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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 11
image source | design by folk architecture

I felt it coming. I saw the rumblings in the zeitgeist, especially in fashion. Intellectually, I knew it would come because everything comes back, but I suppose I didn’t know that one day, in the middle of May 2019, I would all of a sudden become fully engrossed in the GOOD stuff from the 1980s and early ’90s. I’ve loved the ’70s for so long and there are some similarities (oversized, rejection of the uncomfortable mid-century lines) so again, I shouldn’t be surprised. Even more specifically, I’m very into anything ‘80s Italian—WHAT. In case you are rolling your eyes, frustrated that design sites keep calling out these trends and shoving it down your throat that you need to adhere, DO NOT FEAR. We here at EHD believe that “good,” “eclectic” and “personal/sentimental” is always on trend and you can dabble in the newer trend or, as I tell my kids when they say they don’t like whatever vegetable I’ve made, take a “no thank you” bite.  I was reminded of this the other day by my team when I looked at the mountain house, which has all white walls, hits of gray, black, wood, etc. with very little color and said, “am I just doing what is trendy right now on Instagram? Is this going to be boring or dated in 4 years?” They said, “No! It’s right for the vibe and function of this house and ‘beautiful’ is always in, no matter what is trending.”

But like a man with many sister wives, there are times when something new catches your eye and you lean in for a bit. I’m not looking to change out much, but as I’m finalizing all the decor and furnishings for the mountain house, I’m snagging a few Postmodern pieces—a chair that I can’t wait to show you (my friends are split, some think it’s amazing, others hideous and reminds them too much of a tub of licorice) and a lamp or two.

So now that you have my point of view on the Postmodern trend at hand, I am going to pass it over to Jess (who also is surprised by her new yet deep love for this trend) to break it down for you. In the meantime, I’m going to keep finalizing this darn near finished house so I can shoot it and then officially show it off.

“Chubby” Furniture

When I (Jess, hi there!) think of the Postmodern trend, the first word that comes to my mind in terms of furniture is “chubby.” Now unless you are a cute baby with a roll for each day of the week to pinch with undying joy, chubby is a word that most people would quite easily take offense to if pointed in their direction. But let me just say that in this case, the chubbier, the better. Gimme those rolls because the more they got, the cooler they are. Yeah, you heard that right.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 45
image source | design by arent & pyke

“Chubby” is the first characteristic to take note of but the curves/graphic shapes are what make these pieces chic. So think rounded, curved, graphic, even tubular shapes. Keep the key pieces in that world of adjectives and you will have a straight shot into achieving this style on the most basic level. I guess I should say that “graphic chubby” furniture is really the defining characteristic.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 31
image source | design by fieldwork architecture

The ’80s phrase, “totally tubular,” has crossed over from slang to decor in 2019.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 2
image source | design by fabio fantolino

You may have seen sofas like the one above popping up on your feeds because although originally designed in the ’70s, they are completely Postmodern and freaking cool. I was trying to figure out how to describe this style of sofa and the first thing that came to mind was that it looks like the chicest muffin top in the world. I really hope that Tacchini (the designer and yes, Italian, duh) does NOT read that and take offense because it’s a complete compliment. The overstuffed, soft nature of the piece is given a beautiful and necessary architectural structure with the tubular bars. Chubby: Check. Round: Check. Totally Tubular: Check.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 28
image source | design by mario milana

My/our newest and probably favorite current Postmodern designer is Mario Milana. We recently linked his Architectural Digest home feature on The Link Up a few weeks ago when Emily sent it through. All of his creations are Italian Postmodern perfection (he is originally from Milan) but the chaise in the photo above is what I consider the ultimate New Postmodern-style piece. It’s round, tubular and graphic, like the original ’80s style but has a neutral and soft look about it which makes it modern and very of the current time. Does it look like a caterpillar? Yes. Do we love it anyway? Also yes.

