18 August 2012

Home Decor: Living Rooms To Die For - 1980s Style!

Black was the colour... highly popular for furniture in the mid-to-late 1980s. Argos catalogue, spring/summer 1989.

In the 1980s, there was something of a revolution in home decor. Rather than follow mass trends, many more people wanted to be individualistic and felt it was important that their homes said something about them and, most importantly, their lifestyle. The '60s, despite its reputation for being thoroughly modern, had a passion for Victoriana and the 1920s. The '70s had continued many of the '50s and '60s trends whilst exhibiting a strong hankering for retro of all sorts.

In the mid-1980s, with credit booming, we asked ourselves would our home be ultra modern? Or antique effect? Black became hugely popular (remember black ash and those black tables, corner units and so on?). TV casings joined the black trend in the late 1980s as the old wood effect finally said farewell. Other coloured TV casings were available in the mid-1980s. Cloth bottomed and backed directors' chairs (very Hollywood!) in black or bright colours became household furnishings (it was all so stylish!), and futons became mega. In the decade of yuppies, it was appropriate that vertical boardroom blinds appeared at house windows.

Black ash effect lounge unit and a sofa bed - Argos, 1989. The black, grey and red patterning is incredibly 1980s!

Some people were overly grandiose. A friend of mine, living in an ex-council house, had a huge chandelier suspended from the ceiling in her miniscule lounge. Window blinds became narrower and were highly popular in black or red. Standing up-lighters - particularly with black supports - became a wow, and wall up-lighters swept back late in the decade, in antique or modern stylings. Once again, the watch word was style, darling!

In the 1980s, we stripped out the darned awful wallpaper which had blighted the '70s (those designs dated back to the late 1960s anyway) and went for pastel colours or strange slanting striped wallpaper which made your eyes go funny. My mother bought some particularly awesome wallpaper for the lounge circa 1984: it showed part of the interior of what appeared to be some sort of castle, with an archway, some stairs and a window repeating all over it. It was grey and white. LOVELY!

Index catalogue, 1989.

Does anybody else remember the mid-to-late '80s trend for having a light suspended from the ceiling low over the dining table? It gave things a faintly "gamblers' den" appearance and I'm sure many decor buffs thought it the height of style. Well, I remember going to dinner at a friend's house circa 1987. There were three of us there and we had been having a political discussion between courses. I recall that the topic of conversation was Ronald Reagan. I got up to go to the loo, conversing quite passionately (politics provoked passionate feelings in many of us back then!) and, waving my arms about as I'm apt to do whilst conversing passionately, I became entangled with the light shade, denting it, causing the bulb to fall out, and setting the shade swinging furiously.

Stylish the "gamblers' den" lighting might have been, but practical it was not - particularly if you wanted to encourage spirited conversation at your dinner party! 

1 comment:

Col91R said...

I was a kid in the 90's and I swear the black decor look was still in fashion! Our living room had a really nasty looking black flower emobossed wallpaper, black tv unit, grey flowery sofas.. Hideaous but it lookec so good at the time, haha.