Are 80s Interiors Making a Comeback?
In the fashion world, they say it takes 30 years for a trend to come back around. 30 years ago, it was the late 80s. So, following on from the craze for mid-century furniture and 70s bohemia, are we in the midst of a revival of 80s interior design?
In pop culture, 80s nostalgia has already taken the world by storm. Shows like Stranger Things, GLOW and re-makes of classic 80s films like It have been hugely successful. But when it comes to aesthetics, the 80s are often viewed with distaste. We view the big hair and bright clothing as tacky, over-the-top and uncool - not at all in-keeping with modern times. Right?
Despite the fact that people don’t jump to label their home as ‘80s inspired’, we can’t help but notice that there are rooms out there that are looking decidedly so at the moment. This becomes even more obvious when you compare modern designs with real 80s counterparts. So, we’re going to compare the latest interior trends and see how they stack up against real 80s designs.
(Credit to The_80s_interior for our vintage pics, who has 137,000 followers on Instagram and counting.)
The 80s is a decade famous for giving rise to our modern concept of the teenager; the first time in history this group has really been seen as distinct from children or adults in Western culture. Along with all the films and pop culture aimed at teens in the 80s, there was also an aesthetic, from the clothes they wore to how they decorated their rooms.
Here’s a pink and bright yellow bedroom from 1985...
And next to that is Katrina Carroll’s design, a bedroom she created for her daughter with serious 80s vibes (complete with a pink Care Bear).
Spot the difference
This bathroom from 1982 could just as easily be a bathroom in a laid-back, bohemian home today. A mass of plants, natural materials, rattan furniture...it’s all there.
And we didn’t need to look very far to find a modern-day example.
The claw-foot tub speaks to our love of all things vintage. But the way it’s surrounded by plants and nick-nacks, and facing a window, gives it that ‘grandma’s greenhouse’ look.
80s Art Deco
This home in California is described by its owner as ‘Pink Art Deco’, but as art deco enjoyed a huge revival in the 80s, we can’t help but think this has more in common with the home beside it from 1986.
Again, pastels are everywhere, along with copious amounts of pink and bright graphics. Both feature glass coffee tables, but the less formal arrangement of furniture in the Dazeywood Penthouse gives it a more modern feel.
Here’s another example of how the 80s take on art deco is making its way back into our homes. This at-home bar from Hannah_Sketch looks like it came straight out of Cocktail, with its mirrored surfaces and pink neon down-lighting.
Back to the future
While some interiors in the 80s looked backwards to the 20s, others looked forward.
This cinema room from 1984 is decked out in white, chrome, glass and neon lighting that in retrospect, looks like it could be a sign of things to come - it looks like a 00s nightclub.
Fast-forward to 2019, and Spanish interior designer Patricia Bustos’s Wonder Galaxy creates ‘a retro-futuristic bridge between the creative energies of childhood and an avant-garde vision of the future’. It’s nostalgic, for sure, but the neon, chrome, glass and white tile are things designers from the 80s would have considered cutting-edge.
The tiki and tropical trend has really taken off over the past couple of years, with palm trees and flamingos festooning all kinds of homeware. This ranges from the kitsch to the luxurious, but whichever you prefer, it’s a trend that goes back to the 80s.
This room from Kingdom Home Design reminds me of Dr Jacoby in Twin Peaks, with his obsession with Hawaiian shirts.
This 1985 hotel bar is something else entirely, though. In what other decade would you get a huge, ceiling-high gold palm tree in the middle of a room?
Oh right...this one!
Not quite, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so.
The 80s are often thought of as a decade of consumerism, where goods became cheaper and people became spend-ier. As a consequence, affordable, minimalist furniture that could be changed and updated regularly became popular.
Ikea arrived in the UK in 1987, opening its first store in Cheshire. In 2018 they celebrated their 75th year as a company, bringing out a collection of retro-inspired furniture including plenty of nods to the 80s.
So, have you been emanating the 80s without even knowing it? If you love rattan furniture, pastels, neon and grandma florals, perhaps it’s time to own it!
By Amy Murnan