Cringe-Worthy Home Design Fails from the 80s

Trista - October 29, 2022
Katie Jay / Pinterest

Do You Think Beige Is Bland Or Beautiful? 

Beige, beige, and more beige! When people weren’t out at the disco or doing their make-up with wild colors, they certainly loved a bit of beige in their lives. This ’80s home design even extended to the kitchen pots and pans! Once again, we see that matching was the name of the game, and it was essential to keep this going throughout the home. Neutrals are definitely popular again now, so maybe they were onto something all those years ago. 

Beige is a lovely tone for homes, whether we’re stuck in the 80s or living in a modern home. But there is such a thing as too much beige! If you’re going to go all beige and neutral, you need to find different textures and tones of the color so that it’s not a one-dimensional design. You’ll create depth and have a stunning home if you do this and do not look like your home is stuck in a timewarp! 


Goodbye to the Glass Bricks of the 1980s 

The glass blocks… We’ll never be able to forget this prominent style of the 1980s! This style was associated with sleek and modern homes – can you believe it? We’re not living in an ice hotel here or an igloo, but yet, here we are with glass bricks. This glass also used to occasionally discolor over time, making it look a million times worse than it was, to begin with. Did you have this style in your home? 

If you’ve bought a fixer-upper from the 1980s, you probably would have something like this in the home, and we hope you knocked it right down! The intent behind this was to look cool and to create divisions between rooms without having a solid wall. However, it makes the space still feel closed in because of the cutting and etching of the glass bricks. We’re delighted to be able to say goodbye to this trend and leave it behind in the past. 

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When The Bathrooms Were Extra AF

The 80s bathrooms are incredibly different from our bathrooms in the 20s now… We love minimalism, we love glass showers, and we definitely love marble. But, in the 80s, they were big fans of being super extra in their bathrooms – and once again, they loved to match absolutely everything! Shower curtains were actual curtains, then there were curtains just the same on the window, and don’t forget the matching bath mat, toilet seat cover, and toilet mat. Just when you think it can’t get any worse… 

They go and introduce faux fur toilet covers and matching toilet mats! It’s absolutely horrific and definitely the thing of nightmares. Can you just imagine all the germs trapped in those covers on your toilet seat? The color is way too extra – shouldn’t a bathroom be a super relaxing spot where you can feel like you’re visiting the spa? They didn’t believe in this in the 80s – let’s go party in the bathroom! 

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Back To The ’80s With All The Matching Prints 

We feel like we’re living in a print world with all the prints on all the surfaces – it’s way too matchy-matchy! There is print on the chair and print on the ottoman. There is print on the cushions, and, of course, there is print on the drapes! No, this isn’t Dr. Suess’s rhyme. It’s the ’80s! The 80s were all about matching as much as possible in the room. We definitely wouldn’t see much of this trend today. Today we look at how to mix and match patterns and prints, which is the total opposite of this style. 

Prints should work together harmoniously, but this style is taking it too far. Another big trend of the 80s was the tropical print, so you felt like you were on holiday in every single bedroom or living area that you walked into. Chuck out those drapes, cushions, and chairs – it’s time to pair things back and make our way into the modern-day use of prints. Surely, you’d also get terrible headaches from all this pattern?


Let’s Hope Round Beds Don’t Come Back Around 

Ah, round beds — the pinnacle of interior design in the 1980s. You weren’t living if you didn’t aspire to have a bed like this in your home. It makes us think of the Playboy Mansion, which isn’t a good thing at all. Firstly, where do you even find the bed sheets to fit something like this? It must have been custom-made because a regular fitted sheet would just look completely out of place on a bed like this. 

Round beds seem to be a staple of the upscale homes of the 80s, and, of course, they were created out of velvet or satin fabric to really go that extra mile. This bed design seems to be a thing of the past, and normal beds are back in style. You know the saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? That’s all we have to say about this bedroom trend from the 80s. 


The ’80s Were All About Wealth On Display 

Did you have a crystal cabinet in your home growing up? Well, it was part of the decor for pretty much every single upper-middle-class family! Everyone needed a place to keep their collection of crystal glasses, ornaments, and whatever Baccarat they could get their hands on. It was similar to having your China on display, and it was definitely a display of status if you could present something like this in your home. While it was still functional, it was something to show off at dinner parties. 

Homeowners in the ’80s keep these cabinets under lock and key. People only use them for special occasions such as those dinner parties where you need to show off your collection to friends. The conversation around the dinner table would most likely have been about the crystal, which overseas trip they purchased them on, or which store was able to import the glass specifically for their customer. 

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Is Wicker From The 80s Making A Comeback? 

We’ll give the 80s some credit for this one. Wicker is certainly making a comeback at the moment for outdoor furniture and even small touches of it on other furniture items such as cabinets and side tables. But this is just such a grandma style of chair – complete with the floral cushion! Wicker is a trend that we don’t mind too much from 40 years ago as long as it’s being interpreted in a modern way in homes today. 

