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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.)
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.
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
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
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.
1984: Big Brother, Big Economy, Big Happenings
When George Orwell’s groundbreaking science fiction novel hit the market on June 8, 1949, it blew millions of American minds. Not only was it one of the most revolutionary novels of the 20th century, but it also established an expansive school of thought. Though the piece of fiction wasn’t exactly true to reality, it might pose the question, “What actually did happen in 1984?”
The economy was booming, DNA profiling was developed, and the space shuttle Discovery took its maiden flight. 1984 might not have gone down how Orwell predicted, but plenty of interesting stuff happened this year. Below we’ve compiled a list of the 25 biggest events of the year that made it so memorable.
What Happened in 1984?
1. Genetic fingerprinting/DNA profiling was developed.
Between two people, there are approximately three million different base pair DNA combinations. It was in 1984 that these microscopic differences began to be more widely used in forensic investigations to identify criminals. DNA profiling was a breakthrough for both the medical and criminal investigative communities.
2. The U.S. hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.
Not only was this the first Olympics to incorporate women’s marathon, women’s cycling, and synchronized swimming, but it also proved to be one of the more unique games in history. With Cold War sentiments still running rampant and in response to the US’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, the USSR and fourteen additional Eastern Bloc countries neglected to participate in these games. With such a lack of competition, the U.S. made out with a record 83 gold medals.
3. Hong Kong returns to China.
Since the first Opium War of 1842, Hong Kong had operated under British rule as an entity separate from the Chinese communist government. UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang came to the Sino-British Joint Declaration on December 19, 1984, officially designating 1997 as the year Hong Kong would retain its capitalist, democratic systems while becoming a part of the Chinese government.
4. The first MTV Video Music Awards aired.
Back when music videos were just beginning to make their mark, MTV was the channel you wanted to be on. The first-ever Video Music Awards ceremony aired September 14, 1984, and featured iconic performances by Madonna, David Bowie, and Ray Parker, Jr.
5. Indira Gandhi was assassinated.
The Prime Minister of India led a successful campaign during her early years in the position (1966-76). After a few political losses and a shift in her party platform, she won the spot again in 1980 to serve for a fourth term. After a Sikh separatist movement took over the Holy Golden Temple in Amristar in 1984 and hundreds were killed, two of Gandhi’s bodyguards, both Sikh extremists, assassinated her.
6. The Apple Macintosh Super Bowl commercial aired.
Before Super Bowl commercials had become an entire industry in their own right, Apple set the bar when it premiered its Macintosh ad on January 22, 1984. The popular tech corporation, manned by Steve Jobs at the time, spent over $900,000 (the modern equivalent of $2.2 million) on the production of the commercial, making it one of the most expensive advertisements ever produced. Pictured above is the Macintosh computer itself. Was $900,000 worth the hype? Maybe, maybe not… we’ll leave it to you to decide.
7. Miners in the UK went on strike.
This might sound like something pretty old-fashioned, but believe it or not, miners were still going on strike when you or your parents were teenagers. The National Coal Board, an agency of Margaret Thatcher’s administration, was ready to cut around 20,000 jobs and close down 20 different collieries. Over 150,000 members of the National Mineworkers Union went on strike from 1984 to 1985 and brought national, economic, and industrial systems to a near standstill.
8. Band Aid raised awareness about childhood hunger in Ethiopia with a Christmas song.
A month before the Christmas of 1984, musician Bob Geldorf recruited top artists from Britain and Ireland to release a single that would raise awareness for childhood hunger in Ethiopia. The song sold a million copies the week of its release and hit the 3 million mark before the year was over.
9. English pound notes were taken out of circulation.
The English one pound note was removed from circulation in November of ’84 and replaced with a sturdier one pound coin (pictured above) by Chancellor Nigel Lawson. The note had circulated the market for over 180 years and featured Queen Elizabeth II.
10. CIA embassy director William Francis Buckley was abducted.
On March 16, 1984, this story broke headlines all across the nation. While outside his residence in Beirut, Lebanon, William Francis Buckley was kidnapped by jihadi extremists who believed he could be used in a prisoner exchange. He was subsequently held in captivity and allegedly tortured until he succumbed to his injuries and was returned to the U.S. to be buried a year later.
