In 1987, Ronald Reagan was our president, Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Alan Greenspan took over as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. American Motors was acquired by the Chrysler Corporation, Microsoft released Windows 2.0 and Fox Broadcasting made its prime-time television debut. We listened to some of the top hits that year by Whitney Houston, Madonna and U2, and flocked to the box office to see Lethal Weapon, The Princess Bride and Dirty Dancing.
And in 1987, the first interior designer was brought on board at RLPS! The goal to provide a full range of integrated architectural and interior design services remains our mission today. A few of our interior designers shared photos of themselves in 1987 for the header photo above.
RLPS Interiors has come a long way since 1987. Today our team includes 15 interior designers, 7 who have earned NCIDQ certification and 5 who are LEED Accredited Professionals. To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are highlighting some contemporary trends that echo interior design features that were popular in the late ‘80s. Although it may not seem like the most stylish decade, a quick review of current magazines, HGTV shows and Pinterest boards reveals a number of clearly ‘80s-inspired trends.
Brass is Back!
Metals, including brass, are back. However, the shiny brass chandeliers of the past have been replaced with a more nuanced approach like gold leafing on antiqued frames. Instead of the highly polished, bold and brash brass from 1987, we now have burnished brass used as an accent on lamps, picture frames or table legs. Today’s metals include softer, warmer options like copper and rose gold. Design experts are also predicting a shift in the coming months away from super shiny imitation copper toward a more industrial aesthetic with black steel and burnished metals. Another trend that continues today is avoiding the “matchy-matchy look of the ’80s, and instead opting for a mix of warm and cool metallics and even adding in a few neutral metals like iron or oil rubbed bronze.
Primed for Patterns
Patterns that were popular in the 1980s such as chevrons, geometric shapes, and flame stitching are all making a comeback for a design aesthetic that experts describe as “playful but sophisticated.” This is a big change from the early 2000s, when we tended to avoid patterns. As patterns make their way back into our residential and commercial spaces, it’s common to see a patterned chair paired with a neutral couch.
The centuries-old flame stitch embroidery pattern is turning up on furniture, wallpaper and accessories. Modern geometric and chevron designs are increasingly popular for curtains, bedding, pillows, and rugs. For all patterns, the current trend is to make them bigger than their ’80s counterparts, with an emphasis on large, outlined geometric patterns.
Several of the color trends from the ’80s are making their way back into contemporary design. Bold, bright colors, such as teal, burgundy and navy were abundant in the ’80s, but pastels were equally as popular. In fact, we frequently still find lingering examples of the blush pink, soft mauve and baby blues that were so widely used for commercial applications during this era.
Pinks are back in a big way, but this time around you’ll typically see soft pinks paired with neutrals like gray, white and black or bold pink tones used as an accent rather than the ’80s monochromatic design approach where even the wood incorporated pink tones. Vibrant jewel tones are also staging a comeback, but also more frequently used to provide pops of color in lieu of an entire room theme. While most designers prefer muted tones for walls and furniture, introducing bright color accents adds visual interest and appeal. Many of today’s color trends such as emerald greens, blues and pinks are bold, but fortunately they stop short of the blinding neon colors we saw in the ‘80s.
The ’80s may be back, but as is often the case, today’s interpretations of yesterday’s styles have been modified into what most would agree are better forms than the originals.
Stacy Hollinger, IIDA, Partner, has been providing commercial design services for more than 23 years. Although she has many fond memories from the 80s, clients appreciate her commitment to melding current trends with timeless detailing.
For additional information:
Have you ever heard of Memphis style? It’s another ‘80s trend making a comeback.
This Houzz article provides more information about the history of the Flame Stitch Pattern.
Wondering which other 80s styles are back? This Laurel and Wolf article highlights a few others.
Blog Editor: Jodi Kreider, LEED AP