Shoulder pads, leg warmers and perms are the 80s fashion trends everyone knows and loves (to hate!), but how is your knowledge of 80s home decor? From shabby chic to Memphis design and the Circle Chair, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane with our 1980s Furniture Design Guide.
Named after the Memphis Group founded by designer Ettore Sottsass in Milan, the Memphis design movement was a reaction against the straight-laced mid-century modern and minimalist trends of the 60s and 70s. Instead, Memphis design leaned more towards bright colors and prints, often with a hefty dose of kitsch for good measure.
While the Memphis Group’s ventures may have been considered commercially unsuccessful, their design style did attract a cult following. The set design of ‘Saved By The Bell’, for instance, was heavily influenced by Memphis design. Designer Karl Lagerfeld loved it so much he bought the entirety of Sottsass’ first collection.
On the opposite end of the design spectrum, the 80s saw a step back to country basics with the whole shabby chic look.
To get this look on lock, think antique lace, vintage florals and an overload of Laura Ashley. Chintz was also big at this time, complete with many a ruffle and bustle of course.
In many ways, shabby chic can be seen as the original iteration of kinfolk. Characterized by a make do and mend mentality which focused on thrift shopping and up-cycling, it was the perfect antidote to 80s yuppie culture.
We can’t talk about 80s decor without mentioning glass blocks.
Remember those square shaped blocks of wavy glass? They were the 80s way of obscuring a clear visual line into private spaces.
Aesthetically speaking, they injected a little futuristic new age charm to a space. And it seems like they might even be making a comeback thanks to the stylings of LA-based creative design group, The Archers. At least we’re skipping out on the neon this time round!
Much like the previous decades before, the 80s saw no shortage of iconic chair creations. From the minimalist functionality of the Plywood Chair to the structurally striking Bel Air Chair, this decade had something for everyone.
The Costes Chair is a particular favorite. Designed by Philippe Starck in collaboration with Italian design brand, Driade, it boasts a curved high back and three leg structure. It’s sleek, simple and, most important of all, timeless.
Calling all boho lovers! The 80s was also the decade Hans J. Wegner designed the PP130 Circle Chair. This design refines the 80s love for all things geometric into something a little more laid back and casual with macrame aesthetics.
Oh, you thought the Insta-obsession with greenery inside the home was a new thing? Well think again, because this trend has been on the interior radar since at least the 80s.
Perhaps this decade should be thought of as the invasion of greenery. Whether trailing from hanging planters, perched by the bathtub, or tucked into the corner, there was no getting away from the indoor house plant. Popular species of note were the Rubber Tree, the Fiddle Leaf Ficus and the Snake Plant.