I recently ordered The Mary Gilliatt Book of Color (1985), and I’ve enjoyed browsing an array of photos filled with retro design goodness. I’ll be sharing a few rounds of pics from the book, and I thought I’d start off by spotlighting the color black. Because it’s fun to revel in a little bit of darkness and drama during the month of Halloween! In the 1980s, black added boldness to interiors, often with Deco flair. Black lacquered headboards, black mini-blinds, black chair frames and black vases were popular. Ready to let the photos do the talking?…
Above: the power of a large black vase on a black pedestal; Below: the unforgettable pairing of red and black
Thin black tile complements the thin lines of the Venetian blinds in the powder room below. More than any other featured space in today’s post, this one looks like it could easily transition to 2015. Maybe it’s the use of yellow as an accent color (plus a dash of pink). Or perhaps it’s the abundance of plants:
Red and black vs. yellow and black. What’s your favorite combo?
As you can see, Deco curves, statement vases and powerful color combinations were often featured in ’80s spaces that incorporated the color black. Do you think dark Deco accents will make a comeback? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment…
Jan Griffiths says
I do like the use of black accents in the home, and I use quite a few. We have black mini blinds in our bedrooms, not just for decor, but they also keep the light out better than the white ones we had. I just redid the bathroom in light grey and black, and tiled the floor in black and grey checkerboard. I do think some dark accents are making a comeback, although some have never gone out of style.
Your bathroom floor sound amazing, Jan! And kudos to you for the black mini blinds. I didn’t think about the practical benefits of those blinds, but you’re so right about them blocking out more light. And I’m a fan of black lampshades as well. 😉 Hope all is well with you!
Jan Griffiths says
I also use black lampshades on most of my lamps as well.
I always found it interesting that there were two trends in the 80s that ran alongside each other throughout the decade, especially the mid to latter part.
Black/technical accents (liked by “trendy” yuppie types, ala American Psycho/penthouses etc, think Venetian blinds and black angular/black and chrome furniture) and the white/country living/white and wicker/floral prints/southwestern look that liked its pastels and “virginal” hues (like a shaker style beach house).
They both lasted until the early 90s, but by about 1993(?) the trend was more earthy and ethnic insipired (although that had already started in about 88?).
One thing for me that I have come to think is ESSENTIAL for adding an 80s touch is a big pottery ceramic statement lamp with a coolie shade somewhere (in the black version it would’ve been glossy and black, possibly with an oriental flower/branches/tree motif) and in the white version it would’ve been either purely crazed effect or have some kind of marbled or dimple style effect!
Can you tell I like this post?!
Thank you for such a thoughtful comment! And you’re SO right about the edgy vs. country styles that ran parallel to one another in the ’80s. A lot of the black decor had a Deco vibe, with Asian accents mixed in. But the ’80s country look was so incredibly popular. I was a kid in the ’80s, and I remember catalogs coming to our home, and they were filled with country-style floral comforters and white furniture (much of it wicker).
I’m a huge fan of ceramic statement lamps from the ’80s. You can find a lot of them at Goodwill, and sometimes you’re lucky enough to find a pair. I scored a white Deco-style lamp with a Lucite base a few years ago (more lines and angles than curves), and I bought a black shade for it to create contrast. It’s one of my favorite living room pieces, and it was a true bargain!
Thank you again for your comment!