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Retro Rooms

By: vkimo
Ever get that nostalgic feeling when you walk into an out dated house? From the thick rug running through the whole home (Bathroom included) to the oak paneling on the fridge, for me it just causes a rush of memory and feelings. It's not just houses either. I was at a dentist the other day and the waiting room could have been on exhibit at the Smithsonian. In this article I wanted to present a slideshow of sorts composed of images I've gathered while watching some of my favorite 80s & 90s flicks. I think cinema has done a wonderful job in preserving the culture and feel of urban living. Anytime during the viewing of a movie, if I came across a scene showing a room, I'd capture it. So as you're looking at the images, don't focus too much on the movie, but of the setting. I'll walk you through and we'll look at the decor, layout and overall interior design.

Let's begin!

Looking at this picture, I would say that just about anyone from between 10-75 years old would be able to instantly pinpoint the decade this picture was taken in. I know the hair is probably the biggest clue. But look at the thick rug. That thing could start a fire if you dragged your feet too hard. The classic oak paneling, and let's not forgot the asbestos popcorn ceilings!

In this classic print ad, we see the typical, stylish 80's office. Complete with loud colors, and that classic Patrick Nagel artwork. I love the overall feel of this place. I wouldn't mind working here.

Ferris Bueller's room was always very intriguing. It's a pop culture smorgasbord. The walls are lined with music groups, props and tons of other cool stuff unique to the times. He also had a nifty sound system that took up half the room. Sadly, all you need is an iPod and a Bose sound system on your night stand to replicate that quality sound.

This girl's room is another great example of how 80s kids decorated and furnished their rooms. Notice how everything is brightly colored. The rattan papasan chair in the corner is totally sweet! Have you ever sat on one? Super comfortable. You don't really see them used too much today, but Pier 1 Imports always has some in stock.

Look familiar? Mikey's room from the Goonies. I LOVE the Goonies house in general. From the overly cluttered rooms, cool fish tank, etc. This room has it all, telescope, skeleton head and even a gas mask. Today people seeing this room would probably make the kid an appointment with the guidance counselor. But back then, it was alllll good.

Jennifer Connely's room in Labyrinth is probably one of the coolest of them all. While I admit the room is more of a Victorian era structure, it still exudes retro stylings. The abundance of stuffed animals, soft pink trim all add to the vintage ambiance.

This is a real extreme example of hot couture interior design. The modern art deco and hard edges really exemplify the mood of the 80s.

If you look at it objectively, this room is hideous. But through the rose colored glasses of nostalgia, this room is magic! Soft pinks, brass accents on the furniture. Hell, even the floral print on the bed makes me want to listen to Bon Jovi.

You can still find a lot of bathrooms looking like this today. With the cost of remodeling so high, people are forced to live with their original bathrooms. As much as I love retro interiors, when it comes to bathrooms, I can't stand it!

Well, that's it for now. I hope you enjoyed this little journey through time. If you're ever feeling retro sick about the past, take note of some of the motifs in these images. You can easily replicate the look and feel. Getting back from work to a sweet 80s bachelor pad would make rush out all the more bearable. Thanks for reading!

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DirtyD79 Posted on Jun 26, 2015 at 07:06 AM

Great article. I still remember the house I lived in back in the early 90s. It had the wood paneling in quite a few rooms. Unfortunately it also had the butt ugly 1970s wallpaper in the kitchen. We also had a papasan chair like in the picture although the one we had had a pink cushion on it. I haven't seen one of of those in ages. I forget what ended up becoming of the one we had.

Also say what you will about the decor of that bathroom but man I'd kill to have a bathroom that big.

Vaporman87 Posted on Dec 23, 2014 at 09:44 PM

@Hoju: That I have to see. Promise to post pictures if this happens. LOL

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 04, 2014 at 11:50 PM

So true! I've always told my wife that when we get a bigger house, I'm getting one room to decorate with an 80's flare. I'm definitely going with the shag carpeting and wood paneling look, as opposed to the "modern" style of the decade. Or maybe I can do each wall in a different style. The only thing missing from your examples is a bean bag and some type of themed bunk bed. Good stuff.

Fulton4V Posted on Feb 13, 2013 at 03:55 PM

My bedroom and the guest bedroom were the only rooms in our house with wall paneling. But our downstairs tv room and the laundry room both had the shaggy rust color carpet.

pikachulover Posted on Feb 13, 2013 at 03:41 AM

I never had an era room myself. The only thing you could date it by would be the posters. Or maybe the bed sheets, but not the comforter.

My older cousin had one of those 80s girl rooms with a canpony bed. One of my neighbors also had a room like that, but with the brass daybed.

My aunt's house has one of those mirrored walls. The house also had the wood paneling wall until they painted over it.

A house I lived in had the wood paneling wall that was poorly painted over. Especially since there was a wood shelf connected to the wall that wasn't and stood out badly. That house also had popcorn ceilings.

Benjanime Posted on Feb 13, 2013 at 03:30 AM

the first time i moved away from virginia was around 1998 when i was living in a mobile home park. my family and i went back a few years later to visit my grandma who had asked to purchase our trailer and i felt thirteen again. walking on that astroturf carpet, traversing the old bedrooms and just being at the mobile home park itself game me that retro feeling. not a lot was changed in the area besides the woods area that got closed off

Mr Magic Posted on Feb 12, 2013 at 08:51 PM

I love the first pic. It brings back memories of a similar house I used to live in as a young boy.

AceNThaHole Posted on Feb 12, 2013 at 05:21 PM

That first picture looks as though it was taken right from my parents den. Its uncanny!! Loved the article

raptor Posted on Feb 11, 2013 at 07:17 PM

I always wanted a room just like Ferris'. I can't count how many times I re-arranged my bedroom to try and emulate something I saw either on tv or because I wanted my room to look like my friends' room.

Nice article man.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 11, 2013 at 03:12 PM

You should be able to resize the pics within the submission editor, though I think it depends a bit on the browser you're using.

vkimo Posted on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:38 PM

You're right about smells. I was at WalMart and got a whiff of marshmallows that totally took me back in time. Same thing with crayons. I'm also glad the pictures for re-sized. They were breaking the page in edit mode haha

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 10, 2013 at 11:15 PM

I think besides smells, the site of this type of decor prompt the most feelings of nostalgia in me.

My prior home was filled with this sort of "stuck in time" design. You were engulfed in paneling. The original carpets were shag, and simply nasty from the wear (they had to be replaced).

Great read vkimo! Thanks for this.

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