Some might say it is a decade to forget. But the 80s decor and design comeback is here to stay: floral chintz, the Memphis furniture, the western vibrations and the patterned sofa. If you want to go deeper into these trends, they are here.
The 80s saw the birth of yuppies, MTV (Dire Straits, Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson) and the films of John Hughes, such as Pretty in Pink and the Breakfast Club. Television shows such as Dallas and Dinasty were source of interior design inspiration. Nowadays, fans can amuse themselves with The Americans and Fargo. Some say that it is a decade to forget. But for the delight of some fans, the unimaginable happened: all that bold and tacky colors, brass, country beds and the floral wallpapers are making a strong comeback. Revisited, of course.
The world of 80s interior design is rich and complex. If one is old enough, he or she may remember the floral chintz. Wallpapers with borders. Curtains with tails. Bathrooms with peach tiles. Metallic accents to striking angles and curves. Abundant laminated-countertop colors. An office desk kitchen desk had a proudly owned home computer. Southwestern style accessories were must haves. Brass chandelier arms, cupboard pulls and hinges often glinted off white cabinets. And kitchen size started to grow to become the place to be and to be seen.
If you want to go deeper into what might appear as the 80s revival on decor and design, you may want to go through the following trends.
The Memphis Group was founded by the italian Ettore Sottsass (1917-207), an industrial designer that created the red Olivetti typewriter. In 1980, he reunited a group of designers in Milan to form a collective. The name Memphis came from the Bob Dylan song "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" which played during that initial meeting.
The Memphis Group lasted from 1981 to 1987, but their work was extremely influential and powerful. Combining Art Deco, Pop Art, and the emerging postmodernism, the designers created signature pieces in geometric shapes and contrasting colors.
Memphis is back, but coming from a different place now. There is a whole new generation of artists and designers, born in and of the 80s, just now coming into their own. Meanwhile, auction houses can’t keep Memphis pieces in stock. Karl Lagerfeld decorated a whole apartment in Monaco with vintage pieces.
In the 80s, an Art Deco re-revival occurred in the graphic design. Clean lined fonts with modern curves were prominent, but angles of the 20s and 30s arches also infiltrated the world of interior design in a style baptized as 80s Deco. Ceramic curves on modern vases and rounded furniture were very popular.
The '80s Southwestern room had turquoise, peach and mauve. Native American designs on textiles completed the vibe. As the bohemian style is never out of fashion, the Navajo vibe gets a whole new interest for the nostalgic and eternal hippies.
The traditional decor is what most people grew up with in the 80s. While some could live in New York City with a room full of modern pieces, the majority of families integrated newer styles with items they already had, such as antiques.
The 80s country is probably the most "remembered" trend of the decade. While there were some designers offering a minimalist, rustic country look, the majority of 80s country living rooms presented themselves in mauve and blue. Ralph Lauren was a king and managed to launch products for the home based on his runaway hits.
Instead of having a kitchen island to eat meals, the 80s families actually ate in a regular kitchen table. In most cases, there was a separate and formal dining room for that. Today, we are more likely to see kitchen island tables, breakfast nooks and open plans in which the kitchen is right next to the dining area, but the kitchen table is starting to make a comeback.
The easiest way to obtain the kitsch factor is to have bold paint colors. An accent wall could be a start, together with some furniture in unusual shapes and colors. Bright yellow dining chairs might make you feel you are in the Dallas television show. But if the idea is to go full original, the homeowner might consider thrifting. You never know what you’re going to find and it helps the planet not to manufacture one more piece of furniture. The patterned sofa
The patterned sofa would come in chevron or ikat. Today we are more likely to mix the flame stitch with other patterns; for example, we would not have yards and yards of matching draperies right behind it.
The intention of the rattan decor was to make you feel like you were on vacation; in fact, whole homes were outfitted with the tropical comfort of rattan and cane pieces. Amazingly, rattan and cane furniture continue to be mass produced, to the delight of the 80s fans.
Most 80s decorators would not dream of finishing a room without wallpaper, while some homeowners in the 90s could not wait to remove it. The key is to use an updated pattern in a small dose - like in a powder room or on a bedroom accent wall. Floral wallpaper is proving particularly popular with designers.