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80s for the 20s

From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

With the cyclic nature of fashion and design, 80s looks are a hit among the hip crowd, retro design elements coupled with vintage vignettes are currently all the rage.

Take a peek at the most liked interiors on Instagram and chances are you will spot several pieces of 80s-inspired retro décor. That is because classic items like rattan, vintage artwork and hanging dome pendant lamps adds charm and character to modern spaces. But infusing some of this lively brilliance into your home décor can be hard, especially for a generation that was taught to keep things simple and functional.

80s retro inspired dining room Retro mood board, eighties inspired
Retro mood board Retro dining  room
Mood board: Background in Resene Half Villa White with A4 drawdown paint swatches (from bottom to top) in Resene Wedgewood, Resene Moccaccino, Resene Kalgoorie Sands, Resene Half Villa White, Resene Inside Back and Resene Gull Grey, pottery-style bowl (with flowers) in Resene Kalgoorie Sands, ribbed bowl in Resene Wedgewood and vase in Resene Seachange.

In fact, incorporating a mix of decorative styles from different eras is one of the tricks of the trade for professional designers, but that does not mean one must spend a stack of cash to infuse a space with retro style. Decorating with reproductions, hand-me-downs, or a few vintage finds from a local flea market will give a room some stylish ‘oomph’ without bankrupting your budget. The best part is, you can always give these items a coat of paint to refresh their finish and tie them directly into your colour palette.

Nothing beats a base that’s built on good quality basics. Consider buying solid wood furniture – the best that you can afford. Dining tables and chairs, drawers and shelving that can literally stand the test of time will help them look better longer, which will have a positive impact on the look of the entire space. Plus, these pieces can be easily stained or repainted over and over when your colour or style tastes evolve. From there, you can start picking a palette that complements the tones in your timber.

Retro inspired side table
Retro space painted in duck egg blue
Retro dining room accessories

While the palette and textures in this space may have a strong nod to nostalgia, they’ve been spun in a way that feels much more contemporary than retro. Pale pinks and blues featured heavily in the dining rooms of the 80s and were often combined together in a single scheme. These popular pastels of yesteryear have now been updated with muddier tones. The wall in Resene Duck Egg Blue has also been given a soft 80s-esque texture using Resene FX Paint Effects medium with Resene Rolling Stone while the sideboard in Resene Inside Back both coordinates and contrasts. The 80s revival dining chairs combined with furniture forms, like the dining table and the sideboard, that unquestionably contemporary seal the look – but it’s the crisp Resene Half Orchid White dome pendant lamp, Resene Half Villa White floor and accessories in Resene Kalgoorie Sands, Resene Moccaccino and Resene Wedgewood that make this room really work.

While it can be tempted to keep your walls clean and simple in white, Resene Duck Egg Blue is the next best thing. It’s about as classic a colour as you can get, but it pairs well with a wide range of retro styles. That’s because it’s a colour that just keeps coming back around and you can likely find examples of it used in nearly every era of design. Other retro-chic colours to try with Resene Duck Egg Blue that have an 80s-revival flavour are misty mauves, clear off-whites or buttery yellows such as Resene Abbey Road, Resene Quarter Carrara or Resene Melting Moment. For a more timeless look, pair it with a deep slate blue like. Resene Atomic.

Paint: Wall in Resene Duck Egg Blue with Resene Paint Effects tinted in Resene Rolling Stone, Grooved floor in Resene Half Villa White, Pendant lamp in Resene Half Orchid White, Sideboard in Resene Inside Back, Pottery-style bowl (with lemons) in Resene Kalgoorie Sands, Large bowl in Resene Moccaccino, Vase (with white flowers) in Kalgoorie Sands, Small vase in Resene Seachange, Coat rack in Resene Dark Slate, Mother-in-law Tongue plant pot in Resene Wafer, Chair in Resene Gull Grey, Small ribbed bowl in Resene Wedgewood, Peg stool in Resene Santa Fe.

Accessories: Radial Extendable Dining Table, Talo Dinnerware, Twill Wool Throw with Fringe, Joni Wool Scarf with Fringe from Citta; Saigon Rattan Dining Chairs, Nebraska Wool Floor Rug in Ash from Me & My Trend; Somplace Magique Print, Continuous Magique Print from Father Rabbit; Menu Carrie LED Lamp in Black, Books from Father Rabbit & Paper Plane; Rose linen from The Fabric Store; All other props are stylist’s own.


Styling by Gem Adams. Photography by Wendy Fenwick. 2020

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