Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design

By: Sarah Beaumont

May 10, 2016

Let’s be honest—the 1980s are not the most stylish decade in history. From big, bad hair to neon parachute pants, it’s no wonder that many people want to forget the period ever happened. But in the quick world of design, nearly all trends end up recycled at some point. And when you give those salvaged styles a contemporary twist, even the most dated designs can be cool again. We’re looking at you, 1983.

So give your puffy hair a pat down, rev up the DeLorean and set the flux capacitor to the ’80s, because this decade’s trends are making their way back into interiors.


Pastels
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via International Collection of Interior Design / Bed Nest

via International Collection of Interior Design / Bed Nest

There’s no question that during the ’80s, design with lots of color got an A+, but pastels were equally as big as brights. Interiors with soft, blush pink walls and pastel throw pillows have basically taken over our Pinterest boards, and they look eerily similar to spaces that were born in 1985.


Southwestern Style
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, Nation Trendz

Nation Trendz

During the 1980s, southwestern home décor spread across the U.S. faster than a California wildfire. It was totally cool to throw a Navajo blanket over your bed or paint your living room walls a vibrant shade of orange.

Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via Amber Interiors

via Amber Interiors

Today, southwestern design is equally as awesome, but the level of kitsch has been taken down a few notches and replaced with a more understated, modern desert style.


Pop Art
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via House Beautiful / Architectural Digest

via House Beautiful / Architectural Digest

With the decade’s love for bright colors, it’s no surprise that the vibrant, primary-toned pop art of the 1960s made a comeback in the ’80s. As trends tend to repeat themselves, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein are also favorites in today’s design world.


Brass
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via Archi Living / House of Hipsters

via Archi Living / House of Hipsters

Bold, bright, and shiny were the answers to all things design in the ’80s, so you can expect that the use of brass in interiors encapsulated all of the above. Nowadays, it’s more common for burnished brass to be used as a subtle accent on lighting fixtures and table legs.


Memphis Design
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via Supreme Interiors / House Beautiful

via Supreme Interiors / House Beautiful

Judging by its name, “Memphis Design” looks nothing like you think it would and that’s exactly the point. This unrestricted style, created by a group of Italians in the ’80s, is on the up and up. With its bold colors, geometric shapes, and whimsical prints, it’s been called a cross between Miami Vice and Pee-Wee’s Playhouse or Bauhaus meets Fisher-Price.

Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, Creative Market / Masque Spacio

Creative Market / Masquespacio

The look is probably the most popular recycled design trend from the ’80s, having recently been adopted by retailers like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. Quirky patterns adorn the surfaces of textiles, vases, and other home décor elements while pastel gradients and bright, graphics have taken over Instagram.


Flame Stitch
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, We Follow Pics / Tidbits and Twine

We Follow Pics / Tidbits and Twine

A flame stitch pattern has a way of firing up an interior. Often encompassing chevron, ikat, and bargello prints all at once, it’s no wonder that this eclectic fabric never really went out of style. In the ’80s, a matching flame stitch may have appeared on everything from the window treatments to the chairs, but today it’s more often mixed in with other patterns and textures.


Miami Style
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via Pinterest / Dwell

via Pinterest / Dwell

Miami Vice-style glass houses of the ’80s may have had a little more pizazz than the sleek modern versions we see now, but with their big windows and spiraling staircases, these white-hot spaces have shown staying power.


Jungle Print
Back to the Future: The Return of the ’80s in Design, Laurel & Wolf, via Los Angeles Times California Home Book / Brit + Co

via Los Angeles Times California Home Book / Brit + Co

The ’80s were nothing if they weren’t fun, but the 21st century has proven that it can be fun, too! While the look is a little less wild, eclectic palm prints and exotic plant life are still turning interiors into jungle oasis’s.

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