Don’t Worry, Be Happy: The 1980s Trends Coming Back
04 May 2018
Which trends from the eighties are worth a second chance, and which ones should you forget about?
Thought 1980s interior trends were destined to stay in the past forever? You might be surprised to see how many of the interior fashions of that decade are popping up again in our homes now – albeit in very different ways.
Ditch frills for refined florals
Pattern went to town in the 1980s, and in turn took city dwellers away to the countryside. No bed was complete without a pillow and bedspread adorned with florals – and of course a frilly edge and valance in an accent colour. Alas, the twee pastoral look was sadly chucked out with the chintz in the 1990s to make way for a plainer aesthetic.
But florals are back, and this time the look is more sophisticated. Take this gorgeous sleep space, for example. The pattern has been used sparingly on the bedhead and cushion, and tones with the plain surfaces elsewhere. The effect is pared back, elegant and a far cry from the Little House on the Prairie look of the ’80s.
Play with pastels
Nothing sums up the ’80s love of pastels more than the dapper outfits adorned by the stars of Miami Vice. Who can forget the lilac and pink t-shirts that Crocket and Tubbs wore under their laid-back cotton suits? And our homes were resplendent in pastel shades too – pale pinks, mauves, aquas, blues and yellows all vied for centre stage in 1980s interiors.
We’re loving pastels again, however, with aqua, peach and dusty pink seeing a recent revival. Contemporary pastels are muted and look great with soft shades of grey, while peach works well with copper accessories. The key is to choose just one pastel shade and tone it with more neutral hues, rather than going for an ’80s-style pastel extravaganza.
Go for a country kitchen – just not in orange
While 1980s florals aimed for a rustic ambience, so too did many of the decade’s kitchens. The farmhouse kitchen was a big look in the ’80s. Cook spaces packed out with wall-to-wall pine cabinets might look cosy, but the orange shade of wood could also put you off your microwave dinner.
We still love our country kitchens, but the look is completely different, mainly because of the paler, more stylish oak we opt for in favour of varnished pine. We can also experiment with other surfaces, mixing and matching for a more interesting look. The kitchen here has all the elements of a rustic design, but it has been given a twist. Wood is teamed with painted surfaces, while a concrete work surface adds an industrial edge.
Go for glass tables
In the decade that saw yuppies bustling around looking busy with their Filofaxes, there’s no wonder interiors often resembled a conference room. Glass tables were a perfect addition to this slick city look, but were ditched in favour of softer alternatives in the following decades.
They’re back though, but in more elegant, less business-like guise. The popularity of black-edged Crittall-style doors has inspired some dark-framed design elsewhere, like this gorgeous glass-topped coffee table. The look is industrial yet laid-back, and the glass adds a light, airy feel to the space.
Shape up with geometrics
If you wanted a cool, trendy bedroom in the ’80s a geometric design on your doona would do the trick. The bold creations of the Memphis Design movement, with its vivid colour palette and strong forms, prompted many copycat creations. Zigzags, triangles, stripes and hexagons were everywhere, and looked fab in both bold primary colours or bright pastels.
Geometrics are popping up all over the place right now, with accessories and textiles embracing the trend for bold shapes. But some of the most interesting ways to play with shapes at the moment are on walls and floors. The hexagonal tiles on this floor have a white corner, which creates an interesting, stunning pattern.
Colour up your bathroom suites
Not only did ’80s homeowners have to pick the colour of their bathroom walls and floors, they also had to worry about the shade of their bathroom suites. Baths, sinks and loos came in a range of delightful shades, including a high-tech two tone – yes, this really was a thing. If you’d decorated in the 1970s, your avocado suite was probably still going strong in the ’80s, but all traces of green were ripped out of bathrooms in the years that followed.
We’re not suggesting a revival of the all-over avocado bathroom suite (yet), but there has been a leaning toward green wash spaces lately. The shade usually appears on tiles and wall paint, but this beautiful bathroom shows how a lick of avocado on the underside of period-style baths and sinks can look simply delicious.
Get creative with cork
Cork made it big in 1970s interiors, and continued its glory days right into the 1980s. Kitchen floors and walls were covered with this tactile material, and kids’ bedroom walls were lined with cork tiles that worked as vast pinboards for homework and Duran Duran posters.
This brilliantly versatile material has made a welcome comeback and is being used for all sorts of interior surfaces, from tabletops to pot lids. The cork flooring in this kitchen is a great choice as it’s soft underfoot, great for insulation and easy to maintain.
See green with indoor plants
In an era where more was more, house plants were a great way to add that extra touch. Greenery was everywhere, popping up in bathrooms, jazzing up living room window sills and bringing the outdoors into glass conservatories.
House plants are breathing fresh air into our homes once again, which can only be good news. They not only warm up the space, but they make the air healthier, too – a win-win.
Frame your walls
A 1980s wall was never really complete without a wallpaper border. Wall coverings came with a matching frieze, so it was easy to add a complementary edging to your wallpaper design. Things have changed and now walls are more likely to fade into the edge, with some designers even choosing the same shade for ceilings, walls and joinery to merge the whole thing together.
Frames aren’t lost forever, however, as designers are getting creative with skirting boards. Paint them in a contrasting colour to the walls, or even choose one of the new patterned boards on the market, to give your room a sharp, defined border.
Leave it in the ’80s: bathroom carpets
Take a look at this beautiful bathroom space. Would you put a carpet on that floor? In the ’80s they would have, and maybe a fluffy floor mat around the loo as well.
With the vast array of floor surfaces available now, there’s no need to put fabric underfoot in your bathroom. The rustic look on the floor of this room has been created with wood-effect tiles, which give the same warm look as wood, but are much more resistant to water.
Which of these 1980s looks are you happy to revive? Share in the Comments section. And if you enjoyed this story, like it, save it, save the photos and share your thoughts below. Join the conversation.