Things Your Parents Had in Their House That You Never See Today

Source: Flickr/Estategallery305

Think back to what your parent’s house looked like when you were growing up. Was there a huge TV that everyone watched together? Were they sitting together on a hideous floral sofa? Was there shag carpeting? Today, these things are more likely to be seen at a garage sale rather than in a modern house but there will always be a special place in our hearts for these nostalgic and iconic decor pieces.

Candy Dishes

Source: Flickr/Sherry White

These exciting and fancy little dishes held treats that we all coveted when visiting our parents or grandparents houses. These days candy dishes are sought-after items at flea markets or garage sales but you rarely see a new one on the store shelf today.

Water Beds

Source: Wikipedia/Robert Paprstein

The queasiness, the leaks and the wish wash sounds. There was most likely a water bed somewhere in your childhood home and these days we would happily sleep on a sofa instead.

Shag Carpets

Source: Plushrugs

It wasn’t that long ago that this huge, tacky, extra-furry carpet covered the floors of every room. From burnt orange to bright yellow and lime green, the most trendy interior design accent looked like a trippy kaleidoscope.

Retro TVs

Source: Flickr/Raphael

You no longer hear the phrase “watching the tube” these days. With flat-screen TV’s the big bulky TV with the literal tube inside is now a thing of the past.

Old-School Lamps

Source: Flickr/warren kirk

Those thick fabric shaded lamps with funky colors and extra details are mostly no more. You can probably recall them on nearly every surface of your childhood home. Today, you’re more likely to spot one in a second hand store than someone’s house.

Sunken Living Rooms

Source: Flickr/Michael Locke

No one is really sure why sunken living rooms were such a thing in the 70s, but they aren’t today. It is rare unless the house is a movie set or an intentional throwback that you see this decor feature. How many times did you stumble over the steps when leaving the room?

VHS Tapes

Source: Flickr/KosBrick

Do you remember looking up in awe at your wall of Disney VHSs? There might even still be a few in a box somewhere in the basement at your mom’s but gone are the days of the good old “Be Kind, Rewind.”

Hand Mixers

Source: Etsy

With today’s plethora of modern mixing tools, mixing by hand is pretty much obsolete. But there is a good chance that when you were baking with mom or grandma that you used one of these medieval tools.

Fax Machines

Source: Flickr/Joel Ignacio

Oh that old familiar dial up. Okay, okay so some people still use fax machines, the government for one, but they are basically never seen in someone’s home these days. They made such an annoying noise that you couldn’t ignore it even from clear across the house.


Source: Flickr/charmgirl13

We may know better today but way back when, almost everyone smoked. Your parents, ever the good hosts, were always ready. Ashtrays were on hand for when guests came over.

Answering Machines

Source: Flickr/Dave Chamberlain

Before you could leave a voicemail or shoot over a text message there were answering machines. Did your parents ever force you to make an outgoing message with the whole family? Do you remember that very distinct beeping sound? There was a time when having an answering machine was definitely a luxury.

Striped Wallpaper

Source: Flickr/Aidan Griffin

Don’t get me wrong, there is some striped wallpaper out today that is really cool and modern, but the old ornate wallpaper your parents or grandparents had in their house is no more.

Wall Clocks

Source: Pexels/Cats Coming

Here and there you may walk into someone’s house and see a wall clock hanging up but thanks to iphones they are becoming more and more rare. Put a hand up if your family had a wall clock that went off multiple times daily.

Floral Sofas

Source: Flickr/Just LAF with Friends Estate Sales

You have seen this thing in your parents sitting room, (and on kim kardashian) and maybe even a college dorm or two because it was scored for super cheap. This floral stand out piece was a main fixture in a lot of homes back in the day.

Perfume Trays

Source: Flickr/Debbie

Close your eyes and picture your mom’s vanity from childhood. Do you see that mirrored perfume tray with her favorite scents? Today’s perfumes aren’t usually displayed in the same way but instead are stored in drawers or on top of the bathroom counter.

Rotary Phones

Source: Flickr/Billy Brown

When shown this archaic communication machine, most kids these days would have no idea how to use it. But we are sure there was one in the living room or kitchen at your parents house.

Porcelain Collectible Dolls

Source: drouot

Did your mom have a cabinet or bed filled with her treasured porcelain dolls and other beloved collectibles? We bet you don’t miss seeing their eyes follow you as you walked.

Toilet Rugs

Source: Reddit/nostalgia

Oh yes, these toilet textiles were very in style for a while, with a matching seat cover and floor rug, they were usually purchased as a set. Though they would keep your feet warm in the morning, they weren’t exactly hygienic.


Source: Unsplash/laura adai

Although collecting these vintage pieces is sweet, when you were growing up your parents definitely used these as much as we use the Keurigs of today.

