Freshen Up Your 1990’s Home

This week we met with a new client who owns a home circa 1990’s. Like most clients embarking on improving their home, the couple started with a large wish list of things to update in the home. I find the typical 1990’s home has many characteristics that homeowners now, 10 – 18 years after the house was built, want to update.

  • Brass door hardware, plumbing fixtures, knobs and pulls
  • Small 4″x4″ tile countertops, typically in white – with grout lines impossible to keep clean
  • Olefin carpet that is matted, and doesn’t look fresh even after a professional carpet cleaner visits
  • Top mount sinks that’s edging has seen better days
  • Multiple flooring from room to room that makes the space seem smaller and less cohesive
  • Uninspired 3″ ish casement moulding used for baseboards, that is small and unoriginal. (It really doesn’t qualify as a baseboard folks if it is that small.)
  • Traditional wood stair spindles and banisters, that match no other architectural detail in the home
  • An overuse of recessed cans, and lighting that doesn’t fit the home’s architecture including misplaced chandeliers and dated Hollywood lights in the vanities
  • Built in cabinets and fireplaces, that don’t support a cohesive place for today’s flat screen televisions
  • Lack of space planning to accommodate today’s homeowner who frequently needs a home office

As a interior designer I am acutely focused on the architecture of my client’s home when I remodel or do what I call “cosmetic updates” to their Portland, Oregon homes. Architectural styles frequently tell a story of a period of time or a revival if you will. So, I admit I often wonder what the future holds in 30 years when we think of a 1990’s home. What are the characteristics that we will appreciate and want to duplicate when we restore these homes in the future? I have heard in the build and design community the opinion that the 1990’s home build holds no real architectural significance, but I think it might be too soon to tell. Here are some things I appreciate about this time period.

  • The 1990’s gave birth to many Great Rooms. The open floor plan concept we all still love today.
  • When you visit a friend’s home, do you crowd with friends around the kitchen island? If so, you are not alone. The kitchen island concept became mainstay in this time period. My parents built a home in Indiana in 1989. We had our first island with the stove in the center of the kitchen. That was fab! Well, we had blue laminate countertops too, and floral wallpaper in that kitchen. I admittedly still love wallpaper today.
  • The time period also started the master suite concept, with dual vanities and a separate area for the toilet. Yahoo! Sometimes you just want to be alone.
  • Don’t you just love being able to walk into your closet to select what to wear? This concept also caught hold and became a “must have” feature in future homes.

What do you think will be something we appreciate later from 1990’s homes?

Hey Mom! This blog got me thinking about those ducks you had at the front door and in the kitchen with blue aprons. What was that all about?


Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

Explore our Portfolio

Angela Todd Studios Oregon Coast