80’s Home Décor Trends That are Making a Comeback

Photo taken from Etsy's Website

When I think about the 80’s, design trends are some of the last things that come to mind. Perms, disco balls, and neon workout clothes are some of the first, and probably things I would leave in the 80’s. The design trends, however, are worth bringing back. My design style resonates a lot with the 80’s. Chunky furniture, retro colors, patterns, bold accessories, etc. are always incorporated into all the apartments I’ve lived in. If this kind of stuff excites you, then read on!

Memphis Design

Have you ever heard of Memphis design? It was a movement that started in 1981 in Milan, Italy that focused on both abstraction and color. It was founded by one of my favorite designers, Ettore Sottsass, and later formed into a group called the Memphis group. The name came from one of Sottsass’ favorite songs, “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” The group designed postmodern furniture, lighting, fabrics, carpets, ceramics, glass and metal objects. The movement ended in 1987, when the group found it difficult to sustain their success and stay relevant. However, vogue has made it pretty clear that Memphis design is and has always been in, as Memphis design constantly makes its way into vogue’s popular trends.

So, what exactly does Memphis design / 80’s decor look like?

1. Pops of neon

Photo taken from Hunker's Website

Like I mentioned above, when you think of the 80’s, you can’t not think neon. In today’s design world, accent pieces and accent colors are extremely popular. Every room could use a pop, whether it’s a minimalist or maximalist room. I personally like to add pops of neon through accessories such as a bold colored lamp or picture frame, or through an accent piece such as a side table or piece of art. Because neon colors are stark, they are typically the first place your eyes go. Therefore, you should be thinking to yourself, “what is my goal with adding neon?”, “How much attention do I want it to take up?”

2. Brass, Brass, & More Brass

Photo taken from Crate & Barrel's Website

The 80’s was bold, colorful, & extremely loud, much like brass. Whether it’s the material of the legs of your table or of your book shelf or bar cart, brass can be incorporated in both minimalist and maximalist ways.

3. Unorganized Arrangements of Geometric Forms & Clashing Colors

Photo taken from Malibar's Website

If symmetry, organization, and neutral colors are your thing, then these kinds of arrangements might drive you a little crazy. I personally think there’s more balance in asymmetry and I think that clashing colors give a younger, and more fun vibe. Though all the objects together look like a giant mess, each item is strategically and carefully made.

4. Plastic Laminate

Plastic Laminate Samples by Ettore Sottsass

Put simply, plastic laminated products are used as surface material for furniture or as wall paneling. It’s basically multiple layers of thin paper that are later soaked in melamine resin. Once heated, the paper becomes hard. The amount of styles, colors, and textures you can pick from are endless!

5. Pastel Colors

Photo by Monica Kim

If you’re not a huge fan of bold or neon colors, try some pastels. Pastels were a big trend in the 80’s. I would recommend painting your walls in a soft color and then accessorizing with many other soft pastel colors. For example, my room in Miami is a soft pastel pink, and I have a bookshelf that has almost every pastel colored book on it, much like the photo above. My couch is a neutral color but my throw pillows and throw blankets are all pastel colors.

6. Chunky Furniture

Photo taken from De Sede's Website

Deep seated sofas are more than in. I especially love the contrast between a super modern coffee table and a chunky old fashioned couch. I also find that chunky furniture tends to be some of the most comfortable and visually appealing.

7. Rounded Décor Pieces

Photo by Lyc Vintage

Lamps, candles, candle holders, vases, etc., the list goes on and on of the rounded décor pieces you could buy. Add a little color to them and boom, it’s officially considered 80’s style!

5 Famous Memphis Design Objects

Esperance Box

Nathalie Du Pasquier. Esperance Box, Objects for the Electronic Age series, 1984.

Westside Lounge Armchair

Ettore Sottsass. Westside Lounge Armchair, 1983.


Alessandro Mendini. Calamobio, 1985-88.

Ashoka Table Lamp

Ettore Sottsass. Ashoka Table Lamp, 1981.

Stanhope Bed

Michael Graves. Stanhope Bed, 1982.
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