Fluted Accents

Now that we have “graphic chubby” furniture on lock, let’s dive into the next defining feature which is fluted accents…

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 39
image source | design by sally breer

This is another design element I have noticed to be almost synonymous with the “new” Postmodern trend (modern Postmodern? Postmodern Modern?). I love it because it adds a quiet, unexpected texture to a space. I mean if Sally Breer, designer of all things cool, put fluted stools in her “ahead of the trend” loft apartment a few years ago then you know it’s something we should all take note of. Also, that pendant…more on that later. Sally, you are simply too good lady.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 2
image source | design by andrea serboli

You don’t have to go hardcore “flute” to get the essence of it. This kitchen has probably one of the coolest stove vents I’ve seen in a while and why is it so cool? It has a slight fluted texture. It makes it feel modern without it screaming, “HEY, I’M MODERN AND COOL.” The lines in this also echo the cladding of the island and cabinetry, so…cohesion without being matchy matchy.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 21
image source | design by freadman white and anon studio

What I personally love about this look is that it feels like a nod to the classic stripe pattern of the ’80s and ’90s but way more subtle. Take this kitchen. Aside from the tubular vents above the stove, the room doesn’t read very Postmodern until you look at the fluted paneling on the counter and island (and the terrazzo flooring outside). I think the biggest departure from the old Postmodern to the new-new Postmodern is moderation. I think initially why this style was quickly abandoned in the early ’90s was because it was A LOT, too playful if you will. Then in a vast overcorrection, it seemed like the design world collectively decided to “grow up and move to the suburbs” with their wicker, overly floral Laura Ashley upholstery and chicken wallpaper borders. But now the trend gods have learned and are better about choosing their playful Postmodern moments. And speaking of choosing your moment let’s talk about the “It” color…

Electric Blue

Remember Sally Breer’s pendant from moments ago? That bright electric blue has been rearing its attention-demanding face lately and it’s SO MUCH YES. I know this color is not for everyone but it’s absolutely a key color in the New Postmodern era. It’s like navy or cobalt, but it put its finger in a socket, luckily wasn’t injured, but came out of the experience enlightened, hip, ahead of the crowd.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 35
image source | design by sarah sherman samuel

When Sarah Sherman Samuels helped Garance Doré with her LA home and put those vibrant blue chunky chairs in her living room, I think all of us took note. This space would have been neutral, modern and beautiful as is but was taken to another level with those chairs. What is great about this color is that it leans into its ’80s/’90s past with still being palatable to a 2019 audience. What’s more palatable than blue?

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 41
image source | design by 2lg studio

Tell me that cabinet isn’t exciting and cool. I dare you. Obviously, keen craftsmanship is key here, because otherwise, it might have been a disaster. The barely-there handles, arched top and interesting feet would have been special in natural wood but HELLO…there’s no ignoring this electric blue baby.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 3
image source | design by artem trigubchak

The color of this table gives the space a playfulness it would otherwise be lacking. See how important having a little design fun is?

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 23
image source | design by harry nuriev

I don’t know if I’m 100% on board with an electric blue patent leather pillow but it does scream New Postmodern. And hey, if you are into it then you got for it.

’80s Inspired Patterns

It couldn’t be called New Postmodern if there wasn’t some solid pattern play happening. What would the intro of “Saved by the Bell” think???

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 14
image source | design by kelly wearstler

Probably the American New Postmodern pioneer is the one and only Kelly Wearstler. This room above that she designed mixes scale and shapes with a classic check and modern freehand line drawing. Both are modern upgrades from their ’80s counterparts.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 36
image source | caroline lee and anne sage

Now, the Memphis trend was a big part of ’80s design but I think most of us can agree that the color palette and general “pattern play” was A LOT. Again, think “Saved By The Bell” intro. It came back around about two years ago, but it was still pretty intense. So to bring that look and feel to 2019, we have wallpaper like this. The wallpaper still sports a handful of different shapes, has a scattered feel but with a much more cohesive color palette and less visual chaos. Better, no?

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 7
image source | design by morgwn rimel and house of grey
Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 29
image source | design by dimore studio

Piet Mondrian’s cubist style was also very a popular pattern in the ’80s and early ’90s. Bold primary colors are great, but a more modern muted interpretation like the bathroom walls in the Lafayette Hotel in Guadalajara, Mexico, are the perfect bridge between the old and new.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 10
image source | design by dimore studio
Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 18
image source | design by alexander & co.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the classic grid pattern. I mean, it was one of THE patterns of that time. But in 2019, designers are making it a bit more subtle and paring with lux materials and modern furnishings. The bench in the above photo gives this space just that hint of playfulness to not take itself too seriously, which I appreciate.

