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There’s a noticeable generation gap between Baby Boomers and the generation that came after, especially in their home design and décor choices. Let’s take a look at some memorable design trends that were once popular among Baby Boomers but may not appeal to the Millennials.

Patterned Wallpaper

flowery wallpaper interior white furniture
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Wallpaper’s popularity has seen its fair share of ups and downs, mirroring changing design trends. Many wallpaper patterns from the baby boom era were notably bold and versatile, finding their way into every room in the house. From animal prints to floral and fruit designs, they decorated everything from kitchen walls to bathroom interiors. While wallpaper is making a comeback, the styles have certainly evolved over time.

Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn Ceiling
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Popcorn ceilings were a common choice in older homes to conceal ceiling plaster or drywall flaws. However, they can be a headache to paint and tend to accumulate dust in their textured surface. Many boomer homes still feature popcorn ceilings, which are now seen as outdated.


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Baby boomers often used doilies – those small crocheted furniture protectors. They were often round, made of paper or fabric, and available in a variety of colors. Doilies were meant to protect their favorite end tables and other wood furniture. Today, they are considered a relic of the past; primarily, boomers still use them.

Carpeted Bathroom

house carpet with dog
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Carpets in the bathroom were a popular design choice for boomers. While carpets are comfortable to step on, they can lead to issues like mold, mildew, and bacterial growth due to the room’s high moisture levels. They can also develop unpleasant odors since they frequently get wet, making them an impractical choice for a space where personal hygiene is a priority.

Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

A carpeted floor covering and a closed door
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Wall-to-wall carpeting used to be a celebrated feature for many boomer homes. It has now become a drawback for most homebuyers. Carpets tend to trap stains and odors despite diligent cleaning.

Leather Couches and Recliners

Classic Brown leather armchair in library
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Boomer homes often feature oversized leather couches and recliners. However, millennials tend to gravitate toward more sustainable and streamlined furniture options.

Window Valances

window valence in kitchen
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Valances, mini curtains added on top of regular curtains, were popular among boomers. However, valances can often appear outdated in modern design. Nowadays, design trends tend to lean towards a cleaner and more streamlined look.

Shag Carpets

shag carpet with cat
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Baby boomers had an affinity for shag carpets, and at one point, they were considered a form of luxury. The shaggy variety was highly popular during that time.

Wood Paneling

Library in luxury home with cherry wood paneling
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Wood paneling is a clear symbol of the Boomer generation. It was once a popular choice for dens and basements, and now it serves as a nostalgic reminder of an era when this look represented comfort and style.

Fake Fruits

Assorted pile of different colorful fake fruits and vegetables
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Baby boomers often place bowls of fake fruits on their dining room or kitchen counters. It was just the thing to do and a form of decor in their home. While these imitation fruits can still be found in some stores, they may cater to the tastes of the older generation.

Glass Door Display Cabinets

Old fashioned wooden cabinets with white and cobalt blue china in kitchen interior.
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One unmistakable feature of a boomer home is the presence of cabinets with glass doors proudly showcasing their figurines and fine china.

Vertical Blinds

modern sitting room with designer sofa and coffee table
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Vertical blinds, once a common choice for window coverings, are now viewed differently by millennials, who find them less appealing due to their outdated appearance.

Are popcorn ceilings making a comeback?

Popcorn ceilings are not making a comeback. In fact they are quite outdated.

Popcorn ceilings, also known as acoustic ceilings, were popular in the mid-20th century for their sound-dampening qualities and ability to conceal imperfections. However, they fell out of favor because of their outdated look and the challenges involved in repairing or removing them.

Modern design preferences now tend toward clean, minimalist styles, favoring smooth or subtly textured ceilings over popcorn ceilings. Homeowners and designers often choose smooth, flat ceilings or subtle textures to achieve a more contemporary appearance.

Concerns about asbestos have also played a role in the decline of popcorn ceilings. Many older homes constructed before the 1980s may contain asbestos in their popcorn ceiling material, posing health risks if disturbed during renovation or removal. This has led to increased awareness and a preference for safer alternatives.

Are doilies outdated? 

Doilies, once popular as decorative accents in a boomer living room for protecting surfaces and adding elegance, have become less common in modern interior design. Their intricate patterns may clash with the cleaner, minimalist aesthetics favored today. Additionally, their association with traditional or vintage styles contributes to their perception as outdated. However, design trends are subjective, and some may still appreciate their nostalgic charm. Ultimately, their relevance depends on personal preferences and the desired style of a space.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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