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Inside Story: Charting 70 years of interior design




“Although so many advancements have been made, we really have gone full circle. . .” As we mark Her Majesty’s 70th year on the throne, Georgina Robertson, founder of Cambridge’s COCO Interior Design, charts the design trends which have variously come, gone and proved timeless during her reign

Interior design trends have come full circle within the Queen's reign (56475729)
Interior design trends have come full circle within the Queen's reign (56475729)

It’s been 70 years since the Queen had her Coronation and as we approach the celebration of this momentous achievement for the Crown and our country, we must reflect on the evolution of our world during her reign.

Nearly all industries have changed in the past seven decades – interior design being one of them. But what has changed since the Queen took the throne in 1952 and what do we still adopt as the art and science of enhancing the insides of buildings and – more importantly – our homes?

The pursuit to create aesthetically pleasing and practical internal spaces remains unchanged. However, the style of each period throughout the decades has dramatically impacted the style that we adopt today.

The advancements in technology and household objects have developed and new materials and techniques have been discovered which has bolstered the evolution of interior design.

Resurgence of interior design

When the Queen took to the throne in the 1950s, interior design saw a distinct resurgence as consumerism transformed markets. Scandinavian influences started to influence design trends and furniture which became a ‘must-have’ style of the period for the wealthy.

Fast forward to the 1960s when ‘groovy interiors’ were the trend – with entertaining and open-plan living essential to the period - followed by a lot of vibrant design, use of colour, and pattern taking hold of the 1970s.

The 1980s brought radical change to many and, as a result, the expression of voice was displayed through design. In the 80s, Modernism, Feng Shui, and Country influences were key.

In the 1990s we really started to see the introduction of DIY interior programmes, the use of bright colours, new techniques, and off-the-wall ideas. Most of the interior design was dominated by damask prints and beige tones. There was a mix-and-match trend with an eclectic mix of colours, patterns, styles, and cultures.

Interior design trends have come full circle within the Queen's reign (56475730)
Interior design trends have come full circle within the Queen's reign (56475730)

Modern design influences

In modern design, we can see many of these styles and trends heavily referenced and utilised to emulate society today. We have continued to adopt and integrate new technologies, products, and appliances into our homes through consumerism while also becoming more sustainable and thoughtful about our waste and the impact of our homes on the environment.

It's safe to say that the access that designers – and interior lovers – have to new influences, inspiration, textures, materials, and objects in the 21st century has allowed for the creative licence to make design trends from previous eras come to life.

By embracing innovative thinking, design has transformed the modern world as it is today. We still see the mix of old and new, and open plan living in many homes, but this has now been combined with the understanding of creating beautiful, practical living to enhance our lives and the way we live now.

As the Queen celebrates her 70th anniversary in service, we can look back over the decades of design to find that, although so many advancements have been made, we really have gone full circle with design trends, as the adoption of Scandinavian style once again captures the hearts of interior designers.

Meet the Designer

Georgina Robertson is an experienced designer and founder of COCO Interior Design. Her grandma was a seamstress and, inspired by fabrics, colour and the concept of design creation from a young age, Georgina worked extensively with furnishing fabrics growing up, learning bespoke curtain making and design. With an extensive career in marketing, Georgina decided to pursue her passion and talent for interior design into creating sophisticated, luxury interiors - and so COCO Interior Design was born. See cocointeriordesign.co.uk for more.


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