Delicate and Sculptural Accent Seating

Okay, it’s not all about chub rolls and muffin tops because VERY delicate and/or sculptural chairs are very important to this style.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 42
image source | design by mario milana

These crazy beauties are also designed by Mario Milana and are the perfect example of what I am talking about. They are actual pieces of art that have the New Postmodern playfulness (the mix and match of the varying colors is also paramount here).

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 20
image source

The Ekstrem chair was an iconic ’80s chair that is coming back and I like it. I know it looks pretty nutty at first glance but it was designed apparently in response to the idea of ergonomics. So aside from the potential benefits for your bod, the chunky, squiggly lines may be Old Postmodern but it’s here for the new.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 8
image source | design by vuokko nurmesniemi

Pattern play is also a key element in sculptural chairs. It can be bold like these black and white striped lounge chairs or more refined and luxe like the legs of the beauty below.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 47
image source | design by giancarlo valle

Writing this post makes me want to buy every New Postmodern chair there ever was. It’s true torture. Moving along…

Totem Sculptures

This last element is kind of a sneaky one but once you see it you can’t unsee it…I’m talking about totem sculptures and objects. As I was looking for photos, I kept seeing totems large and small and I think it’s a very unique thing about this style.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 26
image source | design by studiopepe

The space above is from Milan Design Week this year so it’s FRESH people. Not only is this set up totally New Postmodern with those curvy, rounded blue chairs and the tubular metal chair but the baby totem sculptures on the table are right there with them.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 6
image source | design by sivak & partners, ivanna gaidarzhy and artem trigubchak

It makes sense why totems work so seamlessly in this style because architecture, sculpture and visual interest are a part of almost every other key New Postmodern element.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 5
image source | design by morgwn rimel and house of grey

You may also have noticed that in each of these rooms I’ve shown have almost a gallery type feel, where each piece in the space is used as a piece of art. And what is a modern totem if not a piece of art? They are also very versatile in terms of shape.

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 4
image source | design by kelly wearstler 

New Postmodern totems can be linear, graphic, curvy, large or small. But unlike their past counterparts, the totems of 2019 (oh the things you never thought you’d say) are usually solid in tone so they don’t cause too much visual chaos. The big ones tend to be very expensive so unless you have a “totem guy” that can get you a killer deal, the small ones are just as cool. Also, if you have a “totem guy” that can get you a killer deal, send him my way. 🙂

So that’s the breakdown of the New Postmodern. I think it’s safe to say that the design world FINALLY got the ’80s/early ’90s revival right. A bit of late ’70s, a hint of Memphis and a lot of chubby playfulness. The one big question still unanswered is whether or not it’s here for the long haul. I for one hope it is. I am endlessly inspired by it and its weirdness. If you are too and are wondering how to get this look in your home, I have a big present for you…a product roundup. You may have even seen some pieces used in our showhouse living room reveal. 😉

Emily Henderson Design Trends 2019 New Postmodern 1

1. Saucer Vase | 2. Marble And Malachite Coaster Set | 3. Vintage 1980’s Adrian Pearsall Sofa | 4. White Stone and Seashell Inlay Round Table | 5. Table Lamp | 6. Basket | 7. Crewel Color Pillow Covers | 8. Textured Striped Planter | 9. Floating Disks Side Table | 10. Anton Solid Wood Coffee Table | 11. Pyramid | 12. Links Black Sculpture | 13. Esher Pillar | 14. Greta Recycled Leather XL Sleeper Sofa | 15. Taylor Square Bone Box | 16. Mid-Century Red Sculptural Chairs | 17. Hera Side Table | 18. Meso Novelty Vase | 19. Terracotta Glazed Object | 20. Staggered Steps Velvet Pillow Cover | 21. Three-Piece Sectional & Ottoman | 22. Curva Magazine Holder | 23. Webster Wine Glasses (set of 4)  | 24. Post-Modern Hand-Crafted Maple Chairs | 25. Faux Malachite Resin Bookend Green | 26. Cypher Black Marble Dining Table | 27. Lush Blue Velvet Pillow Cover | 28. Forte Channeled Saddle Leather Sofa | 29. Striped Win Cup | 30. Cozy Swivel Chair | 31. Stepped Form Ceramic Vase | 32. Cyrus Chair | 33. Totem Colored Glass Vase

