The year 2000, the year that tasteful decoration had forgotten, is back
The late 90s and early 2000s were a heady time. I lived in London, in a small one-bedroom basement apartment I shared with five other people, dreaming of a time when I could afford a place of my own.
When I finally got one, I had nothing to put in it. I didn’t even have sheets. So a friend took me to Ikea where, among other things, I bought my first lamp.
A large distorted blue egg on a stainless steel base, it barely emits enough light to read. As the lamps went it kind of sucked, but it was my first and it was “funky”. Honestly, I thought I was Jasper Conran with this thing.
On a roll of scenery, I then bought a bouncy chair with big yellow daisies on it, like something out of a De La Soul video. So go find.
* I went to Ikea and all I got was this quick and ugly piece of furniture
* Easter decorations: why are stores trying to convince us it’s a Kiwi thing?
* In Love With The 80s: What Can We Save From Decorating’s Worst Decade?
Until I came home one night, a little less well-worn, and passed out in it with a lit cigarette in my hand.
Nothing like waking up on the floor in a puddle of an uninflated chair, the smell of burning plastic wafting through the air, to deter you from a trend, let me tell you.
In my next apartment we had a lava lamp, but instead of lava it had glitter and the light was purple.
We also had a four poster bed made from four three meter sheer curtains which I had found in a dumpster the previous summer – don’t judge, scuba diving was what passed for decor durability at the time .
In those days, our homes had a rag-tag, transitional, half-reclaimed, roadside “antique” half-quasi-futuristic, plastic psychedelic look. It suited the erratic transition period between the late 90s and early 2000s, that was the look of Y2K.
You remember the year 2000, don’t you? That weird collective hallucination we shared 22 years ago that the world was going to end because computer clocks couldn’t keep up with the number 2?
None of it made sense and neither did the decor – all those clashing colors, all the artificial textures, faux fur, chiffon and feathers, and all that plastic.
Memphis Design is dropping picture frames, cowhide prints all over, Flintstones style side tables, baby pink faux fur throw pillows with “sexy” rhinestones, lava lamps, bead curtains, posters for The matrix and spice world hanged, ironically, side by side.
What starry-eyed crank thought blowing up indoor furniture was a good idea? What color-blind prankster looked at lime green and pink and thought, “Yes! These are the colors of the decade!
During those Y2K years, disposable furniture was suddenly de rigueur, and deliberately sticky was all the rage.
When we woke up from the plastic fume-induced coma a decade later, we naturally turned to more natural materials and sustainably sourced décor. Fresh and bright boho; verdant biophilia; a clean, neutral minimalism and a kind of very personal maximalism sounded the death knell for decoration “trends” – it became authenticityand sustainability, rather than materialism.
So it’s with a heavy heart that I tell you that Y2K style is back – at least it’s back on TikTok where folks barely old enough to have survived it the first time around will tell you dirty lilac is a perfectly acceptable color for a throw, even if you call it Very Peri and pretend it’s blue. The hashtag #y2k already has 4.3 billion – BILLION – views. We are doomed.
It was bad enough when the fads started coming back, but if they think I’m going to sit idly by while inflatable chairs return to the pages of New Zealand house and garden magazine, they have another coccyx sprain coming up.
Of course, there are two ways to do nostalgic decor – on the nose or just a puff – and I think you can guess which one I prefer.
By all means, embrace the return of the lava lamp, but maybe check your grandma’s attic or the nearest charity shop before you splurge on a cheap new reproduction.
And yes, go for a 90s “air candy” style inflatable pool chair in your living room – here’s a really nice one from The Iconic – but you can also sweeten the look with something like this inflatable Minidip at lounge, or take one more up-town tack with the steel-framed inflatables from French designers MOJOW.
These cute jelly-like things come in a range of patterns and colors, look like silver, and are made from “eco-friendly materials”.
Remember not to smash into it with a lit cigarette – the days of grunge are over and burnt plastic never smells like a teenager.