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The Evolution of Popular Home Decor Colors Over 100 Years

You know how you can walk into a house and know when it was built or renovated based on the colors and design elements you see? When you see an avocado green kitchen, it's most likely from the 1960s or 70s. A house with various shades of greige donning the walls? Probably painted after 2010. Color combos will also take you back to specific decades — like black and gold in the 1920s and hunter green and burgundy or teal and salmon in the 1980s.

1970s Avocado Green and Harvest Gold Kitchen

There are also some colors that seem to stand the test of time. A light or medium pink and a medium-dark green ranked in the top 10 every decade over the last 100 years. Does that surprise you? Let's go back in time and look at how else home decor color palettes have evolved over the last 100 years.

top home decor colors by decade infographic

Top Home Decor Colors By Decade


The "Roaring Twenties" was heavily influenced by the Art Deco Movement, which had a major impact on interior design of the time. Jewel tones like jade green, Egyptian blue, deep ruby red/burgundy were very popular during this time. On the other end of the spectrum, pastel shades like peach, rose, seafoam green, and lavender adorned walls, furnishings and textiles.

top home decor colors in the 1920s

Cream/beige was a popular choice for the walls to offset the brighter, more vivid accents of the 1920s palette. Mustard yellow was often found in kitchens and casual living spaces for a warm and inviting feel and salmon was frequently used in textiles and wall treatments. Finally, metallic tones like gold, chrome, and silver were synonymous with this era, especially when paired with black. The decade was marked by optimism and a break from traditions, and its lively and diverse color palette truly represented the spirit of the era.


The 1930s marked a significant transition in design and color tastes, influenced by both the hardships of the Great Depression and the emerging styles of the era. The earlier vibrancy of the 1920s became more subdued with soft pastels like pink, powder blue and mint green, and neutrals like taupe, evolving to fit the realities and sensibilities of the 1930s.

top home decor colors in the 1930s

Greens like soft sage and deep forest green remained popular and were often used in kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas. Peach and apricot hues brought a warm touch of coziness to living rooms and bedrooms. Warm yellows provided a cheerful touch against the backdrop of the somber mood of the decade. And deep blue was an influence of the Streamline Moderne design style, embodying the forward-looking futuristic aestetic of the 1930s.

The 1930s were a blend of looking back with appreciation and looking forward with hope. The colors of the era reflected this duality, with both nostalgic, comforting shades and innovative, modern hues finding their place in the homes of the time.


The 1940s was a decade marked by significant global events, notably World War II, which influenced many aspects of daily life, including home design and decor. As the war concluded and economies began to rebuild, optimism grew and influenced color choices in the latter part of the decade. As people started renovating and redecorating their homes, they sought comfort, stability, and a touch of modernism, which the popular colors of the 1940s reflected.

top home decor colors in the 1940s

During WWII, patriotic colors like navy blue, red, and white gained popularity as a way to show support and boost morale. These colors adorned everything from kitchenware to textiles. More rustic shades of red, white and blue were also popular as part of the Colonial Revival trend. Post-war optimism ushered in softer hues like soft pink, mint green, baby blue, and butter yellow were popular, especially in kitchens and bathrooms. Deep woodsy colors like forest green, deep red, and rich brown colors were also favored, often used in living rooms and bedrooms. And finally, not reflected in the top 10, bright accents in turquoise, cherry red, or sunny yellow were often added for a pop of cheerfulness.


The 1950s was a dynamic decade marked by post-war recovery, economic prosperity in many parts of the world, and rapid suburban development, especially in the United States. The mood was optimistic, and this optimism was reflected in home designs and color palettes. While many of the colors were bright and cheerful, there was a balance with more subdued, sophisticated hues. The decade's palette reflected the era's enthusiasm, progress, and the rapid changes in technology and society.

top home decor colors in the 1950s

The 1950s loved pastels. Soft pinks, mint greens, baby blues, and pale yellows were prevalent, especially in kitchens, bathrooms, and children's rooms. Think of the iconic pink bathrooms of the 1950s! Shades of blue-green like turquoise and aqua were extremely popular and were commonly used in kitchen appliances, tiles, and other decor. The color combo of chartreuse and pink became iconic of the decade, bringing together a vibrant green-yellow with soft pink for a distinctly '50s look.

