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Totally Tubular 1980s Interior Design Trends

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The 1980s were a time of gnarly outfits, big hair, and neon dreams. With all the over digitized music, cringy cat photoshoots, and laser wallpapers, it was truly a weird time. But let’s give those 80s artists and culture creators some credit where credit is due. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t still reaping the benefits of this particular brand of pop-culture–especially when it comes to interior design.

Here at FamilyWise, we recognize just how big of an impact this particular decade had. And it goes without saying that there is more to the 80s than meets the eye, but for now, we’ll just be focusing on the “what meets the eye” part. Below we’ve compiled 20 of both the raddest and whackiest 80s interior design trends of the decade for your quarantine enjoyment.

The Most Bodacious 1980s Interior Design Trends

1. Vertical Blinds

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Source: mirror80.com

If you were to remember any particular 80s interior design trend the most, it’d probably be this one. Vertical blinds were the set standard for every suburban dream home back in the day, and if you grew up in the 80s, it’s more than likely you remember your parents getting overly frustrated with these things’ easy breakage and lack of adequate sunlight blockage.

2. Tiled Countertops

Though they technically became a prevalent trend in the 70s, tiled countertops booked their way into 80s homes as well. I mean, come on! What’s not to love? Who doesn’t enjoy putting in a little extra elbow grease to scrub grape juice stains out of the grout?

3. Honey Oak Cabinets

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Source: pinterest.com

Your grandma’s house probably still looks a little bit like this–subbing the modern designer pots with cat cookie jars and feline porcelain memorabilia, of course. But if you’re anything like us here at FamilyWise, this hue definitely brings back more than a few distinct kitchen-related memories for you.

4. Glass Blocks

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Source: pinterest.com

You thought we would forget about these trippy things? No way! Whether or not this interior design trend was intended to look this wonky or not, they were an extremely popular stylistic choice back in the day. Glass blocks were likely to show up anywhere in your typical 80s floorplan. The kitchen? No surprise there. Dining room? Absolutely. Even your typical suburban master bathroom wasn’t safe!

5. Heavy Curtains

If you were to sum up the 80s in one word, it would be over-the-top–which is ironic because that’s technically three words in one. Either way, it’s a perfect way to describe this particular interior design trend. Extravagant curtains were the exact opposite of those flimsy vertical blinds. You might even say the interior designers of the day overcompensated a little bit on both sides of the window covering spectrum.

6. Mauve

Back in the 80s, this was the color of every girl’s toy dollhouse–and actual house, for that matter. Sparked by the death of the famous painter Georgia O’Keefe, the mauve movement not only moved through the world of art but made a splash in the interior design sphere, as well. Whether it was you, your sister, your mother, or your grandmother, you probably knew someone whose room was absolutely drowning in this color.

7. Memphis-Milano Design

Okay, so we’ve got a few pretty gnarly interior design trends listed here, but this one definitely takes the cake. You might think it’s a bit of an acid trip to look at now, but these whacky geometric designs and odd color combos themed everything from TV shows like Saved By the Bell to everyday, household wallpapers back in the 80s. Believe it or not, Memphis Design was actually inspired by a conglomeration of eccentric Italian artists, Bob Dylan, and rainbows. Makes weird sense, don’t you think?

8. Etched Glass

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Source: pinterest.com

Whether it was a decorative mirror hanging in your entryway or the revolving glass door to your office building, these odd (and sometimes downright weird) etchings were practically everywhere in the 80s. The designers of the day were most likely going for an elegantly stylistic vibe, and maybe it worked… for about six years. Now, we can look back and chuckle at the concept of mirrors specially designed to block your reflection and windows specially designed to block your view.

9. Carpeted Bathrooms

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Source: pinterest.com

Believe it or not, these actually existed at one point in history. However, there’s no point in dwelling on the mistakes of the past. All we can do is move forward. But let’s take a moment of silence for those who did have to suffer through the era of carpeted toilet closets–gag. We would rather revert to outhouses than experience a resurgence of this particular trend, thank you very much!

10. Novelty Telephones

Before colorful iPhones were the apple of anyone’s eye–haha, get it?–these chunky at-home receivers were the coolest things around. Anyone who was anyone incorporated one of these once-enviable atrocities into their bedroom decor scheme. Holding a bright red upper lip to your ear while gossiping with your BFF and painting your nails on your bed was apparently the 80s adolescent epitome of cool.

11. Deco Art

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Source: mirror80.com

As far as art goes, these pieces ain’t too bad in and of themselves. But when you hang something like this in a room with–let’s say–honey oak cabinets, an etched glass block wall, and/or heavy curtains over some vertical blinds, what you get is a modern interior designer’s worst nightmare, a feng shui travesty of the most epic proportions, a mockery of the very word art. (Okay, so maybe not that drastic, but you get the idea.)

12. Chintz

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Source: pinterest.com

Princess Diana was wearin’ it. The whole neighborhood was upholsterin’ it. And you… you were probably just skimmin’ over the latest issue of Tiger Beat surrounded by it. Chintz was one of the more subtle 80s interior design trends, but it definitely had its shining moment in the suburban household spotlight.

13. Pastels

So this definitely isn’t the most cringe-worthy of interior design hallmarks on our list, but it’s got that distinct 80s feel. Pastels combined the neon craze of the time with some more toned-down, at-home aspects. Even so, it’s still a bit of a trip looking at a photo like this, especially if you were one of those pastel-loving 80s parents–or one of their children, for that matter.

14. Lacquer Furniture

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Source: domino.com

If you thought you’d seen the last of this plastic sheen on furniture back in 1989, you were wrong. According to several design magazines and YouTube videos, lacquer furniture is making a strong comeback. Whether it’s all the vintage-loving Millenials looking for cheap, durable furniture designs or just pure nostalgia, this trend will forever remain a unique 80s creation in our book.

15. Bulky Entertainment Centers

They didn’t have flat screens yet, but with the wall space these monoliths occupied, they might as well have. Back in the 80s, the bigger your entertainment center was, the better. After all, it wasn’t real entertainment if it wasn’t framed by the plasticized remains of an entire tree.

16. Japanese Decor

Obviously, this is one of the more palatable trends on our list, and we’ll admit, it even looks nice. Props to the designers of the day that initiated the Zen movement and inspired this trend. It’s one of the very few redeeming qualities of the world of 1980s interior design.

17. American Gigolo Style

Richard Gere is pretty timeless, but this particular 1980s design trend with its over-the-top modernistic vibe and vague marble sculptures is not. Maybe in the next 50 years, it’ll make another comeback, but until then, we’d rather keep this in the movies.

18. Country Style

This was one of those trends that erupted and, to this day, hasn’t quite gone away. Maybe it was something about the old-western feel that toned down the neon spunkiness of the decade and reminded people of simpler times, but either way, it’s probably one of the more lasting interior design trends on our list.

19. Balloon Valances

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Source: meador.org

Whether on your prom dress sleeves or on curtains, balloon valances were all the rage back in the 80s. You would think interior designers would have figured out how to decorate windows by then, but apparently no one had any better ideas than to bring bad fashion into the game.

20. Wallpaper Borders

As if the pastels and the carpeted bathrooms weren’t bad enough, these floral wallpaper borders quickly became the most normalized decorative details in the world. All in all, they’re pretty harmless, so it makes sense that they’d be the last decorative objects of ridicule on our list.

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