Skip to main content

70 years of living rooms in 90 seconds (plus, the retro trends you should adopt)

IKEA has been a household name in furniture for over 70 years, furnishing homes of both college students and well-established adults. To pay homage to this home store that’s supplied many generations with lovely pieces, created a digital render of eight example living rooms across the decades, highlighting how much design trends have changed, but also where they’ve stayed the same.

The 70 Year Evolution of the IKEA Living Room

In light of this video, we’ve found some of the ways design has influenced our decisions today, and how retro elements of the past are reemerging today.

modern living room with neutral colors and retro elements
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How have the trends changed over the years

We took a look at the IKEA living room digital renders from each decade, starting in the 1950s up to today, to discover how interior design has transformed and refined itself to the styles we are currently obsessed with.

Recommended Videos

Cutting out the excess

One of the key differences we noticed from decades past compared to today is a new shift to cut out the excess. Though maximalism is a recently growing trend, many designers have largely eliminated the mish-mash of patterns, material, and visual clutter from today’s living room. The 2020s are all about having a “less is more” approach, getting rid of anything unnecessary. Styles from the ’50s, ’80s, and ’90s can appear gaudy and cluttered alongside today’s more minimalistic approach to interior design. Of course, a curated approach to these trends can be a refreshing design element.

Streamlining color palettes

Many modern-day interior designers are streamlining their color palettes, focusing on a few bold, eye-catching colors instead of a rainbow of muted hues. A quick look at the IKEA living room design renders of the ’50s, ’70s, ’80s, and ‘2000s will display a completely different image than today’s more subtle and neutral use of color. In the 2020s, people are opting for a minimal approach to color that is more earthy, paying homage to the palette that already exists in nature.

A change in prices

In past decades, a living room couch could cost well over one thousand dollars. Today, a sophisticated couch like IKEA’s SÖDERHAMN is half the price! IKEA is well-known for its affordable furniture, but this wasn’t always the case. Because of recent technological developments and globalization, prices are far less costly than now than they have ever been before. According to the video, an IKEA living room costs $1,112.95 today, which is down from a peak of $2,806.45.

Addressing sustainability

The urgency of climate change has popularized sustainable design, a category that hasn’t been top of mind for many consumers until recently. Therefore, a new push for sustainable materials has entered the home design community, making this one of the first decades to implement ethical practices as a principle of design. Though IKEA is known for being the furniture equivalent of fast fashion, the company has made a serious commitment to using sustainably sourced materials for its designs.

1960's inspired living room with blue couch and yellow walls
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What retro trends are reemerging?

As the old adage says, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Regardless of all the changes in style over the past 70 years, some trends have stood the test of time.

Multi-shelved coffee tables

Multi-use products are always a must, regardless of the decade, so shelved coffee tables aren’t going anywhere. This feature allows people to maximize the space available, using one piece for both storage and decor, all while retaining a minimalist design scheme.

Geometric patterns

Geometric patterns were a staple of 60s home decor. While the trend faded out in favor of minimalist or soft, rustic aesthetics, strong patterns are once again adorning homes across the nation. While modern decor doesn’t go overboard with the use of circles or other geometric patterns, there has been a strong and steady reemergence in the 2020s. A gentle geometric rug on the floor pays homage to the ’60s design, but including a black and white or neutral two-toned pattern places this decoration firmly in the 21st century.

Raised furniture

Raised furniture (furniture on legs) was a key component of mid-century modern decor. This style is a fan favorite, regardless of the decade, because it allows for more visible floor space which makes the entire room appear larger.

IKEA’s evolution over the past few decades has allowed us to examine how style has changed, but also how we can integrate the best parts of vintage styles into modern schemes. While there are plenty of new elements unique to the current decade like sustainable furniture, streamlined color palettes, and subtlety in decor, plenty of trends have re-emerged to create a fresh take on more dated perspectives. So as you explore your options for home decor this season, keep these trendy and classic styles in mind.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
Christmas tree lights set the tone for your decor (what you should pick and why)
Tips for choosing the right Christmas tree lights for your home's holiday decor
lit christmas tree with presents under it next to a fireplace

The Christmas season is upon us, and with it, all of the fun that comes with getting your home all decked out for the holiday season. While you may love pulling out your heirloom nutcrackers or festooning your fireplace mantel with garland, bows, and stockings, the main holiday focal piece of most homes is certainly the Christmas tree.

Beautifully decorated with shiny glass balls and ornaments that have been passed down through generations, your Christmas tree can be a personal way to celebrate the season. Regardless of how gorgeous your tree is, or how impressive your collection of ornaments is, nothing has a bigger impact on the look of your tree than your lights. Here's how to choose the right ones.

Read more
What a hardwood contractor says your wood flooring says about you
According to a hardwood contractor, the species, stain, and cut of your wood floors can say a lot about you
bleached light wood flooring in an entryway

The home is a canvas for your personality, and your interiors should reflect your personal aesthetics. A professional hardwood contractor on TikTok, @lumberjackwoodsupply, says your wood flooring may reveal more about you than you might have thought. Here is what the species, color, and style of your wood flooring say about you (though, of course, some of these are a bit tongue-in-cheek).
What your wood flooring species says about you
If you have lighter, slim, natural pine floors, this TikToker says you likely fall into one of two categories. “You definitely have an appreciation for old things,” says @lumberjackwoodsupply. Alternatively, “you most likely own an old house that had these floors underneath.”
Walnut flooring
Walnut flooring is classy, elegant, and often sold at a steeper price. The hardwood contractor says homeowners with walnut flooring “have taste.”
Red oak
“There’s a good chance you didn’t choose to install this. It was just already in your house,” says this TikToker. But if you did choose to install red oak flooring, “you are either on a budget or you like to go against the status quo.”
Brazilian Cherry
“You probably live in an upscale but slightly outdated suburban home,” says the hardwood contractor. “There’s a good chance you hate the red.”
If you favor the sleek light wood tones of maple flooring to curate an airy and uplifting aesthetic, “You either live on the beach, or you want to look like you live on the beach,” says this TikToker.
Hickory flooring is well-known for its boldness. It’s a unique wood with a quirky grain and various hues. If you have hickory flooring, “you like unique things,” says the hardwood contractor. “You want to be different.”

Read more
Want a luxe living room or bedroom? Upgrade your TV wall with an IKEA fave and this easy DIY project
Use this IKEA TV stand idea from TikTok to upgrade your entertainment center
Luxury beige wall living room, modern flat television on brown wood panel wall, gray leather sofa, mid century style shelf in sunlight from window white sheer curtain for interior design background 3D


There are several living room trends that aim to add a luxe touch to our interiors, especially when it comes to dressing up the TV and TV stand. TVs can be a bit of an eyesore in the home, especially in modern designs that beg for more simplicity and elegance. While there are several fantastic trends like the picture frame TV or the classic built-in consoles that hide the TV behind a cabinet door, this idea from TikTok helps dress up the space without draining your wallet.

Read more