Inspired by the Space Age and atomic designs, bright, bold colors like red, orange, black, and olive green were used, especially in fabrics and wallpapers with atomic or starburst patterns. In contrast to the brighter shades, earthy colors like brown, beige, and avocado green also had their place, especially in living rooms and dens. As the Mid-Century Modern design movement gained traction, neutral colors like grays and beiges, paired with woods and other natural materials, became more prevalent.


The 1960s was a decade marked by social, cultural, and political upheavals. This period of change and expression was vividly reflected in the interior design and color palettes of the time. Perhaps one of the most iconic colors of the 1960s, avocado green was found on appliances, bathroom fixtures, carpets, and walls. Harvest gold was another dominant shade, particularly in kitchens. And while avocado green was the star, other shades of green, particularly olive and moss, also found their way into 1960s homes.

top home decor colors in the 1960s

Chocolate Brown and Orange became emblematic of the later 1960s and early 1970s, offering a contrast between deep brown and vibrant orange. Blue-green shades, reminiscent of the 1950s, still had a place in the 1960s, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. And taking cues from the psychedelic movement, the Summer of Love and the Pop Art movement, neon and fluorescent colors like bright yellows, pinks, and purples became fashionable, particularly in younger people's spaces.

Patterns, too, played a significant role in the 1960s decor. Geometric patterns, mod and abstract designs, and psychedelic swirls complemented these colors, creating dynamic and expressive living spaces. The 1960s color palette was an eclectic mix, with homeowners embracing everything from earthy, organic tones to the brightest and boldest shades of the color spectrum.


The 1970s was a decade characterized by continued evolution in design, moving from the psychedelic and mod influences of the 1960s to earthier, more natural tones and textures.

top home decor colors in the 1970s

Earthy browns, tans, and oranges, often with a more muted or burnt tone that started gaining popularity in the 60s, became widely popular in the 1970s. Also carrying over from the 1960s, avocado green and harvest gold remained a popular choice, especially in kitchens, bathrooms and appliances.

Various shades of brown, from light tan to deep chocolate, were extensively used in living rooms, bedrooms, and wallpapers. While avocado had its place, deeper olive greens were also prevalent, reinforcing the earthy palette of the era. Deeper purples like plum were not as widespread as the other colors, but were used to add a touch of richness and depth. Teal and Turquoise from the past two decades took on more muted forms and were often combined with brown or gold. Finally, the trend of using dark woods, such as walnut, was significant in the 1970s, complementing the popular colors of the time.

Patterns of the 1970s included geometric designs, large floral prints, paisley, and more abstract and organic shapes. Wood paneling, shag carpets in bold colors, and the incorporation of macramé and other handcrafted items also played into the color story of the decade. Overall, the 1970s palette was cozier and more grounded, with a mix of the organic and the nostalgic, reflecting both the cultural shifts of the time and a reaction to the brighter, more vibrant tones of the previous decade.


The 1980s brought about a mix of styles and colors, with influences from pop culture, technological advancements, and global design trends. The color palette of the '80s often leaned towards brighter, more vibrant colors, as well as pastels, departing from the earthy tones that dominated the 1970s. Soft hues became very popular, especially in shades of mauve, pink, blue, peach, and mint green.

top home decor colors in the 1980s

There are several color combos that became staples of 1980s design. Think Miami Vice aesthetics or the "Southwestern" color scheme that often paired pastel blue and peach. Hunter Green saw a resurgence in the '80s and was often paired with burgundy or rust colors. Teal and Salmon, when paired together became staples of 1980s design. Bright, bold primary colors (red, blue, yellow) in a block pattern or in geometric designs became popular, influenced in part by the Memphis design movement. And finally contrasting colors like black and hot pink have the 1980s written all over them.

Speaking of hot pink, neon colors like hot pink, electric blue, and lime green became popular, though more as accents rather than primary colors in home decor. The design ethos often leaned towards maximalism, with rooms filled with pattern-on-pattern designs, and contrasting textures and colors. Overall, the 1980s was a decade of experimentation and bold statements in home decor, with a blend of traditional and modern styles and a color palette that ranged from soft pastels to neon brights.


