RL Anniversary Special: 13 Years, 13 Home Trends

Celebrate 13 years of great home ideas with our roundup of 13 awesome home trends as seen in Real Living

Photography: Miguel Nacianceno and Paolo Feliciano (Main Photos)

Much like clothing, a furniture piece or accessory can immediately establish the era of your home. As the RL team leafed through Real Living’s issues from 2003 to 2016, each year showed specific trends that recurred in most of the homes and decorating stories we featured. Here, we also give you tips on how to update each style with a little tweak of material, form, or accessory. Happy Anniversary, Real Living!

2003-2004: Minimalist Modern

As a backlash to ornate classic interiors of nouveau-riche patrons and the warmness and ethnicity of Asian-tropical trends of the 1990s to early 2000s, designers went the opposite way with Zen interiors, clean-lined furniture, and an absence of color.

Work it now: Update this restrained look with minimal accents in bold, striking colors.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2005: Animal Skin

Just like fashion trends, animal prints came and went. Some patterns—such as zebra and cowhide—are here to stay. Add these to a neutral room for a rich and exotic touch.

Work it now: Animal prints and hides (real or faux) are here to stay. Use in moderation by way of an accent rug or animal hide pillow.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2006: Florals

Heavy, matronly interiors were eschewed by newlywed nesters, and replaced with furniture in a mix of delicate calicos and huge, hothouse floral prints.

Work it now: Flower power is still hot—if you’re brave enough, mix different floral patterns in similar color palettes.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2007: Neo-Baroque

A year before the big Recession, furniture designers came out with luxurious, modern interpretations of classical styles. They were over-the-top, but done in contemporary materials like plastic.

Work it now: The Bourgie lamp by Kartell—the ultimate Neo-baroque accessory back then—is practically a design classic now. Mix and match it with modern interiors.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2008: New Pretty

Young homeowners embodied 21st century glamour by decorating in a “New Pretty” style (as coined by Elle Decoration UK). Their rooms had a feminine look with heavily ornamented furniture, multiple color schemes, and damask in bold proportions.

Work it now: Temper the prettiness by mixing it with rough, industrial-style elements. Pair damask-upholstered chairs with rough-hewn wooden side tables, and contrast dainty brass furniture against brick walls.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2009: Taxidermy and Animal Heads

Classical revival styles in 2008 gave birth to this Victorian-themed trend. Stores like AC+632 decorated their windows with actual stuffed crows and foxes.  Decorate your home in a more attainable way with faux animals and antlers.

Work it now: A more ethical option to taxidermy is to use faux animal heads in plastic, paper, or metal. You can find pieces like these from Urban Abode and a11.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2010: Condo Cool

The big condo boom was just beginning and real estate developers’ model units spurred this trend: the Model Unit Look. A pristine, sleek and contemporary interior with nary a pillow out of place was the favored look of the day.

Work it now: Shake up the pristine look by adding personal items such as framed family photos, travel mementoes, and book collections. It’s okay to put such possessions out in the open. 

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2011: Mid-Century Modern

Mad Men—the TV show about an ad agency in the 60s—was all the rage. It spurred a renewed interest in mid-century designers like Charles Eames and everything that was post-war and modern.

Work it now: Mid-century modern is still (and possibly will always be) cool! Get your 1960s fix by shopping at stores like CWC Interiors or Space Encounters

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2012: Typography

With graphic design in the past, the image was the star. In 2012, daring, large-type fonts became the selling point of the design. This was immediately reflected in decorative accessories, where typography was used in posters and wallpaper patterns.

Work it now: Go easy with the huge typography posters. Limit it to one or two, or display your typo obsession by way of hand-carved wooden letters instead.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2013: Industrial

Hipsters eschewed designer items and went for banged-up, distressed, and upcycled furnishings with funky artwork. The piece de resistance in an industrial home was always a brick wall.

Work it now: If you think the typical brick wall has become cliché, try to add a weathered lime finish to distress it, or paint it white, black, or gray.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2014: Hip Scandinavian

Light-filled Scandinavian-modern interiors became the trend, but in 2014, it had an unexpected feminine edge: a touch of sweet, delicate style by way of delicate patterns and charming almond pastels. It was playful, but fresh approach to new interiors.

Work it now: Décor store Heima has a great selection of sweet pieces with a modern, Scandinavian touch. 

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2015: Global

With traveling and island hopping as the new hobbies to replace shopping for luxury goods, people were snapping up travel souvenirs as mementoes. Of course, the souvenirs all ended up in their homes!

Work it now: Go to lifestyle stores like L’Indochine, Seek the Uniq, and Duduk for their laidback, sun-kissed bohemian mix of prints, colors, and patterns on clothes and décor.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

2016: Neo-Country

The RL team noticed a growing trend in country-style interiors from late 2015 to early 2016. But this isn’t the musty country style of your granny: traditional pieces like Windsor chairs are jazzed up in Crayola brights and paired with modern sofas, while brass lamps are replaced by sculptural metal and wood lights.

Click here to see more photos and view the complete home tour.

To see more new trends, amazing homes, and exclusive features, grab a copy of the anniversary issue of Real Living—out now in bookstores and newsstands nationwide. You can also download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

PHOTOS: Miguel Nacianceno (Minimalist Modern, Condo Cool, and Industrial) | Vincent Coscolluela (Animal Skin) | At Maculangan (Florals) | Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (Neo-Baroque and New Pretty) | Paolo Feliciano (Taxidermy and Animal Heads, Typography, Hip Scandinavian, and Neo-Country) | Toto Labrador (Mid-Century Modern) | Dairy Darilag (Global). 

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