Three ’80s Decorating Trends That Are Seriously Primed For A Comeback

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Oh, the ‘80s. After the last three years, we’d give just about anything to trade iPhones and TikTok for blasting Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA on a Walkman. And aside from some stereo-worthy tunes, there were plenty of trends from the decade to marvel at. Seriously. You may immediately think of the garish, over-the-top combinations (why did so many interiors look like you weren't sure whether you were walking into an Aha music video or a teddy bear tea party?), but there are a few swoon-worthy trends worth resurrecting in 2022. Here are our picks—along with designers' tips for keeping them looking fresh.

'80s Fashion The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

1. Chintz And Floral Patterns

It’s no secret that French decor and Paris-inspired aesthetics are trending everywhere on social. And while chintz—a delicate, floral-printed cotton—is not an exclusively European textile, it gained traction in design during the ’80s, and it’s making a major comeback today. “The look was very big in Versailles before the revolution, and it has been coming in and out of favor since. Think: the Victorian era, the mid-forties with Hawaiian style prints, the restoration of the White House historical rooms by Jackie Kennedy, up to Lady Di’s influence on the ’80s with her Laura Ashley dresses,” writes designer Daniela Venezia on Design Pool.

80s decorating trends sanderson home
Sanderson Home

So, how do you keep them from looking dated? “Choose the boldest pattern first, then select the other patterns and wall colors using it as a guide,” suggests Venezia. She adds: “Bold patterns with colored and textured grounds add warmth and depth to rooms.” Pair it with streamlined (read: more minimalist, less ornate) furniture so it doesn’t feel old-timey.

Shop the Look: Classic Blue Chintz Peel and Stick Wallpaper ($112); Claudine Printed Pillow Cover ($59); Cranford 16-Piece Dinnerware Set ($76)

80s decorating trends lucite accents
Design: Cara Woodhouse | Photo: Matthew Placek

2. Lucite Accents

Ah, Lucite. Nothing says minimalist-glam more than an acrylic accent (which also happens to be scratch- and shatter-resistant). And if you’re wondering why everyone is so obsessed with this retro staple, we have one word for you: versatility. “Lucite is unpretentious clear acrylic with a 93 percent transparency rate. It stands out ironically by letting the materials around it be seen and even highlighted,” explains Kevin Tolbert, e-commerce coordinator of Gabby home furnishings, adding that its transitional style makes it work well in a variety of spaces.

80s decorating trends jonathan adler
Jonathan Adler

While Lucite certainly fits the Scandi-style and ultra-minimalist decor trends of today, you can downplay the material by mixing it with woods, upholstery and mixed metals. “Want to really notice a dining table? Surround it with clear plastic chairs. Want to show off a 200-year-old apothecary used as a bar table? Line it with transparent acrylic bar stools. How about featuring the marquetry on a custom kitchen island? Try seating it with see-thru Plexi counter stools. Want to show off an 18th-century needlepoint settee? Use a scintillating pair of Lucite nesting tables. You get the point,” says Tolbert.

Shop the Look: Tube Top Pendant Light ($150); Clear Acrylic Cube Shelf ($39); Rollins Acrylic Bar Cart ($254)

80s decorating trends cat

3. Deep Sofas

The last (and coziest) resurgence we’re seeing from the decade of glitz and glam is the deep sofa. We’re talking about those slouchy sectionals, overstuffed cushions and curvy silhouettes that have been inundating your feed. “You may have seen [deep] sofas popping up on your feeds because although originally designed in the [‘80s], they are completely Postmodern and freaking cool,” writes design guru Emily Henderson. “I was trying to figure out how to describe this style of sofa, and the first thing that came to mind was that it looks like the chicest muffin top in the world…The overstuffed, soft nature of the piece is given a beautiful and necessary architectural structure with the tubular bars. Chubby: Check. Round: Check. Totally Tubular: Check.”

80s decorating trends article

But of course, you want to ensure your sofa’s chunky silhouette blends with the rest of your decor. The best way to do this? Selecting upholstery, finishes and frames that skew more modern and minimalist. Think: crisp linen or cotton fabrics, soft neutral colors and metallic legs for an updated yet understated feel. After all, a new sofa is an *investment* and you want to make sure that you’re using this trend with longevity in mind.

Shop the Look: Texada Taos Tan Sofa ($2,329); Emilio Recessed Arm Sofa with Reversible Cushions ($950); Relaxed Saguaro Leather Sofa ($4,798); Extra Deep Haven Sectional (from $1,099)

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Assistant Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Assistant Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...