We know an ’80s interior design revival is headed our way, but when it comes to decor, ’80s style hasn’t exactly been embraced by large numbers of antique dealers and vintage furniture shop owners. Yet. But have no fear–while you’re waiting for ’80s interior design finds to become readily available, there ARE places to look for your next purchase, as well as many sources of inspiration. Here are some of our favorites:
Not kidding. This has been my single biggest source of ’80s finds. Why? Because now is the peak time for people to shed and donate their belongings from the 1980s. And since the ’80s interior design revival has yet to hit in a big way, there aren’t too many folks hunting for this stuff. Take advantage of this time, and stock up! I’ve found a slew of ’80s art (AMAZING pieces) and ceramics for next to no cost, like the ’80s Deco vases pictured at the right. Shopping at Goodwill takes some patience, as well as the ability to see the potential in an object stacked on top of several plates and surrounded by old glassware. But persevere–it’s SO worth it! Other good bets: Savers, Salvation Army thrift stores, and yard sales.
Local Vintage Shops
Stores that carry vintage furniture (or often a combination of furniture, clothing and collectibles) are a great source of ’80s finds. While you may be quick to dismiss a shop because the main focus seems to be Mid-Century or ’70s items, know that the ’80s are working their way back into the mix.
One of my personal favorites is Room Service Vintage in Austin, Texas. Like most vintage shops, their merchandise is not ’80s-focused, but I can always find a few treasures from my favorite decade, such as this artwork by Ed Mell (pictured left). Check out my articles on ’80s design featuring tips from Room Service expert vendor Bill Goodpasture in Part 1 and Part 2. Another benefit of checking local vintage shops: dealers are often very aware of which pieces are ’80s and can quickly point you to them–after all, there’s just nothing like ’em!
We begin by pointing you to The 80’s Gallery, an online ’80s art, furniture and collectibles shop stocked by expert dealers Ken McGavin and Katie Cobler. All ’80s, all designer, all quality. This is the top of the line if you’re looking to purchase ’80s treasures at their finest, such as the Patrick Nagel Ponytail Canvas pictured to the right. Not only are Ken and Katie an endless wealth of knowledge in their field, they’ve continuously lent an amazing array of images for a variety of Mirror80 blog posts.
More common than an entire internet store of ’80s items is an online shop of vintage pieces interspersed with ’80s treasures. It may be a handful of items, but finding that diamond in the rough makes the search well worth it. Check out the links below for some internet vendors who carry ’80s items:
- eBay store Vintage Views Consignment and Consulting for designer ’80s furnishings and collectibles
- eBay store Source My Eye for Design for high end ’80s furnishings
- eBay store Chatsworth Auction Rooms for ’80s furnishings both traditional and modern
- eBay store Posters Please for quality ’80s poster art
- Etsy shop Villa Collezione for an assortment of ’80s tabletop decor
Like finding a crystal in a pile of pebbles, at times you’ll make an “’80s resource” discovery so valuable, it becomes an endless source of inspiration. We’ve blogged about the books pictured at the left and acknowledged their undeniable impact on Mirror80.com. They are effective precisely because they were written in the ’80s, without the filter of scrutiny about which pieces would hold up and which wouldn’t, without apologizing for bold statements or trends that would turn into nothing more than fads. Turns out it’s time to revisit some of these fads. Affordable through Amazon.com, the design resources below are well worth checking out:
- The Decorating Book by Mary Gilliatt
- Decoration and Design for the 80’s by Pamela Ferguson
There are times when you’re fortunate to have the expertise of those design enthusiasts and bloggers who know their field so well, their websites are regular reference points and idea-starters. In fact, these sources have been so generous with their time and help, they’ve secured a special place in the heart of Mirror80. Here they are–two of my favorite internet stops:
- The Flickr photostream of Memphis-Milano collector Dennis Zanone showcases an amazing display of ’80s modern treasures, all impeccably photographed. From rooms full of candy-colored furniture to chic tabletop collectibles, there’s something here for everyone, especially those with an eye for bold design.
- With a love for all things retro, design blog Retrophilia has an entire ’80s section. From photos of 1980s IKEA catalogs to posts on the artwork of Syd Brak, this blog is committed to covering the world of ’80s interior design. Written in Swedish, the text is easily converted to your language of choice with the help of “Google translate” in some browsers. The blog’s author regularly hits flea markets and shops online for amazing ’80s finds. It’s fun to follow her design projects and treasure hunts, and to see how the 1980s put its stamp on Sweden. If only I could travel there and shop those flea markets–such a wealth of ’80s modern finds.
The Blog Posts
- Decor Time Machine: The 80s by Catrin Morris. This piece from Apartment Therapy is packed with images of ’80s interiors (several from Hooked on Houses), and takes a realistic look at the decor featured in the typical ’80s house.
- The weekly “Living In” column from Design Sponge is a delightful peek into the world of your favorite movies. Stills from a selected film are juxtaposed with colorful collages of actual items–many of them decor–that look as if they jumped right from the screen. Written and compiled by Amy Merrick, these mini-guides on how to get the look from your favorite movies are not to be missed! Our favorite posts include Living In: Troop Beverly Hills, Living In: Heathers, and Living In: The Last Days of Disco.
- In addition to featuring celebrity houses and spotlighting bad MLS photos, Hooked on Houses takes an in-depth look at the homes featured in your favorite films and television shows. Check out the TV/Movie Houses section for a list of design-fabulous posts. Not only do abundant screen shots point you to details you may have missed during initial viewings of the movies, blogger Julia adds extra tidbits about what happened to these dwellings once filming ceased. We’re a big fan of the following posts: “Baby Boom:” City House, Country House, On the Market: The House From “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” and “Mr. Mom:” Michael Keaton’s Cape Cod in Michigan.
Thanks for the kind words! It makes me happy that my blog is appreciated! You would love to go on the fleamarkets here, it's easy to find vases and interior design books! I have to get the book by Pamela Ferguson. Dennis Zanones collection is amazing! I would love to have some sottsass pieces in my collection of 80's interior.
You're so welcome! And if I lived in Sweden, I have no doubt we'd be flea market buddies! Keep up the great work on your blog–I love reading it and pointing Mirror80 readers to your amazing posts.
Great article! By the way, Bill wants me to tell you that the bowl he showed you as a great example of something we have from the 80's (about a year ago) is still in the store. Nope, people still aren't shopping for 80's yet – unless it's unicorns.
Thanks so much, Lori! That's very telling about your 80s bowl…and so true about the unicorns! I always smile to myself when I drive through New Braunfels (the unicorn is the high school mascot there). What hip pep rallies they must have! If you hang onto something long enough, it comes back in style…
Lil Miss Red T-Shirt says
Fun post. I like those end tables (?). I'm pretty sure I still have soap dishes like that. 🙂 Good resources to find things.