractive ways to mix in a few warm metal elements while still keeping nickel and stainless steel as a base," says Brian Kramer, senior editor for Do It Yourself.
Decorative cement tile, whether on flooring or a backsplash, was a top choice for injecting personality into kitchens during the past decade. Durable and easy-to-clean, cement tiles offer practicality as well as bold color and pattern. "They are classic, modern, fresh, and lend an artistic, cultural motif to the layering of a home," says Waage of Traditional Home.
The 2010s saw the decline of the all-white kitchen. "Color in the kitchen began to take hold during the 2010s, and it’s here to stay," says Finder of Traditional Home. "It brings personality and life to a space that is more the heart of the home than ever before." Islands, ranges, and cabinetry were popular places for splashes of color, and this kitchen trend is likely to continue.
Decorating Trends of the 2010s: Honorable Mentions
While these interior design darlings didn't quite top our list, they're still worth noting. Here are some of our honorable mentions for trending designs in the 2010s.
- Gallery walls: "Gallery walls go in and out a lot but are still a great way to personalize a space," says Wendy Yates, creative director and founder of Abigail-Elise Design Studio. "While there is an evolution of selfies in the younger generations, teens will always want to post their photos on their walls, continuing to a future generation of women who want pictures of their family or travels."
- The Marie Kondo effect: "In 2010, we were trying to find the cutest baskets and building the smartest cabinets," says Kramer of Do It Yourself. "By 2019, everyone (and I mean everyone, even your grandfather) is talking about getting rid of all the stuff that doesn't spark joy. It's been a major shift—and one I think will stick around for a while."
- Juju hats: With origins as an African ceremonial headdress, these feathered hats saw a surge in popularity as mounted wall decor.
- Edison bulbs: Exposed lighting options exploded in the 2010s, coinciding with an overarching trend in industrial style.
- Cube storage units: You've likely seen them at IKEA. Or Target. Or Walmart. Cube shelving took off in the early 2010s and is an industry that hasn't stopped growing since.
- Smart home technology: Advances in technology for cameras, locks, lighting, and more made smart-home products more affordable than ever.
- Vintage revival: "Over the past decade, we've seen the handmade and vintage items making a resurgence," says Kate Lester of Los Angeles-based Kate Lester Interiors. "Vintage rugs, art, and accessories add interest, depth, and texture and immediately make a space feel more curated and interesting."
- She sheds: A term that peaked in 2018, she sheds were the answer to man caves: a place to get away from it all thanks to an outdoor garden shed turned oasis.
- Hygge: This Scandinavian trend is all about coziness—think candles, plush blankets, and plenty of me-time.
- Animal accents: "Animal motifs ran hot then cooled, one animal at a time," says Kramer of Do It Yourself. "Notable critters, aside from birds, include foxes, hedgehogs, cows, llamas. I think we're in a goat moment currently."