The 1990s was a decade of diverse styles and influences in interior design. Continuing on from the '80s, hunter green was very popular in the '90s, often coupled with burgundy and wine colors in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Pastels also carried over from the 1980s, like mauve, which was everywhere in the early to mid-'90s, and mint green and sky blue were popular, especially in more informal and relaxed spaces.

top home decor colors in the 1990s

Soft, muted blues, often with a country or rustic vibe, were commonly used in kitchens and living areas. In its brighter and more muted forms, teal made its presence felt in many 1990s homes. Influenced by the American Southwest, colors like turquoise, terracotta, and earthy browns and reds became popular. Alongside hunter green, forest-themed rooms would often use deep browns, golds, and rich reds, evoking a woodsy, nature-inspired vibe.

Many of the color choices of the 1990s were influenced by popular culture, technological advancements, and global design movements of the time. As with all trends, some of these colors and styles made reappearances or influenced later trends, while others remain characteristic of the 1990s aesthetic.


The early 2000s saw a mix of colors, influenced by the lingering aesthetics from the late '90s and the emerging trends of the new millennium.

top home decor colors in the 2000s

Neutral beige, often referred to as "builder's beige," and taupe were quite popular during this time. It was a go-to color for many interiors, especially in new construction homes. The Tuscan color palette, inspired by the Italian countryside, was prevalent in the early 2000s. This included colors like deep red, olive green, terracotta, and warm beige.

Green and deep red pairings continued into the 2000s, but there was a shift from hunter green to a more muted sage green. Soft, pastel blue shades were popular, especially in bathrooms and bedrooms. Soft purples like lavender and lilac were often used in bedrooms and other relaxation spaces, adding a touch of femininity. Rich, dark brown became a staple for furniture, but it also found its way onto walls, often as an accent wall color.

Speaking of accent walls, this trend took off in the early 2000s. It was common to see one brightly colored or deeply saturated wall in contrast to the other neutral-colored walls in a room.


The 2010s saw a shift towards more minimalist, nature-inspired, and Scandinavian-influenced aesthetics in home design. Gray became the new neutral, replacing the beiges of the previous decade. From light heather grays to dark charcoal, gray was a staple in many interiors. Greige, a combination of gray and beige, offered the best of both worlds, blending the modern appeal of gray with the warmth of beige. Earthy tones like clay, terracotta, and sand became popular thanks to a growing emphasis on biophilic design and bringing nature indoors.

top home decor colors in the 2010s

Millennial Pink, a soft, muted pink became a cultural phenomenon and found its way into home interiors, from walls to furniture and decor. Often referred to as the "new black," deep blues became popular for cabinets, accent walls, and furniture. Rich, saturated jewel tones like emerald green and sapphire blue became popular choices for those wanting to make a bold statement.

The warm and golden hue, mustard yellow was commonly used in accents like throw pillows, rugs, and statement walls. Pantone's "Living Coral" which was named the Color of the Year in 2019, was bright and vibrant and often used in more playful and energetic spaces. Towards the latter part of the decade, deep green shades like forest green gained traction, often seen in lush velvety furniture or moody interior settings. Matte black also emerged towards the end of the decade as a favorite for fixtures, hardware, and even accent walls or furniture, adding a sleek, modern touch.

Throughout the 2010s, there was also an increased emphasis on personalization and creating spaces that reflect individual tastes rather than strictly adhering to trends. Sustainability, eco-friendliness, and wellness also became focal themes, influencing color choices and materials in home design.


And that brings us to the 2020s, where the trends continue to evolve. Earthy colors, such as terracotta, burnt orange, warm browns, and deep greens, continue to rise in popularity. They evoke a sense of nature and grounding, reflecting a move towards wellness and organic living.

top home decor colors in the 2020s

In line with biophilic design, which integrates nature and natural elements into interiors, colors that mimic the natural environment, such as stone grays, sky blues, and soft greens from sage to mint to muted olive, have gained traction. While gray has been popular since the 2010s, the trend continued into the 2020s but often shifted towards warmer, more comforting hues. Similarly, instead of stark white, homeowners have leaned towards off-whites, creams, and warm whites, which give a softer, cozier feeling.

While neutrals and nature-inspired colors dominate, some have chosen to make bold statements with monochromatic rooms and dark and moody interiors with colors like cobalt or navy blue, emerald green, black or charcoal gray.

So there you have it — the top 10 home decor colors for the last 100 years. Which decade do you resonate most with?

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