What Is Post Modern Design?

What Is Post Modern Design?

Post Modern Design – Re-Conceptualizing What Living Spaces Can Look Like

In many ways, music, philosophy and just the general cultural milieu can very much inspire interior design trends. Take Post Modern design for instance…Classic Home Improvements has worked on some tremendously interesting whole home remodel projects that incorporated a post modern feel and edge. With vibrant use of color, shape and the inclusion of unique and in some ways bohemian inspired objects, Post Modern style definitely represents a bold and daring design trend that has, over the years, resulted in some extraordinary transformations.


post modern style kitchen with bright yello cabinets and red backsplashA True Bohemian Rhapsody: Post Modernism in the 1960s and 70s

At the tail end of a fairly conservative era not solely in terms of interior design, but also in terms of the American culture, came a turn to a more “fun” vibe, a more experimental and freer way of thinking. The 1960s were about radicalism, they were about taking chances and they were definitely about creative expression. A Post Modern design style was a very welcomed guest to the party. And of course, this trend continued into the 1970s. When it came to interior design, flashy, colorful and electric were central features seen throughout many homes across the country.

So what exactly did this Post Modern inspired style look like in its 60s and 70s manifestation…Some key features:

  • Self Expression: With design in this era, anything went, as long as it was a unique embodiment of the homeowners. From colors and materials, to positioning of furnishing, windows and walls. Post Modern style in this particular period was, if nothing else, very personal.
  • Colors & Lots of Them: Hand in hand with the more emotive feel of the design schemes, was a nod to using colors that had previously not really been integrated in interior spaces. Reds, greens, blues, you name it. People gravitated toward colors that appealed to them versus the more traditional neutral tones of home design.
  • Sleek Lines and Shapes: Of course with bold colors come equally energized shapes. Whether distinctly squared off or curved to accommodate a more fluid form of expression, designers of this era were certainly not shying away from the full array of shapes at their disposal.

black couches and cabinets with pops of red in living areaThe Punk Side of Post Modern Inspired Design: The 80s

As the music went, so did interior design style. Whether engaged in home remodel designing or even new builds, people were looking to capture that spirited, punk-inspired edginess that captivated the world during the eighties. Blacks, whites and greys started to make their presence known. While glass, mirrors and more reflective surfaces enjoyed immense popularity. And textural surfaces and materials were all the rage.

Some key features of a 1980s Post Modern design aesthetic:

  • Geometric Patterns & Motifs: It was all about the angles back in the eighties. Zig-zags, triangles, octagons–angular shapes were featured on rug designs, wall murals even on the furniture itself.
  • Strategic Use of Color: While black and white was at the forefront, this allowed designers to utilize splashes of bright, popping colors strategically throughout a home remodel design. In wall art especially, this blend of sharp neutrality with brilliant and vivid color made for some stunning pieces.
  • Pop Art: Driven by the likes of Andy Warhol et. Al., the emergence of Pop Art as far as the Post Modern scene was truly legendary. Pop Art represented the convergence of mass media inspired images and “high art.” In terms of interior design, it certainly made for some eye-catching spaces.


white kitchen cabinets against a dark floor with industrial style kitchen table90s Grunge and Post Modern Posh

Arguably the last decade of the original Post Modern period in interior design, the nineties represented a move toward a more industrial feel and flow when it came to home renovations and remodels. Design firms, especially a number of San Diego design firms at the time, were starting to explore things like exposed brick, removing drywall in favor of open wall cavities and just creating more of a mechanical/commercial feel in general. In many ways the precursor to what would become the industrial/steampunk movement, Post Modernism in the 1990s was the culmination of a very unique and lively design aesthetic.

What was Post Modern about in the 90s:

  • More Industrial Materials: From raw plywood, to corrugated metal, the nineties saw designers utilizing previously untried materials when redesigning homes. Again, as with the earlier incarnations of this style, it was about true freedom of expression and simply using what appealed to you.
  • Toned Down Color Schemes: No longer as “in your face” as far as color schemes, the 90s Post Modern period was about more muted versions of those same colors. The pastels, the lighter hues, blended of course with some unconventional textures and materials.
  • Unique Accents: Whether the shape of your wall-mounted phone, the design of a rug, the pattern of a curtain, the nineties saw designers engage artifacts that really gave rise to the concept of the “conversation piece.” Surprising, bold, even controversial were completely acceptable from a design perspective.

Albeit a brief retrospective, this should hopefully give you a little clearer picture of the Post Modern movement in design. Today, we at Classic Home Improvements, have definitely seen a resurgence in some of these design trends. And the projects on which we’ve worked to this end, have been very fun and ultimately quite stunning to behold. We would certainly love to talk to you about your new construction or whole home renovation–whatever your Post Modern point of view!

One thought on “What Is Post Modern Design?

  1. Bablofil - June 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks, great article.