Published on October 11, 2019

Simon Knight was looking for a photograph of a mall he visited back in the ’80s, when he had the thought that would launch his now-viral Instagram account, which has 143K followers and counting: Why not indulge in a little nostalgia?

He posted the snapshot of the Brent Cross shopping center in North London on Facebook and promptly received an outpouring of comments about the memories the image evoked. So began @the_80s_interior, where, for the past two and a half years, Knight has dutifully documented all of his favorite design moments of that decade from vintage books (his followers have even started to send him ones they come across)—the flashy, the extravagant, and the confusingly carpeted.

Even if you’re all in on the never-ending obsession with Memphis, ’80s style can cause extreme reactions—some people simply can’t stand the thought of ever having to look at glass brick or wood-paneled walls ever again. But you’ve got to admit, it does continue to inspire us (even if we’re not totally sold on everything). And according to Knight, there’s a lot to love. “1980s design was really fun and daring—nothing was too much,” he says. “So much of it is coming back, from using color on your walls to filling your home with plants.” We asked him to share his favorite blasts from the past.

Most Unexpected Luxury: Cozy Bathrooms

 

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Give me a plush step up to a bath and surround it with plants—I love a carpeted bathroom. I get so many comments on how unsanitary it must have been, but back then it really was the height of fashion.

Most Confusing Renovation: Built-In Toilets

 

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I came across a picture in Kitchen and Bathroom Ideas 1985 of a completely boxed-in, tiled toilet with just a bright red seat. I have no idea what you would do if it ever needed fixing. Completely impractical. 

Most Beloved Space: A Plant-Framed Bath

 

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I recently posted my top five all-time favorite ’80s interiors, and in first place was a picture of a sunken bath with brown tiles surrounding it. Around the edges are lots of ferns, and it’s by a big window overlooking the city. When you look at it, for me it just encompasses everything ’80s. 

Most Fun Discovery: All of the Shopping Centers

 

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At the moment, I’m really into finding ’80s shopping malls—I posted one recently that has indoor fountains, palm trees, and neon lighting. 

Most Inspiring Trend: Great Gatsby Vibes

 

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I also really love the ’80s Art Deco movement, with all the pastel color palettes. As I curate content, I keep coming across more and more design movements from the era.

See more retro style:
Travertine Deserves a (Second) Chance
What Comes After Terrazzo? We Asked 3 Interior Designers
Glass Bricks Are Making a Comeback

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