So now it’s your turn…how do you feel about this style revival? Could you or would you ever do it? Is it still TOO MUCH? Most people who lived through this time initially have probably already clicked away from PTSD, but…we want to hear all of your thought, feelings and dreams.

Love you, mean it.

  1. I just don’t like chubby furniture. And I don’t like the tubular sofas at all. Plus, “tubular” reminds me of that phrase surfers used to say, “totally tubular, dude.” So now that’s going to be stuck in your head all day, too. 😉

    1. Damn – that was a deep dive! Thanks for the well-researched post. It was super interesting even though its not a style that speaks to me.

  2. I’m surprising even myself by saying… I’M REALLY INTO THIS. *Trots off to buy the fluted side table, which will look either really weird or perfect with my antique cane chair*

  3. I absolutely LOVED this post. I’m really into all of it, except for the electric blue patent leather pillow. I am so tired of neutral. These colours and shapes make me happy! BRING IT ON!

  4. THANK YOU! I live in Miami Beach where art deco architecture is queen and I have LOVED this style for a long time. A more muted version of Memphis, with bubbly furniture in bold Yves Klein Blue? Count me in!

  5. Whilst this design style isn’t for me, I loved the article and appreciate the research and effort that must have gone into it. Amazing stuff xxx

    1. Well said Stacy! I totally agree. While I don’t like almost all of this I do appreciate Jess’ voice and the teams hard work combing through and identifying elements of a “trend”. Thank goodness trends come and go…. Isn’t it hilarious that this was all a response to the uncomfortable mid century style but so many of these chairs look like sculptural torture devises?

    2. I agree Stacy. This article was amazing in it’s details and obviously well researched. Well done! But having lived through the eighties (as an adult) I hated this look then and hate it more now. Guess I’ll have to wait patiently for this trend to pass…

  6. I LOVE this trend, like can’t think of one I’ve ever liked more love. Trying to incorporate some of this into my existing space. Thanks for posting!

  7. Although this style may be controversial, I consider it a breath of fresh air. I’m realizing that my previous aversion to the postmodern/Memphis style had more to do with the primary color palette (yuck) than the forms themselves. Done right, these pieces are very sculptural and cool. Great post!

    1. I agree. I think the bright yellow with the red, blue in triangles and circles was too much and just ‘day care’ but when scaled back (in some way) its actually awesome. Took me a second, but i’m all in.

  8. Thank goddess! Finally some color!

  9. Oh. My. Yuck!

  10. Beetlejuice

    1. That’s what I was thinking!!

    2. ……..Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

      Had a client once say, “would like something modern, but not Beetlejuice modern.”

      Always swore that I detested Memphis inspired design, this new trend is proving me completely wrong.

  11. I love your blog content. I think you are one of the few designers with good quality, in-depth information. But the barrage of advertising is a real turn-off. It cheapens your content, and makes reading posts so unpleasant and annoying, I don’t visit you unless I’m REALLY feeling chill.

    1. It always amazes me how people who pay ZERO for the content expect it to be high quality AND free of advertising, too. Newsflash: Quality content costs money. People who write for this web site and any other deserve to be PAID. How terrible for you to be “inconvenienced” by an easily ignored ad.

      1. I’m sorry to be so ignorant. I believed that Emily Henderson received some sort of remuneration from her shopping guides, partnerships with Target, and design jobs.

        I admire that you are so able to remain focused when multiple ads are flashing, popping up and obscuring the text and interrupting screen content, and videos are spontaneously starting. Your ability to concentrate through that chaos is enviable. However, the purpose of this blog is to communicate ideas, and if that is unsuccessful, then what is the point?

        Also, you might want to take a look at how you comport yourself on the internet. Keyboard courage is a thing. Have a good day.

