Ireland in the 90s: 9 Interior Details You Might Remember

When we think about Irish homes during the 1990s, there is a very particular aesthetic that comes to mind, filled to the brim with details collectively gathered from the decades that preceded the very one we’re now examining. Wallpaper from the 70s, coloured bathtubs from the 50s, frill-filled bedroom décor and tabletop doilies from the 80s and a love of florals that seemed to come from nowhere in particular, were just some of the fashionable details of the day. These interior styles seemed to move in the complete opposite direction of the fashion that permeated clothing. How amazing would it have been to see Ireland overcome with a love of grunge-inspired interiors! 

But, I’m afraid we’ll have to accept our past misdeeds and have a look at the reality of what was…



1: Potpourri

An initially overpowering air fresher that soon became an almighty dust collector, potpourri held strong through the decades of the latter half of the 20th century, finding its way onto the hall tables and mantelpieces of many an Irish home in the early 90s. Just don’t forget the crystal bowl it was usually stored in, set atop a crocheted doily. Like summer in a bowl…

Photo credit:



2: Busy, Bold & Bright Wallpaper

It was hard to choose just one image to convey this 90’s trend. Statement floral or pattern overloaded wallpaper – again, likely a leftover from the 70s and 80s – could be found in at least one room of the house, often a bedroom or even the kitchen.

Photo credit:Hildemihosverden

3: The Quintessential Glass Cabinet

The glass cabinet was an essential showpiece for the living or dining room, filled to the brim with wedding china, decorative dishes, holiday trinkets or porcelain figurines in various sizes. The one pictured below is actually a little too minimalist. Truth be told (if memory serves correctly), it was more along the lines of sliding doors, gold inlay design, brass legs and glass shelving.

Photo credit:

4: Sponge/Rag Painted Walls

Oh dear. Not only did this look take forever to complete on a wall, it was often done in the most unattractive colours. We’ve seen this technique completed with a modern approach – in startling blues or subtle greys – and it looks stunning. But somehow it was often beige, overpowering pink or a shade of orange that took prominence back in the day. Lovely.

Photo credits:


5: The Coloured Bathroom

Pink, green and blue. Walk into a multitude of Irish 90’s bathrooms and you would find the sink, bath and toilet completed in these pastel shades – all in the same colour of course – with lookalike tiles. Coupled with the matching fluffy bath mat and toilet cover (why on earth was that a thing?) and your fabulous water closet was complete to 90’s perfection.

Photo credit:


6: Wallpaper Borders (Often of the Floral Variety)

Forget wall borders set on the line between wall and ceiling; it was all about the centre border, with the wall finished with two colours, top and bottom. An alternative to this was the wooden border, but let’s not go there.

Photo credits:

7: Fabulously Fussy, Frilly Bedding

Valance sheets, frilled pillow edging and ruffled bedspreads galore. The only thing that doubled the impact was if the curtains were equally intricate – window jabots, tasseled draws and sheer window coverings were only some of the features to consider.

Photo credit:


8: Textured Ceilings: Stippling & Swirls

What turned out to be the bane of people’s interior life once they wished to get rid of it, stippled ceilings were once a very fashionable choice. Not only time-consuming, difficult to complete (and equally so to get rid of) and a pain to re-paint, these textured finishes were all the rage and still can be found in a select few houses – mainly because people don’t have the heart to get rid of them.



9: Sofa Throw Rugs, Wall Hangings & Miscellaneous Upholstery

Fabric. Fabric everywhere. Whether that meant a large scale wall hanging above the bed, armrest covers or a woven scene of a thousand colours draped over the back of the couch, everything was covered. Although, perhaps it was because of a lack of central heating that we needed insulation everywhere…

Yes, that might be it. Maybe we can’t blame taste or fashion for this one.

Photo credit: