Resolved for 2014: Swearing Off the 80s

One of the reality checks I do every so often is troll through the older, and price-reduced listings.  After the initial bum-out, I’m energized, convinced I have been gifted with a fresh new way to preach an old message. So resolved, it’s 2014, and time to swear off the imagesCAOGSKME80s.

The 80s was a good time for me personally, but for the most part not a terrific decade for design, or IMHO, good taste.  Paralleling what shaped the look we know as “Victorian”-where one’s income grew faster than experience of putting things together well, it was a time of  just way too many things.

More primitive country was edging the clunkier dark pine and large, loud plaids out, while country french in painted and pickled finishes provided some relief from the overly-curly, blue and ivory provinciality from the 70’s; but contemporary/Asian and very fussy English were clamoring loudly for their share of the market too.

“Ecclectic” was an appealing, intellectual exercise; a counterculture-like flouting of the matchiness doctrine most of us grew up with.  Yet without much practical experience of, or confidence with mixing things up, the results were, well, mixed.

Maybe another decade (or two) will have us fondly reminiscing, but decor from the 80s is not old enough to be considered vintage, not defined enough to be cool/retro… but it’s too old, and hurting you if you are looking to sell and get top dollar.

Here are my own list of top offenders and some suggestions. The Refreshed Home recommends mitigating what you can, and price accordingly.

  • Frothy pastels: Peach, mauve, and teal-ish were emblem colors for 2 popular looks of that decade, Southwest and South Beach. Now they say down-sizing Nana who probably has to move.
  • Complicated draperies: If the draperies are from the 80s, what about more important things like the roof…boiler…etc. Swap them out for simpler stationary panels of a contrasting color, and if privacy is an issue, shades underneath. Roll up solar shades and adjustable fabric shades like Hunter Douglas’ Silhouettes lets light in, lets you see out, but keeps it private too.
  • Verticals: See above
  • Shiny brass bath fixtures and shower enclosures: VERY sad to say these are attempting a comeback in some circles-don’t succumb. They were gauche then, and no one needs to see them ever again. If you can replace, it’ll breathe new life into your bathrooms.
  • Smoked/bronzed glass lighting fixtures: Never been a time where more clever and fun fixtures are so affordable. Go shopping.
  • Mirror’d walls: Unless it’s in a ballet or yoga studio, lose them.
  • Wide grout lines: Grout lines as an architectural element-wide, often on the diagonal, and usually in a contrasting color will date your kitchen soundly. White tiles and cabinets, often black counter tops seal the deal. Paint the walls a strong color like a deep red, a warm mellow yellow, or a brigh granny-apple green to help distract…ummm, I mean balance it out.
  • Flowered wallpaper: Wallpaper is your personality, glued to the wall. Fine if you’re decorating, but rarely a good idea at all when you’re selling.  Flowered wallpaper is like a bad tattoo, a vivid snapshot of a very different time. Take it down and paint. Period.