The 1980s office was an intriguing place. Mirror80’s obsession with its decor stems from that wonderful juxtaposition of modern design and now-obsolete technology. Nowhere was this dichotomy emphasized more than in the office of the architectural firm where Family Ties mom Elyse Keaton worked. A blend of ’80s Southwestern, ’80s Modern and very orange computer motifs, the space cannot go unnoticed.
“After lunch, she comes into my recently redecorated office–the company has done both of its floors in charcoal carpet, ribbed wallcovering, chipboard-gray upholstery, and gunmetal Levolors; the windows were already tinted.”
–Frederick Barthelme, from the short story “Box Step,” included in the 1983 compilation Moon Deluxe
Barthelme’s quote, one of the best descriptions of ’80s office interior design to emerge from the decade of decadence, is reflected in the stills above and below. Gray tones were an ’80s office staple, as were Levolor mini-blinds. On a side note, we’re loving the ’80s Southwestern rug, as well as the ultra-red office worn by Elyse’s boss.
We couldn’t help but get excited about the greenery and metallic planter in the still above, as well as another ’80s staple: the cane Breuer chair! Those chrome legs add an unmistakably modern vibe to the office.
Elyse, played by Meredith Baxter-Birney (now Baxter), is ready for her interview! The art in the still above represents ’80s Southwestern style at its finest. Berry tones and abstract landscape highlighted many a 1980s painting and print. The gradient-esque color motif adds interest and keeps the piece from veering into scary pastel territory.
We end with an office still from a later season of Family Ties. Shades of mauve reign in this space (as do shoulder pads). Family Ties aired on NBC from 1982-1989. We thank the set designers for their vision of workplace design at its finest.