11. York Minster caught fire.
On July 9, York Minster erupted in flames in the early hours of the morning. For hours, York Fire Department fought to contain the flames but eventually had to collapse the south transept in order to save the remaining structure. The fire was caused by a lightning bolt and ended up costing £2.2 million worth of damage.
12. Union Carbide Plant leaked.
In December of 1984, tragedy struck the industrial city of Bhopal, India when the Union Carbide Industrial pesticide plant leaked methyl isocyanate gas (used in the production of insecticide sprays) into the city. Over the course of a day, the gas poisoned over 2,000 people and ultimately impacted over 200,000. With such long-lasting effects, this disaster is still impacting the people of Bhopal today.
13. The longest MLB game in history happened.
On May 8, 1984, the Chicago White Sox went up against the Milwaukee Brewers, running head to head over 25 innings, eight total hours, and two straight days. The only thing that could break the two teams up was a home run by Chicago’s Harold Baines, which secured the win for the White Sox 7-6.
14. A woman ran for vice-president for the first time.
Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro was not the first female politician, but she certainly broke specific barriers that had been in place since America’s founding and continues to serve as an empowering figurehead to this day. In the 1984 election, she became the first female vice-presidential nominee to represent the Democratic party–or any major party, for that matter.
15. The National Cancer Institute successfully identified HIV.
Since the early 80s, health officials, medical researchers, and specialists everywhere had worked tirelessly in the fight against AIDS, but it wasn’t until 1984 that a true breakthrough was made. Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute and his colleagues identified the retrovirus HTLV-III, or human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. It is a disease that has caused the deaths of approximately 700,000 people to date.
16. Michael Jackson’s hair caught on fire.
In 1984, Jackson’s ill-fated Pepsi-backed live concert went horribly haywire when a major polytechnics malfunction caused a stray spark to catch in his styled hair while he was performing, lighting him on fire. The pop star sustained second and third-degree burns on his face and scalp and retained scars for the rest of his life.
17. Eddie Murphy became a superstar.
The lovable comedian and actor shot straight to stardom after his work in the Hollywood Blockbuster flick, Beverly Hills Cop (1984). In addition to the fact that Axel Foley was Murphy’s first solo role, the movie ended up grossing over $315 million at the box office! It became the top-grossing film of the year and was deemed a pop-culture phenomenon, loved by generations of Eddie Murphy enthusiasts to this day.
18. Someone rode a hot-air balloon across the Atlantic for the first time.
In September of 1984, Joseph Kittinger, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, set out to make the first-ever transatlantic flight in a hot-air balloon. He departed from Caribou, Maine, and touched ground in Montenotte, Italy 86 hours later. In total, he and Rosie O’Grady’s Balloon of Peace traveled nearly 3,600 miles–pretty impressive!
19. Footloose became a cultural phenomenon!
We all know Kevin Bacon by name, and ever since he danced his way across the silver screen back in 1984, we haven’t been able to keep the obsession at bay. These days, he’s usually found playing a more somber character, but to us, he will always be remembered as the dancing, smirking city boy Ren McCormack.
20. Prince released Purple Rain–the song and the movie.
The summer of 1984 was the summer to be listening to Prince. The rock musical drama film was nothing compared to the release of the song, which hit #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the US for two consecutive weeks and #1 in Belgium and the Netherlands.
21. The space shuttle Discovery made its maiden voyage.
The morning of August 30, 1984 had every American looking to the skies for a glimpse of the space shuttle Discovery, which made its first-ever launch out of Kennedy Space Center at 8:42 am EDT. Discovery‘s dauntless crew consisted of five men and one woman, who successfully deployed the SBS-4 satellite, the Syncom satellite, and the Telstar satellite into orbit.
22. Bruce McCandless and Robert L. Stewart made the first-ever untethered spacewalk.
Keeping with the space theme, this is one not-so-small walk for man, and one ginormous spacewalk for mankind! On February 3, 1984, two brave astronauts took the first leap into the great big (and very literal) unknown–no strings attached. Sure, they had jetpacks, but that’s hardly comforting considering the vastness.
