The Evolution of Style in Interior Design: Retro is a No-Go

The Evolution of Style in Interior Design: Retro is a No-Go


In the immensely popular Bridget Jones’s Diary, our hapless heroine is having a bad time shopping for new clothes, which turns to despair when, now in her thirties, she sees a window display offering the so-called latest in style, which happens to be strongly reminiscent of the school uniform she was forced to wear as a teenager and thinks she should have saved money by just holding on to her old things for a couple of decades. In the fashion conscious parts of the style savvy cities of the world, whether it’s New York’s Brooklyn or Berlin’s Neukölln, fashionable young people strut around wearing things that wouldn’t look out of place in the 1980’s- although usually without the ostentatious embellishments such as vast shoulder pads or large dangling earrings.

Fashion goes in circles, but is it the same with style? When decorating and renovating our homes, it’s not as though the style of 30 years ago is something we aim for, otherwise we’d all now want a huge Dynasty style mansion with pastel walls and massive crystal chandeliers. Design is in a state of constant, ongoing evolution, and if you look at your home now, as opposed to your parent’s home when you were growing up, you’ll see this idea very clearly illustrated. So how has interior design evolved over the years? What is considered stylish nowadays, and what should have stayed in the 1980’s?

Born in the 80’s

One remnant from the 80’s that is still very much present and desired in contemporary home design is the idea of open plan living, and this springs from homes constructed or renovated in the period and has been incorporated into standard home design ever since. Prior to this, a more compartmentalized style of design was common, with separate rooms for kitchen, dining and the den or family room. Open plan living, as the name would suggest, opens up the home, giving a centralized large space that the rest of the home leads away from.

Should Stay in the 80’s

Just as you might look at old photos of yourself and laugh, or sometimes cringe, at your previous choices in fashion and hair, you can look at photos of the way your home used to be and often wonder what you were thinking. The same thing applies when watching movies in the 80’s, particularly sets that are dressed as stylish cutting edge homes, where pastels and chintz abound. The only real 80’s style that doesn’t look out of place in contemporary times is the preppy look that was favoured by investment bankers and Wall Street yuppies (think of the detailed descriptions of Patrick Bateman’s apartment in American Psycho).


The preppy style is a precursor to what we now think of minimalism, where clean lines meet an uncluttered space, and all you need to do is flip through a design catalogue to see this look is still at the forefront of style and elegance. Gone are the soft colorings in walls and upholstery and outlandish light fittings. Hardwood floors with stark walls are a key starting point, and you can build the rest of your homes look from there.

But What About You?

Style, and the way in which you shape your living space is such a personal, subjective thing, and it can be difficult to opt for something that reflects your personal style while still remaining timeless. If you rely too heavily on a particular style trend, you run the risk of your home becoming outdated, which will necessitate further unnecessary reworks, as well as potentially affecting resale value if you should put your home on the market. But at the same time, without an injection of personal style, you run the risk of having your home look like an Ikea brochure.

You can take advice from any number of style guides, but you need the kind of assistance that takes your own sense of style into account while still guiding the overall look towards one of a timeless, yet contemporary quality. A consultancy service like the one offered by Acrylicize is a great starting point, but the rest is up to you.



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