14 ’80s Decor Trends That Are Back In a Big Way
Love 'em or hate 'em, we can't deny the 1980s were an era of bold design. While '80s home décor had a very specific feel, it encompassed a wide range of options: Pastels to primaries, preppy plaid to precocious Laura Ashley florals. Turns out all of them can be beautifully adapted to reflect current sensibilities. Which is to say, "They're baaaaack!"
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For such a minimal design, these powder-coated steel bookends sure pack an ’80s punch. They come in bright primary colors, which haven’t had a moment in roughly 30 years. And while this longer-flanged design was created to support even the heaviest art books, it evokes that squishy, bubbly cartoon-’80s feel. (Can’t you just see your Garfield comics collection wedged in here?)
Rattan, bamboo, cane and wicker are hot, hot, HOT right now, so it’s easy to accent your existing home décor with ’80s-reminiscent wall shelves, baskets, plant stands, chairs, side tables and more made from these natural materials. We fell in love with the adorably petite silhouette and feminine curlicues on this rattan bed.
If you’ve lived through the stenciled-walls fad before, you might get an initial shiver. But we’re here to say that stencils are back and ready for the 21st century. Laser-cut designs create more clearly defined edges, and using a stencil brush instead of a sponge will create a much different effect this time around. We love this fishscale pattern stencil, which could be fun in a bathroom or child’s bedroom, or in the kitchen, as a backsplash alternative.
Was it even legal for a fireplace to not have a brass-framed door in the ’80s? Brass-plated plumbing fixtures, lighting and yes, even fireplace doors, were absolutely everywhere back then. Today, brass usually provides the exclamation point on an otherwise understated black-and-whitewashed room. Even if you’re not ready to go all in and upgrade your bathroom fixtures, you can still get the look with a few accents, such as these vases from West Elm.
Laura Ashley was the reigning queen of ’80s floral, and if you want the real deal, you can still go right to the source and purchase a floral Laura Ashley throw. (To update the look, skip the matching curtains, sheets, rugs, wallpaper, and, and, and … and choose a solid color to contrast.) Or, blow up the scale and make a big impact in just a couple of hours with a peel-and-stick, removable wall decal. All the trend, none of the commitment.
Neon lighting was king throughout the ’80s, but you may be a tad hard-pressed to find neon light installations these days. Inject a bit of Miami Vice into a bar, bathroom or office with this fun monstera-leaf motif. (Psst: If this was a totally ’80s lamp, it would be a palm tree instead.)
In the very same decade where primary colors hit it big, so did pastels. Back then, nothing was too candy-coated or Easter-eggy, and the new spin is even more dialed back, as evidenced by this West Elm bedding set. It comes complete with a duvet, shams, velveteen stitch quilt and sheet set that eschew ’80s matchy-matchiness. Instead, the decade’s essence is captured by pairing warmer- and cooler-toned pastels to create a watercolor pastiche. One that Molly Ringwald would most definitely approve of—pretty in pink.
If your family didn’t have a plaid couch, ottoman or wingback chairs in the ’80s, certainly you queued up the VCR or played Frogger from one at your friend’s house. No need to commit to full-on country rustic or polished luxury-preppy this time around: A well-placed and cozy plaid Eddie Bauer throw will do the trick nicely now.
Square, stacked tile feels super fresh after years of being passed over for subway tile. You could also do dual-trend duty and give your bathroom or backsplash a blast of unabashed ’80s color with this 4×4-inch kiwi green grid tile from Merola. It’s made sustainably without VOCs, formaldehyde or PVC, so it’s green that way, too.
For traditionalists, postmodern geometric designs can feel a bit too …. bold? But incorporating it a little at a time feels less committal, and more like the whimsical fun it should be. This splurge-worthy donut-shaped vase embraces the ubiquitous ’80s primary-color scheme and a geometric pattern that almost makes it seem as if it might roll away with your latest arrangement.
Bye-bye llamas and sloths; barnyard and forest friends are back. You don’t have to cross-stitch your geese this time. Beautiful, fresh takes on our feathered friends abound. This goose print by Sharon Montrose (one of a series—see if you can buy just one) is about as minimal, modern and adorable as it gets.
Designed by two Minneapolis artists, this lush wallpaper manages to tie a couple of ’80s home décor trends into one beautifully sophisticated swath of wall covering. Mauve and teal, that staple ’80s home décor pairing, combines with a tropical aesthetic to create a fantastical wallpaper that could very well remain relevant until the next ’80s comeback.
Neon colors have been popping up everywhere for homes, all the way down to cutlery handles. If you want to recapture that Lisa Frank feeling every time you cook, then this knife set fits the bill: Neon colors and holographic finishes transport you to a world of fantasy.
Re-welcome the old-new power couple: Hunter green and brass. Once the domain of high-powered Gordon Gekko types, it’s been retooled for your own home office. Pair this office chair with brassy lamps or drawer pulls to tie the look together. Can’t get enough of that channel stitching, either.