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What Living Rooms in the ‘80s Really Looked Like

The 80s had two distinct décor trends beginning with subdued tones then transitioning to bombastic colors later in the decade. Check out what living rooms in the 80s really looked like.

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Family Handyman

Floor-to-Ceiling Mirrors

Well, maybe, not every home had a floor-to-ceiling mirror but you probably saw it often enough in a film or television show. We displayed this setup in 1982 inside an apartment. We said back then that floor-to-ceiling mirrors added a feeling of more space and also hid cabinetry and an entertainment center. You might notice the angled lighting creates a dramatic effect and helps point your eyes where the interior designer wanted you to focus. Mirrors have long been a device people use to make a small room feel bigger, but have you heard of these 14 ways to make a small room look bigger?

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Boxy TVs

This TV fit perfectly into a see-through divider we created back in 1981 but it could’ve easily gone anywhere else in the home like the kitchen or a bedroom. Nowadays most TVs are flat screens and are mounted to the wall or people are using their tablets to stream programs.

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Blinds, especially mini-blinds started to take over in the ’80s. Even as soon as 1981, mini-blinds made up around 70-80 of the window covering market. In our story about windows in 1981, we said modern blinds can dramatize a window, de-emphasize a window or give a room an entirely new look. We even had blinds that seamlessly matched wall patterns. We said back then that blinds could be used to hide bad design or structural errors. One thing that hasn’t changed about mini-blinds is how tough it is to clean them but fortunately, we’ve got a great tip on how to effectively clean mini-blinds.

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Tile Furniture

Those little doodles of 3D squares you like to do turned into furniture in our 1981 issue. We used ceramic tiles on wooden frames to create these pieces. We used them to display plants and though not every house had furniture like this, there was certainly an emphasis on geometric patterns in the ’80s. Here are the decor trends you can expect to see this year.

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This room we featured in 1981 features a little bit of every decor item that made up the ’80s. From the rattan table and baskets to the earth colors, it’s almost quintessential ’80s decor. The linoleum floor will certainly bring back memories for many, too. Find out why earth tones started to make a comeback recently.

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Faux Stone Fireplaces

There’s a lot going in this room but one thing that stands out is the faux rock fireplace. Homeowners moved away from the classic brick fireplace in the ’70s and ’80s to something like this. Then there’s the ubiquitous track lighting in the room and vertical blinds on the sliding glass door. Nearly every edition of Family Handyman has track lighting somewhere in it. This is actually called platform furniture and we built it with plywood, 2x4s and carpet. You’ll want to check out this modern take on the stone fireplace.

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Family Handyman

Hi-Fi Sound System

This Hi-Fi sound system came as part of the media room we designed in a 1981 edition of the magazine. In addition to the Hi-Fi, there was a projection TV, video disc player, VCR and turntable. Though you can’t see it, rest assured there was track lighting, too. Back in ’81 we figured a projection TV ran around $3,000, a VCR cost $800 and a videodisc player rang in around $500. Take a look at what our ultimate buying guide for a home theater looks like now.

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1982 living room with brown carpet and fireplaceFamily Handyman

1982 Living Room

There was a lot of leftover autumnal hues from the ’70s into the early ’80s and those colors are evident in this living room we showcased in 1982. Brown carpet seemed to be in a lot of homes back then before the ’80s accelerated and ushered in hypercolor T-shirts.

Find out what everyone else had in their homes back in the ’80s.

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1981 living room with big windows and skylightFamily Handyman

1981 Living Room

Most living rooms didn’t have great big windows like this one to let in oodles of natural light but you can see similar décor trends of the ’80s with the earth tones. Check out the spider plants hanging around, too. Indoor plants gained popularity in the ’70s as Americans got more Earth-conscious and continued to creep into the early ’80s. Succulents seem to be the indoor plant du jour and here are 10 succulents that make great house plants.

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Actress Joan Collins and her husband Peter Holm pose for a photographer in the living room of their home in Beverly Hills 1986Mark Sennett/AP/Shutterstock

Joan Collins Home 1986

Joan Collins was already a huge star when she stepped onto the set of Dynasty but her role as Alexis Carrington captured the attention of viewers once again. This 1986 photo of her with her husband Peter Holm captures the high end of ’80s home décor. Check out the recessed lighting and glass cabinets.

Check out more celebrity homes by looking at these insane resort homes of celebrities.

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Family-in-their-living-room-1982London Fields Studios Ltd/Shutterstock

Family Living Room 1982

This living room from 1982 showcases some of hallmarks of ’80s décor with the earthy colors but the glass coffee table really distinguishes itself as a purely ’80s item. There are probably plenty of traumatic childhood memories of children from the ’80s who broke one of those glass top tables.

Remember any of these crazy toy fads of the past?

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