Furniture Trends That Didn’t Stand the Test of Time

Baer's Furniture
4 min readSep 25, 2023

You wake up cold and sore in the middle of the night.

You roll over on your side and hear a sloshing noise.

Your digital alarm clock indicates that it’s 3:14 a.m., but you can’t go back to sleep.

The heating element stopped working, and the surface temperature of your waterbed is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Looks like you’ll be spending the rest of the night on your futon or beanbag.

If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, you’ve never owned a waterbed — and possibly have never owned a beanbag or futon.

Some furniture trends stand the test of time, while others fade away slowly or collapse under the weight of a mass cultural movement. The Baer’s Furniture design team prides itself on identifying enduring design trends, but as a matter of due diligence, they must also be aware of the flash-in-the-pan pieces. The following are some once-popular trends that just didn’t make it.

The Waterbed

Waterbeds are a fun idea, but many factors make them impractical. We’re not exactly sure why people stopped buying waterbeds, but we can pinpoint when they ditched them: sometime in the early 1990s. Here are a few of the reasons why this might have happened:

  • They invariably leak after a few years
  • The heating element increases power bills
  • They are impossible to move when full
  • Many apartments buildings and condos forbid them
  • The nightmare scenario of waking up to a cold bed is a common occurrence

If you still have a waterbed, it’s time to upgrade to something like the Axiom Contemporary Panel Bed by Bernhardt. These pictures shouldn’t require too much explanation as to why this is a good move.

Inflatable Indoor Furniture

Before you start posting links from online retail sites showing us that inflatable interior furniture is still “a thing,” we know. But in the ’60s and ’70s, it was nearly a requirement. While every fashion-forward home didn’t necessarily have a translucent inflatable couch or chair, no one batted an eyelid when they saw one. Here are a few things that cause problems with inflatable furniture:

  • Sharp objects in pockets
  • Animal claws
  • Excessive weight
  • Hot food or beverages
  • Slow leaks
  • Repairs are an eyesore
  • Limited décor options

While inflatable furniture can still be fun in a kid’s room — at least until it pops — most adults would be much happier kicking back in a Natuzzi Giulivo Power Recliner.

The S-Shaped Conversation Bench

This is a fun piece of furniture that traces its origins to the gossip-laden pardons of 19th-century France. For that reason alone, it’s still suitable to have one of these highly impractical seating options as an accent piece. If you’re unfamiliar with a conversation bench, they have two seats that face the opposite direction with an s-shaped rail dividing the two occupants. While quaint, here are the drawbacks:

  • They are only practical for one thing: a conversation between two parties.
  • The closeness of the seating arrangement can be uncomfortable, depending on the level of acquaintance of the occupants.

A modern equivalent with much greater functionality is the swivel chair. A piece like the Contemporary Haviland Swivel Chair can be placed in multiple configurations.

How to Make Sure You Don’t Jump on a Dying Trend

So, how do you know if the piece of furniture you’re about to buy is going to immediately go out of fashion? These are a few tried and true ways to ensure you’re making a smart purchase.

  • Embrace Classic Styles — That doesn’t mean that you can’t go modern. Modern décor is always evolving, but the features tend to die slowly. If you recall the chrome and glass features of the ’70s and ’80s modern vs. the muted tones of the current interpretation of modern, you can see what we mean. It took decades for that evolution to pass.
  • Retro and Passé Aren’t the Same — If you’re going for Mid-Century Modern, Art Nouveau, or Art Deco, you need to embrace the furniture of the day to some extent.

Shop at a High-Quality Retailer — Baer’s Furniture, for example, is usually ahead of the trend. If something is about to go out of style, it will usually disappear from Baer’s 16 Florida showrooms months or even years in advance. By shopping with a reliable partner, you can avoid this common pitfall.



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