Our Love Affair With Diy Through The Ages….

January 29th 2014
By: Melanie

The term DIY (Do It Yourself), has been around since 1912, but really became common place in the UK in the 1950’s and 60’s.

New advances in technology at the time, coupled with the introduction of materials such as emulsion paint and hardboard, as well as the light-weight electrical drill meant that most householders could access the items needed to transform their homes.

During the 50’s and 60’s two main magazines emerged in the UK to support our love of DIY; the Do it Yourself and Practical Householder, the former enjoying a readership of over 3,750,000 per month, an outstanding achievement for any home improvement magazine.  

In the 1960’s contemporary buildings sprung up across the UK, in a movement to get away from the old, not so popular pre-war Victorian houses. It was the first time we had experienced architecture in the UK that had large open plan living areas, walls of glass and simple architectural lines. Homes were also decorated with bright colours, and iconic images such as Marilyn Monroe and comic strips were used in posters and across soft furnishings. David Hockney was part of this graphic movement, producing the well-known painting – ‘A Bigger Splash’. His choice of bold colours and simple design also influenced home design well into the 70’s.

The 70’s were a decade of fake materials – fake wooden paneled walls, brick walls, and wood chip wall paper coupled with simple graphic, brightly coloured flower prints used across our soft furnishings.  Dark woods were still very popular, as was shag pile carpet!

In the late 80’s we moved away from the previous era of bright, bold prints and instead found ourselves falling in love with pastel shades. Floral curtains were stripped out in favour of the Venetian and vertical blinds. It was a time when everything in our homes had to be colour co-ordinated, and black Formica furniture was a hit.  PVC windows, now known as PVCa windows started to replace wooden windows in our homes, as they were double-glazed and offered lower maintenance and better insulation properties than their predecessors.

In the 90’s we discovered our love for stenciling and paint effects to enhance our home’s decor, homeowners stripped back previously painted furniture, and pine was the home design buzz word of the time. Home design programmes such as Changing rooms, inspired us to change our home décor and classic Laura Ashley wall papers and prints were also very popular. Bottle greens, dark blues and yellows dominated the interior colour palette of our homes from the mid to late 90’s.   

In 1999 the home building programme Grand Designs was introduced to our screens and brought about a new era for home design, one which had been previously focused around small rooms and spaces throughout the 80’s and 90’s, moved into open plan living with gigantic floor to ceiling windows, clean lines, reminiscent of home design during the 60’s.

The noughties brought with it a love of new sleek technology, sharp lines and bright, light spaces. The Swedish home furnishings store Ikea, became well known in the UK, and with it our love for pre-packed, simple style furniture, and as long as you don’t mind having the same accessories and furniture as your friends, enabled us to buy new home items at a fraction of the cost than we would have paid previously.  Once again orange pine went out of fashion, and was covered up with lighter shades of paint.  

In the past few years interior design in our homes seems to have taken on a more eclectic style, offering for the first time a real broad choice in home design - from the 1920’s, with it’s floral prints and experimental crafts, Shabby Chic where furnishings and furniture are chosen for their appearance of ageing for wear and tear to the industrial look, full of metal lockers, flaking paint and the use of raw materials. The interior buzz words of the moment are upcycling and repurposing, and the trend for home crafts has been blossoming for several years, partly it seems because of our need to be more imaginative with our home interiors, and the need to produce them at a fraction of the cost than they would have cost pre-credit crunch era.  

Shades of greys and blues have remained popular over the past few years, as well as retro blues and splashes of red. 2014 is expected to be a year where our home interiors are influenced by turquoises, blues and 1930’s greens.

In the UK our home interiors are influenced by cat walk fashions, developments in technology, building materials, social issues and the desire to be creative and progressive, and it seems as a nation of home lovers we will never get bored of the concept of home fashion and home improvements.