Alarm Clocks

Source: Flickr/Claudia

Did one of these adorn your nightstand in your bedroom growing up? You’re most likely having flash-backs of that clanging noise right now that was the start of your day.

Yarn Crafts

Source: Flickr/vermilionink

Although there is a DIY culture nowadays that is really cool and trendy, the crafts at your parents house probably showed up in the form of some obnoxious blankets and owl wall art.


Source: Flickr/MaryCTodd

Tinsel used to grace almost every Christmas tree every year way back when and we all thought it made the tree look absolutely magical. Fast-forward to today tinsel is seen as more as a safety hazard than a decoration. It’s hardly used today but it did look so pretty when we were kids.


Source: Wikimedia Commons/Poolcode

Well back in the rolodex heyday, you couldn’t just swipe for a contact in your smartphone so you had to keep all the information somewhere. Your parents probably had an archaic version of your digital address book called a Rolodex.


Source: Flickr/Filip Hostynek

More of a decoration than a practical tool these days, typewriters are a symbol of nostalgia. It is truly uncommon to see typewriters sitting in someone’s home office ready for use.

China Hutches

Source: Flickr/Stacy Martian

Although a hutch has a charming look about it with a very vintage-inspired home, it isn’t really something you see much of anymore. They came in clutch at showcasing your parents’ best china though.

Plastic Flowers

Source: Flickr/Andreas Akre Solberg

In theory this idea is genius! These flowers will never die and don’t need to be watered or put in the sun. But they just look so cheap and we are glad they fell out of favor with homeowners long ago.

Canopy Beds

Source: Flickr/tragicsans

The Holy Grail of childhood beds. You know you begged your parents for one. It had four posts and a flowy fabric top and it made you feel like a princess sleeping in it. These days canopy beds aren’t really on trend. They seem to be dust collectors more than beds to sleep in.

Record Players

Source: Flickr/womboyne7

It’s not nice to know that listening to records hasn’t fully died off as this new generation loves all things retro. But as Bluetooth speakers and streaming services play our favorite songs, it’s increasingly rare to see an actual record player.


Source: Flickr/LaceCrochet

The royal family may be the last people to use a doily because in today’s households you just never see them anymore. But your mom most likely loved them and broke them out for special occasions.

Rabbit Ears

Source: Flickr/Mark Edwards

Do you remember it being a team sport to get the reception just right so the picture was clear? “Turn them this way. No, bend them that way.” If that sounds familiar, your childhood TV probably had a pair of these rabbit ears to get good reception, or at least good-enough.


Source: Flickr/sewn

Oh, handkerchiefs! These reusable fancy tissues are what people used to carry around in their pockets and whip out in a sneezing emergency. You might even have memories of these stacked on your parents’ dresser.

Jewelry Boxes

Source: Flickr/Frank

These days people prefer to hang their jewelry on the wall using a wall organizer rather than hiding them away in a jewelry box. We bet you remember sifting through your mother’s jewelry box as a kid and playing dress-up.

Crocheted Blankets

Source: Flickr/Vejs matos aka Elizabeth Cat

Crochet was the thing in the 70s, and although today’s version is a fun little craft, old-school items like colorful patterned blankets weren’t really warm or all that cute.

Sewing Machine Tables

Source: Unsplash/Lin Xin

Today, sewing machines are stand-alone and can be moved and put on any surface but back in the day, they were attached to a table. Hence the name, sewing table.

Bygone Fans

Source: thepalebluedotshop

There are still retro looking fans if your decor style is vintage cute, but most people gravitate towards Dyson versions rather than the old Diehl ones with a metal cage.

Fondue Pots

Source: Flickr/Steven Miller

Who doesn’t love hot cheese? We all do of course but back in the 70s, it was all the rage. Your parents may have even had a few fondue parties, complete with statement fondue pot.

Vintage Tennis Rackets

Source: Flickr/Donna Pool

We bet your parents probably still have an old wooden tennis racket hanging in their garage. You should ask if you can take them home and use them to decorate with; very vintage-chic.


Source: Flickr/MariaSorenson

Oh, encyclopedias or what you called, paperback Google. Your parents had them on the shelves and we are sure you can remember pulling them out when you needed to do research for a school assignment.

Pencil Sharpeners

Source: Flickr/giantflea

Do people even use pencils that much anymore? Well if they do they are most likely sharpening them with an electric sharpener. Whether stand-alone or wall-mounted, you most likely used this manual machine at least several times a week.

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Danielle Wiesman

Written by Danielle Wiesman

Danielle Wiesman stands as an American literary luminary recognized for her versatility in crafting stories across genres. Widely celebrated for her prowess in romance novels, her work has been featured in many of the top publications for this sector. Outside of writing she adopts and rehouses abandoned cats

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