The Eighties was a fascinating time in history, characterized by the booming economy, new wave of wealth, and significant advancement in technology. Cultural changes were also abounding, with gender stereotypes being shattered and pop icons sporting bolder and more eclectic looks. With such shifts, people also saw massive, thrilling trends in terms of home decors. From the glass bricks to the Memphis designs, and the preppy look, let’s look back at popular interior design styles of the 80s, which all signaled a new era for design enthusiasts.
Soft pastels became one of the decade’s most colorful palettes. Rooms were splashed with shades of soft pinks, purples, blues, and even seafoam greens. While some homes only used the palette in small applications, others painted them from top to bottom. In an era when trends became pretty contrasting, pastels became the whimsical choice for those who love a subtle, calm interior.
Glass bricks were nearly everywhere in the ‘80s. They became stylish yet practical and energy-efficient alternatives and were used as interior walls or windows to let light in without being completely see-through. A fun fact is that they were actually invented in the late 1880s by the Falconnier Hollow Glass Brick, a century before they became a fad in people’s homes.
Art Deco design made a comeback in the 1980s. The main difference is that people’s desire for clear furniture was satisfied by the acrylic Lucite, rather than actual glass that was used during the 1920s. First developed in the 1930s and used as a furniture material in the ‘60 and ‘70s, it was in the ‘80s when Lucite furniture attained its peak, and since then has never gone away.
If there are pastels, they were also their direct opposites. In the 1980s, Memphis Design emerged, embracing everything that is vibrant, abstract, and loud. Geometric shapes, repetitive patterns, and bold, neon colors adorned homes, from pillows to ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, and other ornamentations. Though it may seem to come from the U.S. city, the design actually originated in Italy. Nevertheless, it has become of the most recognizable design styles of the eighties.
The preppy style also became a hallmark interior design style during this decade. Classic white-and-blue palettes, striped patterns, and monograms became a fad, serving as a traditional, classy substitute to the loud colors and schemes that also rose in the ‘80s.
Shabby Chic Style
Another hallmark of the ‘80s was the shabby chic, a design style that originated in the 18th century but catapulted into popularity in the decade. It aimed to blend comfort and elegance into one setting, by combining rustic furniture and vintage furnishings, including old chandeliers, fabrics, and decors available in the flea market. It replicated the antique yet soft and comforting feel of grand country houses where furniture and decors are handed down from one generation to the next.
Brass is a material that won’t quit. Coming from its popularity in the previous decades, it continued to be a massive trend in the ‘80s. From bathroom fixtures to countertops, shelves, cabinets, brass helped homes get a minimalist or elegant appeal, depending on their setting. Thus, it’s no wonder that the bevy of brass products and ornaments still remained a popular style in the eighties.
Floral prints dominated upholstery in this decade. Whether it’s the sofa, chair, bedding, drapes, or other decoration, floral patterns were seen everywhere. Its popularity can be attributed to Laura Ashley, a clothing and home decor brand, whose floral fabrics boomed in the ‘80s. Homes embraced the and applied the trend not only in small parts as some rooms were brimmed with florals top to bottom, featuring floral or chintz rugs, wallpapers, lampshades, and other pieces of furniture.
The 1980s interior design styles were filled with contrast yet they beautifully add up to the nostalgia brought by equally iconic 80’s fashion, music, and popular trends. Though the decade is slowly fading in terms of time, some of its styles are timeless and even making a resurgence today, still bringing homes to life.