23. Reagan won the presidential re-election by a landslide.
President Ronald Reagan was re-elected for his second four-year term in office on November 6, 1984, winning 49 of the 50 states. And, as if that wasn’t impressive enough, the president obtained a majority 97.6% of the electoral vote–the largest margin of any candidate in American history and a truly stunning feat.
24. The Soviet Union ditched the L.A. Summer Olympics.
So the Cold War was a lot more than psychological warfare, but this move was pretty much just that: psychological. After the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, the Soviets saw it only fitting to return the favor, and subsequently opted out of the 1984 games. Blame it on the 102° L.A. traffic.
25. Ghostbusters broke the box office.
This spooktastic classic comedy came out the summer of 1984, shattering Columbia Pictures’ opening weekend record with a baffling $35 million in the box office, making it the highest-grossing comedy of all time (up to 1984, of course). The film was nominated for 2 Oscars and 3 Golden Globes, and its soundtrack–which featured Ray Parker Jr.’s original song “Ghostbusters”–was even in the running for a Grammy.
20 Slang Terms from the 80’s
So maybe Reaganomics and the Just Say No campaign didn’t particularly spike your interest back in the day, but there was much more to the 80s than politics, the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a time of big hair, big dreams, and Bon Jovi. If you can look past all of the cringe-worthy neon trends and legwarmers, you’ll find that this decade was also a shining time of phat catchphrases, choice sayings, and totally gnarly slang. If you lived through these years, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
Below we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 most iconic sayings of the decade, from quippy one-liners to full-on nonsense. So if you’re looking to incorporate some totally radical throwback terms into your vocabulary, look no further.
80s Slang that Will Have You Slidin’ Down Your Shades
This was just another way of saying yes or yeah, but with a scoff and an especially sarcastic tone.
Though to you it may seem like an exclusive surfer term, the word tubular was synonymous with the word cool to everyone back in the 80s.
3. “Gag me with a spoon!”
This phrase was used to express disgust. It makes the word gross seem pretty dull in comparison.
If something in the 80s was bad, you knew it was cool or trendy. Good was still good, of course, but bad was also good–makes sense, right?
If you know this movie, you probably already know what this word means. Back in the 80s, if you found yourself stuck in or even witnessing a crappy situation, you would describe it as bogus.
6. “Don’t have a cow.”
This is a funnier way of telling someone to chill out. Kinda weird, right? Apparently, you only really deserved someone saying this to you if you were truly overreacting.
7. “No duh!”
Seeing as how this is still a commonly used phrase, we already know that you already know what it means–no duh!
8. “Not even!”
If your answer to something was no, but you wanted to emphasize it, this is what you would say. It’s the 80s equivalent of the 90s saying, “As if!”
Back in the 80s, there was no more creative and emphatic way to express disgust than this word. Grody was an expression of extreme perturbation.
10. “Like totally!”
This was a way to answer in the affirmative without really saying yes. For example, would we bring back staple 80s lingo if we could? Like, totally!
It’s highly unlikely that you don’t know what this means, but just in case you don’t, we’ve got you covered. A dude or dudette is a particularly chill individual with a knack for chillin’ out and being cool.
12. “What’s your damage?”
Back in the 80s, it was too much of an imposition to ask what someone’s problem was. You just had to dig a little deeper and accuse them of being emotionally damaged in some way.
This would be used to describe someone or something particularly awesome or amazing. For example, you might say to someone, “That is a choice pair of shoes,” or “Choice ride, dude!”
If something was described as gnarly, it was a skill you wanted to gain, a product you wanted to have, or a person you wanted to be best friends with. This word described only the coolest of the cool and the awesomest of the awesome.
Rad is still a widely used term to this day, and boy are we thankful it is! How else would we describe the most awesome parts of life?
16. “Wiggin’/ Wiggin’ out”
If someone is wiggin’ or wiggin’ out, this gif probably resembles their mental state. Duran Duran is an 80s icon, so his facial expression is a perfect fit for the meaning of the word.
17. “Eat my shorts!”
If someone were to say this to you, it meant they wanted nothing to do with you. It was a saying popularized by Bart Simpson–yet another example of how big of a deal The Simpsons was back in the 80s.
