Eighties style is like so back.
By Theresa Rolen Long
Some of us dreaded the “What’s Hot and What’s Not” lists of the ’80s. Teen beats, fashion magazines, school newspapers all doling random rulings of cool. No one dared question the commandments handed down by these neon arbiters of style. Instead, we wasted time squeezing our uniquely shaped identities into a one-size-fits-all uniform hotness. For if you wore, watched, drove, listened to, or looked like anything deemed a “not,” you were flirting with social disaster.
The ’80s were a time when fashions flipped on a dime. It was impossible to predict the moment that feathered bangs would fly away or jelly shoes would reach their expiration date. We frantically flipped through Seventeen for the most current looks to parrot. Marathon landline discussions with VBFFs yielded crucial consensus on what’s cool this week and what we were all wearing tomorrow (and of course, who’s cute).
Chasing trends was a pressure-filled game back then—enough to make one run for the hills in her Reebok high tops. Yet none dared sit on the sidelines, because ultimately, it was so fun. Shoulder pads, high waists, statement belts, white pumps, ruffles….
Love it or not, the ’80s are back! High fashion houses have been rolling out flattering modern interpretations. And interior designers have jumped on the first-wave bandwagon. So in true flashback form, here are some ’80s interior design trends making the cut for the what’s hot list in 2016:
Preppy style. Remember the pink and green, always together, like George Michael and Andrew Ridgely? From blush to pearly to fuschia, pink is the popular color this year, and it looks particularly modern when paired with mossy green. Washed-out pastels, khaki, plaid, tiny cool prints, stripes, and starched whites—the prep look is in.
Dramatic color. As antidote to the earthy, muted ’70s, the ’80s were all about bold and brash color, including large swaths of black. Colors were saturated and sometimes clashing. Today, dramatic color is being used in more fluid, unexpected ways. Think bright color on ceilings, floors, in artwork, or as accents. Or daring shades on sofas and dining chairs.
Geometric prints. The patterns of the ’80s—geometric triangles, squiggles, lightning bolts, animalistic dots in black and white and neon pastels—covered every Trapper Keeper in town. Memphis prints are resurging, and wallpaper—both computer-generated and hand-painted—is a great way to capture the graphic fun in your home. Geometric prints and pop art also pair well with classic, streamlined mid-century modern style.
Flatweave rugs. The pendulum swung on ’70s shag when we started laying cotton on the floor. And cotton rugs are again rising in popularity. The modern take on carpeting and rugs is low-profile, extremely durable, and easy to clean. Dhurries are being tossed on the floor in every room and on top of natural-fiber rugs for a layered look. Wall-to-wall wool carpeting remains on the rise and is thinner and tougher than ever before.
Traditional furniture. The Reagans brought a sense of style and class to the White House that many conservative homes in the ’80s honored with replication. Antiques, Old World art, and heavy textiles became popular. Today, modern minimalism is still happening, but can be seen with traditional infusions. There is a rising desire to make our homes feel grounded in history and also a noted responsibility to recycle. One way to accomplish both is with antiques. Dark wood furniture and roll-armed or skirted upholstery (think classic Ralph Lauren) give homes a timeless gentrification and refine the edgy, industrial look we’ve lived with for awhile.
Lucite. It started in the ’70s but hit its stride in the ’80s. From chunky to waterfall, lucite tables work well in almost any design scheme. High-quality brass and glass tables are also on trend. And don’t forget to top them off with well-framed family photos.
Chintz. Colorful floral fabrics are back in action and being used on chairs, pillows, windows, and walls. Don’t roll your eyes—the new offerings are unusual and large in scale, and feel edgy and fun, not prim. Technological advances in textile treatments provide durable, beautiful sheens. But regarding wallpaper borders—don’t do it. They’re fussy and just not hot.
Dressed windows. Simple linen curtains are timeless. But in keeping with the resurgence of ’80s awesome, fancy windows are making a comeback! Heavy fabrics draped on elegant hardware with passementerie touches (trims, tapes, bands, and tiebacks). It’s all in the decadent decade’s details.
It’s exciting to see ’80s offerings in magazines, catalogs, and storefronts. But this time around, there’s no pressure to buy into it all. Individualism is in. People want to stand out and be trend-starters, not just followers. In our image-saturated, post-digital world, almost anything goes. And with regard to today’s design styles, almost everything is happening. So whether your home resembles Ferris’s or Cameron’s, there’s probably an ’80s touch or two your circle of VBFFs will find hot enough to grace your stylish homes.