        1. You want them to communicate ideas to you for free?

        2. I don’t think you are sorry to be so ignorant.

        3. Lillypie: Sorry but both of your complaints seem like much ado about nothing. I read this blog on a laptop and have no problem ignoring ad content. It ain’t that hard.

        4. I have the same problem with the flashing, gifs, pop ups, interruptions, etc. For me it’s not just irritating, but a medical issue, because that kind of visual stimuli triggers migraines, which generally last for two to three days. I have to use an ad blocker in order to be able to read this site without getting a migraine. The same types of visual stimuli are known to cause seizures for people with seizure disorders, including people who previously did not have seizure disorders.

          For the record, migraines and seizures are disabilities.

          Lots of sites have ads that don’t overstimulate my brain. I really wish that Emily would address this issue on this sight.

          1. To clarify: migraines and seizures are neurological – the brain responds to certain stimuli with a migraine or seizure. It’s not a question of not trying to ignore the stimuli, as several posters have suggested; instead, the brain becomes overloaded by the stimuli and hey presto – migraine or seizure. I never know how much I can take of any of my migraine triggers, because hormones affect the brain’s response, so not all that predictable. Consequently, I avoid my known triggers as much as possible – ad blockers on line; polaroid sunglasses and hat in the sun; incandescent light bulbs only at home and in my office,and no more than 40 watts; and on and on.

            To Sam, Karen, and others: my reaction to visual stimuli like the ads on this site is not a choice. It’s a disability that I cannot control, no matter how much I want to do so.

          2. Trudy: Your condition is for you to manage. You can use an ad blocker or you can avoid a site that causes you difficulties. But until people are willing to PAY for quality content, rather than expect it to be free, websites will do what they can to generate revenue and actually PAY writers. And that means advertisements.

          3. Try using Feedly, no adds, all the posts clean and organized. I only come on the website when I want to read the comments section.

        5. Maybe try an Ad Blocker?

      2. I’m with you Sam!

    2. When I am here (with coffee and gratitude first thing every day : ), I shrink my viewing page until all the distracting movement in the advertisements is hidden from my sight.

      re: the blog post: just so, so, soooo good! As usual, the inspiration/information ratio here is sensational. Thank you EHD team! (and Em, I am practically salivating in anticipation of your expression of this trend up at The Mountain House.)

  12. I have a *really* negative reaction to this style; do you think we’re destined to loathe the style popular when we are middle school (the worst years of our lives)? I have some friends who can’t stand 70s-looking stuff because it reminds them of their awkward adolescence, even though I love it because it reminds me of a happy childhood hope.

    My long way of saying I don’t like it, but I think because of personal association more than aesthetics.

    1. happy childhood *home*

      1. This was my thought exactly! I can appreciate it for what it is but it’s not bringing back happy memories for me. I’m actually really bothered by it and I’m pretty sure there has to be some deep psychological reason for that.

    2. Hannah, that is such a great insight into why I may HATE these “trends” so much! I absolutely loath primary colors, neons, flutes, high waisted mom jeans, puffy sleeves, shoulder pads, and black and white checkerboard patterns (more elementary than middle school for me though!). I see these pieces, and all I can think about is lip sofas and high heel shoe chairs. Even those were around then gone, then around and hopefully now GONE. Anyway, I could not love this sentiment more, and although I completely appreciate all the research here and even the artists who create new pieces, I feel okay I am not a fan.

  13. NOPE.

  14. Um, no. Just no. Still love you guys though!

  15. Apparently I’m so old now that things designed when I was born (and in my Country too), are back to being cool…. Sigh!

    Anyway, I’m not very into it, but I must say that I like a single sculptural weird element no matter the style, so why not from the 80s? Not a sofa, though. That’s too much for me!

  16. Oh, wow. I LOVE some of this yet HATE a lot of it too 🙂 I think the problem is there are still people out there who haven’t flushed out the original (as witnessed while house hunting) so its hard to imagine it as back and “cool”. I do welcome the color as I haven’t been into the all white/neutral trend and some of the bold furniture is awesome but I think the patterns are the hardest part for me. While maybe not quite “Saved by the Bell”, it’s still reading “hey comin’ atcha” (insert 1980’s DJ voice here). I also keep thinking of a local commercial from the 80’s “Room Plus, just round the corner!” where all their terrible formica furniture was rounded. Super interesting post to read though and I can definitely see incorporating some of this in small doses.