Wicker wasn’t a total home design fail in the 80s, only that they sometimes used way too much of it isn’t an accent piece here or there. There would have been a full outdoor wicker set, complete with a table, side tables, and probably matching pool loungers just because! They sometimes get in right in the 80s with a home design trend. However, they just obsessed with it too much. Since splattering wicker everyone was a thing, it became too much very quickly. 

Old Town Home

Wallpaper Borders From the 1980s — Yikes!

They loved a good wallpaper in the 1980s, but not only that – they loved to do a wallpaper border! Wallpaper borders quickly became a trend for every single room of the house. And the wallpaper was sure to be in bold colors and patterns that clashed with the rest of the space. While we are somewhat nostalgic for the 80s, we don’t think this is a trend that should make a comeback. 

A much more stylish way to incorporate a border around a room is to do it with your wood framing and paneling. There are even some very intricate designs that look stunning in all styles of homes. Wallpaper borders were never a good idea, and it’s not something you should be looking into now. Let this trend remain in the 80s, and let’s move towards more exciting design features in our modern homes of the 2020s. 


There’s Something Fishy About This Ugly 80s Design Trend 

Fish were the coolest pets to have in your home in the 80s. You could create interesting and vibrant aquariums, which soon became popular decor features. You didn’t need to keep your fish in a small tank in your room. You could really create a focal point of this in your home. Who would have thought that an aquarium would become the centerpiece of a room? This ’80s home design was super popular for bachelors. Of course, you’d have everyone swooning over your glowing tank in the living area. 

On the downside, it was an incredibly expensive piece of decor as you had to maintain it obviously. It wasn’t just a painting that would be fine on its own. You had to feed the fish, clean the tank, and ensure oxygen levels were right. There would have been nothing worse than having a filthy fish tank with belly-up fish while having visitors over. Let’s keep this as a trend, but only if you are ready for all the responsibilities that come along with it. 


This Is An Explosion Of All The Terrible Trends of the 80s

Earlier, we shared about the terrible draping trend from the 80s, as well as their poor choice in carpets and not forgetting the wicker furniture. Oh wait, we forgot to mention the floral print was everywhere too. But what if you put all of this together in one room? It’s an explosion of all the home design fails from the 80s, and we cannot stand to look at it any longer! 

Sunrooms were a big trend, so they decided to decorate this room with all the other horrible trends from the 80s. This type of space could be so beautiful, but they’ve completely messed up the design with too many design features in one space. An area like this should be light and bright, but instead, you’re overwhelmed by pattern, print, and texture.


The Total Opposite Of The Heavy Drapery of the 80s 

Aside from the heavy drapery of the 80s, they also loved the then-modern vertical blinds. If you had a home that was considered “modern” and contemporary, you would have found vertical blinds all over the house. They used to break every five minutes but having this trend in your home was worth it. The only time we see these blinds nowadays is in office buildings! 

Compared to heavy drapery, the space feels larger and brighter instead of being weighed down by excessive curtains and heavy fabrics. There are so many amazing blinds we have access to these days, so let’s leave this design to the offices stuck in the 80s. 


We Think Memphis Design Was A Design Fail 

This ugly 80s design fail is “Memphis Design.” We saw this colorful geometric pattern all over houses in the 80s. Did you know that this style actually originated in Italy? This ’80s home style was very popular and became a booming trend. Nevertheless, it came to an end after only seven years! People then began to move away from these bright and bold designs. 

The furniture design was totally out there and strange – from chairs to coffee tables and even bizarre and geometric bookcases. One of these pieces would have made a statement, but an entire room full of them was a definite design failure. 


The Resurrection of Clear Furniture 

Art Deco initially inspired the trend of clear furniture. Don’t get us wrong, now. Art Deco was a beautiful era for interior design, but we can’t say the same for the 80s interpretation of this period. Everything was clear topped when it came to tables – can you imagine how often you would need to wipe down those surfaces for fingerprints? 

Clear furniture took on a new life in the 80s and became essential to every home. If you didn’t have a coffee table, you definitely had the side tables you were terrified of breaking, especially when you were running around the home, or your children were. 

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We Hope Never To See White Laminate Again!

Gross white laminate was everywhere in homes of the 80s! It was on the counters, on the floor, and it seems like you couldn’t look anywhere without it creeping in. It was an all-purpose material that was incredibly popular in home design and building. This material did not age well. Discoloration or imperfections were always when homeowners tried to scrub this surface over the years. Thank goodness we’ve moved on to having beautiful tiles and marble counters in our homes. 

White laminate looked incredibly cheap, and we don’t know how families from the 80s thought this was a good idea to have installed in their homes. Marble and even fake marble are much better looking (and better quality), which will stand the test of time. You never hear someone complaining about their marble countertop, but you certainly would hear complaints from someone who had a white laminate flooring or counter put into their home.