The 70s and 80s ushered in bright colors, loud patterns, and textured fabrics in private and public spaces, making offices one groovy place to hang out. However, bold and daring styles took a bit of a backseat to technology as computers came on the scene in the late 80s and early 90s. Here’s a look at a few  quintessential 90s office design trends.

Beige Everything 

This swift shift from oranges, yellows, and pinks to a plethora of neutral tones was seemingly an overcorrection. Offices that used to be wallpapered in cartoonish prints and outfitted with checkered sofas now sported muted Victorian-esque décor. Waiting rooms and lobbies shrugged off eclectic, modular, or art-deco aesthetics, bringing in metal or manufactured wood, cream fabrics, and tufted throw pillows in neutral tones. If any patterns were used, they were typically in neutral tones and muted floral patterns. 

Technology Enters the Scene 

An office of the 90s had a very different vibe than decades that preceded it because of the influx and access to technology. Google was fresh on the scene, Apple was churning out desktop computers, and the dot com era was in full swing. Desks and office chairs began to form around technology, creating spaces to house keyboards, monitors, computer stands, and more. A shift began taking place; furniture was no longer made from natural materials, but created with metal or rigid plastics. Black, brown, tan, and beige were used, which brought about a minimal, utilitarian feel. 

Cubicles as Far as the Eye Can See

Where the 80s created open floor plans and a culture of extravagance, the 90s were about functionality and little else. Because more and more staff were working on personal computers and phones, private spaces were needed to house these employees. Cubicles quickly took over 90’s offices and did little for a visually pleasing aesthetic and creativity.  

Less Storage Space Required

Paper was still a thing in the 90s, but becoming less important for data tracking. This allowed offices to implement fewer storage solutions and ditch some of the large filing cabinets taking up space. Overall, the lack of paper and machines, furniture, and cabinetry associated with paper products created a lighter and futuristic feeling. 

The 90s was not an era known for eye-catching interiors, however, it ushered in game-changing technology and made space for it to become an integral part of office life. The 90s were a pivotal time in office design trends in that furniture, rooms, and daily tasks all shifted to make computers the  focal point. Now, office interior design needs to strike a balance between humans and their environments, placing both form and function at the center. At Environments, we love creating one-of-a-kind office designs that prioritize people and productivity. Contact us to learn more.