  17. Didn’t like 80s design then and still don’t!

  18. This is the one style that evokes strong feelings of NOPE in me. And I hate that word! This time around the colors are less annoying, however, they are the in the “trendy” pallette I see everywhere right now: blush, terracottas, & teals (forever named “golden girls pallette” in my brain) which Im totally loving on!

    Love you guys soooo much with giant heart eyes

    (And chair #24 looks like some kind of modern electric chair!! 😉

  19. I love the sculptural nature of this – especially some of the totems and Mario Milana pieces. The rooms you’ve shown strike the perfect balance, but in the ‘wrong hands’ this style could be too much. This definitely requires a bold approach, but you need to know when to stop. Bad executions of this trend could lead to a fiery death – maybe before its time.

  20. Nope. Nope nope nope to all of it. Although those Beetlejuice chairs did make me stop for a minute. But nope.

  21. Scrolling through this article and one particular line really threw me off:
    “But like a man with many sister wives, there are times when something new catches your eye and you lean in for a bit. ”

    What?! Really? Is this an actual comparison? This just really nags me – I’m not even sure if I feel offended or if it’s just off-putting.

    Other than that though – as always a well-researched and interesting article. (But still a hard nope for these 90’s trends from me!)

    1. I’m with you, Kuster. Not sure if I’m offended or off-put. I’m not religious and generally pretty ‘live and let live’ but this comparison does NOT work for me. So a wife is just a pretty bauble that caught a man’s eye? Is that how polygamy works? I’m so confused.

  22. for me, I like this in small doses, but I can appreciate the aesthetic appeal of a whole room in this style (though wouldn’t love to sink in and hang out in such a room).

    chicken wallpaper borders…hehe…don’t forget chicken lamps and chicken artwork…can’t wait for the post on chicken themed decor making a comeback!

    1. Better than the white ducks.

    2. Can’t wait to see the updated spin on bonneted geese. Befezzed egrets, perhaps?

  23. Oh HELL NO!

  24. Sorry, totally not into this… Although I could go for the Anthro chair you posted #32 or a blue velvet couch like in Arlyn’s room. So maybe I could put a little baby toe into the water on this trend. 🙂 Are we not into MCM anymore?

  25. Thanks for the content. I’m not a huge fan of the style. Moreover, I think one of the things that helps is when the color is repeated >somewhere<. In quite a few of the inspiration photos, the colors are not repeated at all and it just looks "off" to me (and these rooms are SO styled, so how would that look in a nondesigner room?!). So in the instance of SSS's blue chairs, they are nice chairs, but look completely unintentional as the blue is not repeated at all in either of the rooms (a pillow, artwork, vase, something!). I'm no designer, so I'm interested in what team EHD thinks of that?

    1. I am a designer and I agree 100% with you on the lack of color repeating. That is one of the biggest problems I am having with a lot of interior design right now. Sigh.

      1. Thank you so much for responding. I appreciate your professional point of view.

  26. “But like a man with many sister wives, there are times when something new catches your eye and you lean in for a bit.”

    Where I live, sister wives are considered really freaky and well, I just stopped reading the rest of the post. Because, eww. And sexism. And are people really OK with this?

    1. Upon further thought, what may be bothering me is the idea that a wife = something to ogle, like a chair.

  27. Some things yes and some things ehhh… idk. I’m actually loving that blue Tacchini sofa. For me though it depends on the overall atmosphere of the space. I can get on board with most of these elements as long as the space has a mostly modern vibe that I can relate to. And as you pointed out, most of these are done with more restraint which I appreciate. (All except for that Kelly Wearstler space – Sorry, my eyeballs aren’t ready for that yet.)

    And I want to say how much I appreciate Jess’s voice here! Was very concise and easy to follow, but also fun to read 🙂 Thanks, EHD team!

  28. Fluted can stay, the rest are not for me. I do love these posts though. They are almost like an interior design history lesson.

