Published on June 24, 2019

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imagery by aaron bengochea

In the ’80s and ’90s, inflatable furniture was a must-have for the under-18 set and only the under-18 set. Almost two decades later, it’s back and looking pretty grown-up. Balloon-like decor seating can be found everywhere, from Casa Perfect to New York Design Week. Simply put, it’s really blown up, pun intended.

There are two different kinds of inflatable decor: pieces that really do require a good set of lungs and those that simply look like they’re full of air. Seungjin Yang’s balloon-esque furniture, for instance, won’t actually require buyers to take a deep breath, although the pieces are made from real balloons—they’ve been preserved with resin. On the other hand, Mojow’s line of armchairs and sofas are quite literally inflatable. With a boxy structure not unlike a Milo Baughman design, the seats are the high-design version of the blow-up sofa you coveted as a kid.

Nostalgic decor is, after all, having a major moment, with beanbag chairs and chunky, curvy furniture popping up at big-box retailers and small boutiques alike. Embracing your inner child seems to be the secret to a  home that feels fun. C’mon, who doesn’t love a good balloon?

The Everlasting Balloon Art

Hey, if you’re going to invest in a trend, you might as well go all out. The multitone primary color palette of this resin chair by Seungjin Yang (yes, you can sit on it) gives it an extra dose of ’90s nostalgia.

The Sweet Stool

Yang’s stools might be even cuter than his chairs. This orange option would make any corner feel instantly more festive—no need to put anything on top of it.

The Ethereal Vase

This textured glass vessel by Vanessa Mitrani is so cool it doesn’t even need blooms, but we think that a bunch of cheerful, pom-pom mimosas would be its perfect match.

The “Deflated” Stool

There’s probably something poetic to be said about balloons that are starting to deflate, but we’ll let this Polish-designed steel seat speak for itself.

The Ultra-Plump Chair

Urban Outfitters’s take on inflatables is most in touch with the trend’s ’90s roots. The rounded edges and recessed seat of this chair also remind us of a beanbag. How’s that for nostalgia?

The Transparent Ottoman

If you heard “Verner Panton meets Prada,” we’d wager you wouldn’t immediately envision a square inflatable ottoman. But that’s what makes this collaboration even more delightful.

The Amazing Armchair

The metal framework of Mojow’s Yomi chair gives it the most refined look of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it too seriously. If you want, you can fill the inflatable seat with confetti. Fun, no?

The Hypebeast Throne

Inspired by the first mass-produced inflatable chair—Zanotta’s iconic 1967 Blow Chair, which retails for somewhere around $1.7k these days—streetwear brand Supreme put out its own blow-up seat last fall. Like all Supreme drops, it sold out quickly, but you can still find some used versions for way less than the Zanotta original.

See more playful trends:
You Don’t Need to Love Camping to Try This Camp-Inspired Trend
It’s Time to Take the Pleated Lampshade Revival Seriously
Life Is Short—Buy the Toucan Lamp