06 May 2016

DIY through the decades

Home improvements expert Julia Kendell, the designer on television’s DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover, talks to us about DIY through the decades from its humble beginnings in the 1950's to the frills and bows of the 1980's and more.

60 years of DIY with Julia Kendell

Play video - 60 Years of DIY with Julia Kendell60 Years of DIY sign

DIY as we know it first arrived in the UK in the 1950’s, as brits sought to brighten up their homes and bring an end to post-war gloom. Since then people have flocked to one stop for all their home improvement needs.

Nationwide has looked into décor trends over the years and what brits like to do to add colour and value to their homes.

Julia Kendall – Having worked in home improvements for the past 30 year’s I’m a huge advocate of DIY. Across the last 60 years men and women have attempted to put up shelves, wall paper, paint, lay floors and even fit kitchens to save money. But what has changed over the years is the interior décor that people have chosen, and have there been some unforgettable moments.

During the 1950’s interiors were inspired by US American diners, everything US in fact was very much on trend.

The 1960’s was an interesting decade, the era of free love, paisley and pop art were very prevalent. It was also the decade of the fitted kitchen.

Autumnal earthy colours reigned supreme in the 1970’s. Patterns were really strong and no home was complete without a shag-pile rug and a lava lamp.

Tartan was very much the go to pattern for on trend designs, as were wood chip wallpaper and pampers and avocado bathroom suites.

I started my career in the 1980’s and my goodness what a decade to be starting out in interior design. Everything had frills attached to it, inspired by Lady Diana’s blouses at the time. If I had anything that stopped or didn’t move, had a frill, contrast piping and more frills and bows added to it. Horrific.

The 90’s was a decade of stencils, rag-rolled walls, everything was very overly ornate.

The noughties was all about minimalism and concrete was the material of choice. Towards the end of the decade the feature wall became king, and strong colours were introduced once again.

There has been a return to comfort this decade and current interior trends are all about easy, practical and sociable family living. The industrial style and Scandinavian living are key and will continue to dominate interiors for a few years to come.

Thinking about making home improvements?

Renovating your home not only makes it more enjoyable to live in, it may also add to the value of your property. Check out our home improvements guide for more information.

The content displayed on our recent news and articles page is for information purposes only, and is accurate at the time of publication. The information will not be maintained, and so we cannot guarantee that at any given time the information will be up to date or complete. Please verify any information you take before relying on it.

Nationwide is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites. Nationwide does not make any recommendation or endorse any advertising, products, services or other content on such external websites. Views expressed on third party websites are those of the public and unless specifically stated, are not those of Nationwide.

Most popular

The Budget 2017


Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first – and last – Spring Budget to Parliament yesterday. Here’s your easy guide to the changes.

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.