This word was used to describe something that was probably extremely new and hip. If something was fresh, it was the cool new thing.
19. “Bag your face!”
This was a particularly cruel insult that high school kids of the 80s came up with when someone’s facial appearance left something to be desired
This word is still widely used today, meant to describe something dull or unoriginal. For example, a boring party would be described as lame.
Groovy 70’s Slang
If you’re anything like us here at FamilyWise, you have tons of fond memories of the 70s. With all those disco balls and funky bellbottoms, it’s no surprise that this decade is one of the most iconic in terms of music, art, and quirky sayings. If you’re looking for ways to spice up your vocabulary or even just in the mood for some soulful nostalgia, you’ve come to the right place.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some fabulous and most groovy 70s slang terms and phrases. Take it from us, you don’t want to miss out on these excellent sayings, sensational words, and hilariously nifty expressions.
70s Slang to Remind You of Trippier Times
You would say this to an overambitious individual, someone who’s made a statement outside the realm of what you might consider realistic. In other words, if you’ve got to get someone’s head out of the clouds, this is what you would say to them. Short and not so sweet, but it gets the point across.
This is another way of letting someone know you’ve tricked them or psyched them out.
This word would have been used to describe an unbelievable idea, something so unrealistic that it was mildly offensive. In modern terms, it’s the response equivalent of “Not cool, man,” or “That’s bogus.”
This is simply a cooler way of referring to someone’s home or apartment.
“Lay a Gasser”
We try to keep our content pretty clean here at FamilyWise, so we’ll leave you to guess what this one might mean. (Hint: Think stink!)
“Can You Dig It?”
So maybe your algebra teacher never phrased the question this way when teaching you variables, but if they had back in the seventies, any student would have understood exactly what they meant. This saying was simply another way of asking, “Do you understand?” or “Do you get it?”
“I gotta skitty!”
If you’ve ever used the word skedaddle, then you already know the proper usage of this word. The phrase all together means, “I have to hurry,” or “I’ve gotta’ rush.”
“Keep on stepping”
If you wanted someone to “get outta’ here” or “keep it moving,” you would say this to them.
This was just another way of saying goodbye or farewell.
“Let’s blow this taco stand!”
You’re at a party with your friends. The music has gotten repetitive and the chips are stale. What’s the most creative way you can think of to say “Let’s get out of here.” That’s exactly what this phrase is for.
“Let’s blow up the cheese!”
People of the 70s must have just not enjoyed saying “Let’s leave,” or “Let’s get outta’ here,” so they had to come up with a bunch of different ways to say it.
“Peace, love, and granola”
The hippies of the day really lived up to their name with this one. Rather than say goodbye, they’d just say “Peace, love, and granola,” before parting.
“Peace out, home fry”
Apparently, referring to your friends as fast-food wouldn’t have earned you a bunch of weird looks back in the 1970s. This was just another way to say goodbye or “See you later.”
“Catch you on the flip-side”
This was just another way of saying “I’ll see you later,” but, like, in a cool way. We don’t know exactly what is on the flip-side, but it must be a pretty cool place for everyone wanting to catch each other there.
“Do me a Solid”
This saying is another way to ask someone for a favor. Our guess is that it sounds less like an imposition when you say it in a hip, offhand way like this. The saying is still used today, so you’ve probably heard it once or twice.
“What a Fry”
And we’re back to the fast-food references. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with calling someone a french fry–I mean, they are pretty delicious–but back in the 70s, if this particular phrase was said to you, it meant that you were acting weird or strange.
This is just another way to refer to a quick rundown of events, so the next time someone says to you, “Give me the skinny,” what they’re actually asking for is a quick overview of the situation.
Though we’re pretty sure this is still a widely-used saying, we’ll let you know what it means, anyway. If something is “far out,” it’s probably pretty cool.
If you were a cute girl in the 70s, you would’ve been considered a “bunny.” Don’t ask us why; we don’t exactly know.
1984: Big Brother, Big Economy, Big Happenings
Awesome 1980s Commercials that Helped Define a Generation
20 Slang Terms from the 80’s
Groovy 70’s Slang
Totally Tubular 1980s Interior Design Trends
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