Home decor in the 1990s – recreate a classic living room from then, updated for now

We've put a modern spin on this classic living room

In Ideal Home's centenary year, we've taken the opportunity to dip into our archive and rediscover the interiors of yesteryear. One decade we were keen to revisit was the 1990s.

The era's iconic fashion are hitting the catwalks once again – think Buffalo platform trainers, cargo pants and bucket hats. Plus reruns of Friends featuring Monica's glorious purple apartment are more popular than ever. So we couldn't help but wonder whether we'd see the same comeback in 1990s interior design.

The original 1990s interior

1990s interior magazine

(Image credit: TBC)

The yellow and blue pairing along with the dado border screams 1990, but it goes to show that a mix of printed cushions and a Persian rug continues to be a timeless design trip.

Key pieces for a 1990s look

Proof that blue never goes out of style, we've picked a deep denim shade for the sofa, with texture coming from the brushed linen rather than a 1990s jacquard weave.

We've mirrored the mix of textiles, with a fringed rug (fringing and tassels have really made a comeback in 2020) and patchwork cushion. However, though yellow is making a comeback as a front door colour, we've gone for a softer wall colour – Elephant's Breath by Farrow & Ball.

1. The sofa

navy blue sofa with white background

(Image credit: Loaf)

Buy now: Pudding sofa in Navy Blue brushed cotton, £1,825, Loaf 

2. The cup and saucer

cup and saucer with white background

(Image credit: Amara)

Chintz tea cups were so 1990s. Back then, oversized designs as served in Central Perk were huge. Now dainty is the order of the day, with more foliage and a cute lemur, giraffe or flamingo.

Buy now: Lemur cup and saucer, £23.50, Sara Miller at Amara

3. The coffee table

coffee table with white background

(Image credit: La Redoute)

Parquet and chevron was so then... and it's so now.

Buy now: Nottingham parquet coffee table, £195, La Redoute

4. The paint

white paint with white background

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

This greige tone has the warmth of yellow but is easier to live with.

Buy now: Elephant's Breath Estate emulsion, £47.95 for 2.5 litres, Farrow & Ball 

5. The rug

rug with white background

(Image credit: Cuckooland)

Lay down this rug – everyone will assume that it's been in the family for decades.

Buy now: Dutchbone Bid antique-style Persian rug in Old green, £279, Cuckooland

6. The lamp

table lamp with white background

(Image credit: Pooky)

While we might not be ready for the return of blue and yellow in combination, blue and green can most definitely be seen.

Buy now: Lolita table lamp in Emerald with 30cm straight Empire shade in marbled paper, £179, Pooky

Are you tempted to revisit 1990s interior design at home?

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.