1980s Vintage Homewares

So the big question is this: is the 1980s vintage? I think we all accept that 1980s fashion is now vintage (well it is over 30 years ago) but what about homewares and furniture?

When I was asked to include the 1980s and early 1990s in my book, Style Your Modern Vintage Home, I must admit I slightly buckled! What was cool in that era I asked myself? Well it turned out that this chapter soon became my favourite as it was full of  colour, vibrancy and  fun design which always is slightly tongue in cheek.

Here are my Top 10 (not in any order) homewares from the 1980s that I think we should all embrace and love!

1. Advertising Milk Bottles

I love these Unigate branded milk bottles as they are so bright. Due to our growing love affair with supermarkets back in the 1980s, independent milk companies needed to do something to grab our attention so they introduced these bottles to brighten up our breakfasts. I reckon they make great vases and there are so many to collect it can become a bit addictive (believe me).

vintage retro 1980s advertising milk bottles as featured on Kate Beavis Vintge Home blog

Photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media for Style Your Modern Vintage Home

2. Branded everything and anything!

Gosh the 1980s loved a bit of branding, in fact the bigger the better! The 1980s was the decade of mass consumerism so all the big (and small) brands wanted their name on everything. My parents owned a tinware business back then who made these great brandd tins which I bet we all had at some point!

Vintage retro kitchen tins 1980s by Armstrong and Claydon as seen on Kate Beavis Grumbridge Armstrong and Claydon


I also love this giant ceramic Marmite jar which now sits proudly on my kitchen shelf.

1980s vintage retro kitchen by Kate Beavis Vintage Home (photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media)

Photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media for Style Your Modern Vintage Home. This features a real home rented by Sarah Gorlov.

3. Storage tins

We stored everything in a tin back in this decade (especially in my home) and I now have so many! My favourite is this Mary Quant tin designed in the mid 1980s and sold for Save The Children and distributed by my parents company.

1980s Mary Quant tin from Kate Beavis

4. Alessi kitchenware

If you want fun with a capital F then Alessi kitchenware is the item to choose. In 1985 Michael Graves designed the kettle with a bird at the spout which whistles when the water is boiled. The feel of this is very art deco with its geometric shape, high shine and even a celluloid looking bird.The Juicy Salif, designed by Phillip Stark is without doubt the most famous lemon squeezer in the world and is firm “must have” item in both a vintage kitchen as well as a modern one. Its three long legs remind us of the atomic age yet feel futuristic too.

Vintage kitchen Alessi by Kate Beavis Vintage Home (photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media)

 Photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media for Style Your Modern Vintage Home.

5. Novelty phones

With the birth of the giant “brick” mobile phone in the 1980s, our home phones went all silly! But novelty phones were not just for kids. Whereas the Mickey Mouse and Snoopy phones were clearly aimed at children, the pouting red lips was great for her, the hamburger or the flash car was perfect for him. If this was too much for you, then the clear phone which revealed the inner workings and lit up when someone called was the one.

vintage1980s telephones by Kate Beavis

6. Giant Swatch clocks

In 1983, a revolution in watches hit our high streets called Swatch. Designed to be your second watch, they were plastic, colourful and affordable. They quickly became a must have fashion accessory with people wearing three at a time or even popping the face out to wear as badges.  Swatch soon designed other products to build on the ir successful brand such as hair watches, telephones and the giant wall clock.  At a staggering 2.1 metres the Swatch clock certainly was eye catching. With its bright colour, Swiss mechanism and fun style it was a must for a teenage bedroom in the early 1990s.

Swatch wall clock as featured on Kate Beavis Vintage Home blog

Photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media for Style Your Modern Vintage Home. This features a real home rented by Sarah Gorlov.

7. Retro toys

Oh they don’t make toys like this anymore do they? All you children of the 1980s will have loved toys such as battery operated robots, Lucy Locket and Polly Pocket – as do my children now. However my favourite has to be the giant treehouse with its pop down top and cute little people.

1980s toy tree house by Kate Beavis

8. Pop Art revival

1960s Pop Art had resurgence in the late 1980s due to the unexpected death of Andy Warhol in 1987. The cartoon like images of Warhol and Lichtenstein summed up the fun, tongue in cheek design of the decade with its bright colours and comic style graphics. I feel the 1980s works so well with the 1960s design and by adding these prints into the mix, the two decades seamlessly join.

1980s 1960s lounge as featured in Style Your Modern Vintage Home by Kate Beavis, photo taken by Simon Whitmore

Photo by Simon Whitmore for FW Media for Style Your Modern Vintage Home. This features a real home rented by Sarah Gorlov.

9. Patrick Nagel

Patrick Nagel, a US artist designed 1980s pin ups with an art deco feel to them. Most famous for Duran Duran’s Rio album cover, he created images ofwomen with angular black hair and the classic 1980s white out faces. With bright colours contrasting against their skin these posters are now highly collectable. Nagel died in 1984, aged 38 leaving behind a bright future.

Duran Duran Patrick Nagel album cover as featured on Kate Beavis 1980s blog

10. Cocktail glasses

Even if you didn’t fall in love with Tom Cruise in the 1988 film Cocktail, everyone love to drink cocktails from triangular Martini glasses with coloured stems and candy coloured stirrers. Based on the 1920s design, these glasses were the perfect way to add glamour to your party. Add a giant bendy straw and a paper parasol you were good to go!

Vintage 1980s cocktail glasses as featured on Kate Beavis Home blog

Make sure you check out my book for more information about this cool decade as well as styling tips and real homes.

Kate x

p.s. Liked this blog? Then why not vote for me at the Amara Interior Awards!  I need your votes as I am up against some amazing bloggers! You can vote HERE!

vote-nowp.p.s. Love the 1980s? Then have a look at this blog about exactly why I do!




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