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Britain’s interior design crimes revealed!

Don’t try this at home! Toilet rugs, taxidermy and avocado-coloured bathrooms have been crowned the biggest furnishing fails of the past 50 years in a survey of home design disasters.

Other style slip-ups identified by the survey include floral ‘chintz’ furniture, waterbeds and Artex.

The research was commissioned by Samsung to mark the launch of its new QLED TV range featuring a unique Ambient Mode technology, which enables the TV to blend seamlessly into the home environment1, thereby eliminating at least one home décor headache – a large, ugly, blank screen.

Fluffy, bold colours and stuffed animals

We’ve seen debatable choices in a whole host of different things over the last 50 years: music, fashion and cuisine have all had their moments to make us retrospectively wince in embarrassment. 

But in the last five decades, our home interior design has arguably seen the biggest changes. What was once the chic, cool and cosmopolitan is now looked back upon as cringeworthy and cheesy.

A panel of design experts from publications including Wallpaper*, Ideal Home and House Beautiful created a shortlist of the worst interior design trends spanning a period of half a century, which was then put to a public vote of 2,000 UK adults to discover the ultimate home fashion faux pas.

The top 10 worst home horrors from the past 50 years

  1. Toilet rugs/furry toilet seat covers – 44%
  2. Taxidermy – 39%
  3. Avocado bathrooms – 32%
  4. Floral ‘chintz’ furniture – 28%
  5. Waterbeds – 25%
  6. Artex walls and ceilings – 25%
  7. Carpeted bathrooms – 25%
  8. Rag rolled walls – 23%
  9. Tribal carvings, masks and wall hangings – 23%
  10. Stone cladding – 19%

Other honourable mentions:

Anything animal print (19%); Inspirational quote art stencilled on the walls (19%); living room bars (19%); round beds (17%); shag pile carpets (14%); wicker furniture indoors (12%); TV cupboards (11%)

Daniel Hopwood, President of the British Institute of Interior Design, said: “I have lived through the 70s, 80s and 90s and seen interior design trends come and go and it’s fascinating how our tastes have evolved over time. Toilet rugs, rag rolled walls and TV cupboards should all be consigned to the dodgy décor history books.”

Grooving 70s ranked as the worst style decade

When it comes to interior design, some decades fared much better than other in terms of trends standing the test of time.

It may be famed for its great music, but 38% of participants voted the 1970s as the worst decade for dodgy décor – a period when design crimes included avocado-coloured bathrooms and flying duck wall displays.

Characterised by features such as toilet rugs and pink bathrooms, the 80s was voted the second least trendy (22%), with 19% of Brits taking issue with 1960s design trends that included psychedelic patterns, lace doilies and clashing colour schemes.

Simple, Scandi styles come out on top

As well as looking at the ungodly, unsightly and unattractive, Samsung’s survey posed the question of what is the greatest interior design trend over the last 50 years.

Open plan living was comfortably the winner, with two-thirds of participants ranking it in their top five. Invisible technology was named amongst the best loved interior design trends in recent years, alongside open rustic styling and chic Scandinavian furnishings.

The top five best interior design trends

  1. Open plan living (66%)
  2. Rustic furnishings e.g. distressed wood, bare floors (49%)
  3. Scandinavian/mid-century style furnishings (48%)
  4. Invisible technology (37%)
  5. Heritage paint and wallpaper (36%)

Our love affair with DIY

Samsung’s research also revealed almost half of Brits (47%) have redecorated in the past year, while a quarter of Brits redecorate parts of their home annually. When it comes to the key motivation for redecorating, more than half (55%) cited boredom with current look, and one in ten said to impress their guests.


About the Samsung QLED TV

The new QLED TV from Samsung signposts a revolution in TV design that matches our increasingly sophisticated interior design tastes – it can blend in with the décor of the home or display imagery when not in use1, effectively banishing the ugly black screens which have dominated our living rooms for so long.


Ambient Mode on Samsung QLED TVs redefines what it means for a TV to be “off” with new technology that transforms the TV into a beautifully functional screen which provides a multitude of information including news, weather and traffic, and which can also play music or completely blend into the wall behind it.