Retrocon 2024

6 Decorating Tips From the 1980s To Use Today

Zanone, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 1980s was an era of excess in nearly every conceivable way. The fashions, music, and even the cars encouraged you to live life to its fullest. Even as the decade slips further into memory, there are some fantastic 80s styles that can truly bring your home to life.

Neon trimmings

If you were asked to think of one defining image of the 1980s it might well be neon! Neon was everywhere, from signs to storefronts; it even appeared on clothing. Not everybody will want to transform their home into a neon-drenched vision, but touches of light here and there can make a room pop. Consider adornments such as neon picture frames (rather than detracting from the image, these actually draw attention to it) and neon wall art.

Go big with brass

Brass was another massive design trend in the 80s, and if used correctly it doesn’t look at all out of place in the modern home. Brass shelves or even countertops look stunning, are easy to clean, and are extremely durable. The beauty of brass is that it can be either minimalistic or luxurious depending on its setting. Brass shelves have a contemporary look in a scaled-back, airy room, whereas a brass lighting fixture makes a decadent addition to an opulent dining area.

Pastel colors are your friend

The 1980s was an era of bright colors and, perhaps even more importantly, color contrasts. While some of these might seem garish nowadays, pastel colors are beautiful when used correctly. Softly painted walls can be paired with pastel-colored upholstery for a cozy, homely look that remains just about quirky enough to stand out. Indeed, light blues and greens are extremely relaxing and are the perfect tonic when you need to de-stress after a long day at work.

Make the furniture chunky

Sailko, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Furniture in the 1980s had a futuristic, almost spacey aesthetic due mostly to its chunky design. Rounded tables, deep-set sofas, and bulging chairs were popular, and they look just as stylish today. Better still, add some chunky furniture to a more minimalistic room for a truly futuristic contrast.

Bring in the palms

Houseplants are undergoing a massive resurgence in popularity (brought on in part by the pandemic) but there’s nothing new about incorporating some foliage into your home. Palms were hugely popular during the 1980s and they’re one of the most versatile houseplants you'll find. Most can handle a bit of neglect and are well suited to all but the harshest light conditions. Use them on shelves or as floor plants to conjure those 80s vibes.

Research Memphis design

If the 1980s could be associated with one design trend only, it would probably be Memphis. This Italian aesthetic originated in 1981 and rapidly became synonymous with 1980s stylings. It featured vivid colors, abstract designs, and embraced everything that was bold. With hints of art deco and even some surrealist touches, Memphis will make your home feel like another world.

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