  29. Oh my. Sorry, but not even one of these trends will ever make it into my home. Think I would feel like I had just entered an alternate universe. I’m pretty much a transitional in design with a bit of classic thrown in. Any one of the above pieces would, to my eye, look very out of place…uncomfortable even. I’ve seen a bit of this trend in social media, just not a look I like.

  30. LOL….yes, “most people who lived through this time initially have probably already clicked away from PTSD”, yes. Somehow I made it through all of that to that very amazing closing statement. I love you all but I can honestly say I hate all of that. It hits too close to “home” if you know what I mean. Not in my house 😉

  31. Oooh! I have to say that I think the beautiful chairs in the Arent & Pyke sources image are the BIBENDUM armchair by Eileen Grey, a wonderfully inspirational Irish architect/ designer. It appears in
    Glass Salon designed for Suzanne Talbot by Paul Ruaud with furniture by Eileen Gray (1932). The armchairs featured alongside the “Dragons” armchair (“Fauteuil aux Dragons”) which was designed c. 1917-1919 specifically for that project. A one stage it was the most expensive armchair ever sold at auction! I’m not an expert, only an admirer from her hometown in Ireland. I remember the day I stumbled upon an exhibition of her designs in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. It was as if a light switched on inside me and the root of my interest in furniture design. Glad to see that she’s still inspiring great designers/ stylists 100 years on!

    1. Thank you for this comment! I just went down a rabbit trail reading about Eileen Gray and the “Dragons” chair – super interesting.

  32. I think most of these pieces are hideous and would never buy them, however the colors are luscious and exactly what I would include. Shape NO/ Colors YES.

  33. Ohhhhhh a little of this trend goes a very very long way. They take up more space both physically and visually, and to my eye they tend to read extravagant or whimsical, or even ‘host your champagne+cocaine party here’ excess.

    I do love some Yves Klein Blue and a chubby sofa, but I am always going to prefer things that are simple, organic, functional, less wasteful, more streamlined. It will be interesting to see how this trend is interpreted by current designers.

  34. While I do like a few pieces here, most of this reeeeaaalllyyy isn’t my jam (one of the rooms pictured reminds me of the Jetsons’ living room; I just don’t get excited about furniture being sculptural). But that’s okay — obviously it is for you and others and if it makes such people love coming home every day, then it’s great! Different tastes abound and that is as it should be. I echo others on this comment thread who thank you for the time and effort you put into all of this!

  35. Not in my house. Not on my watch.

  36. Great post! Super interesting to anyone who loves design, yet I think some things should stay in the 80’s and never return (;

  37. Oh my goodness…I truly hate every single picture you posted. Just ugh. I definitely think this is one of those trends that if you were around for it the first time it does not work for you now (I’m 44). I’m leaving this one for the Millennials. 🙂

  38. I myself can’t hop on board with this trend but kudos for you guys for getting down with it. 🙂

  39. It was hideous then and it still is. It will be a passing thing but don’t think it will last more than a minute.

  40. Kelly Wearstler is physically gorgeous and has a fun, quirky fashion sense. Her interiors, however, not so much. I’ve not seen one of her rooms that I would Pin, let alone want to be in.

  41. Whoa dude 🏄‍♀️ Big thumbs down on the tubular style. Then and now 😜.
    Love the electric blue and the cubist look 👍

  42. Okay, I can totally appreciate the aesthetics of this trend—while also feeling like every single photo has Catherine O’Hara just out of frame, singing “Day-O!” a la Beetlejuice, or Todd and Margot (Christmas Vacation) sitting down to dinner. Serving up some serious 90s-era villain set pieces. 😂

  43. I.just.can’t. But props to those of you who can and do!

  44. I love this! I love the look, I love the explanation! But I also have no idea how to apply it in my regular house. I think someone else noted how styled these photos are. Gorgeous but how do you actually live in these rooms with four little boys and a cat? I need more examples.

  45. I took the “ no than you” bite!
    LOL!

  46. I love how these pieces add such fun, funky touches to a space!
    http://www.petiteandhungry.com

  47. Great post! I recognised a couple of those rooms. Some of my faves.

  48. I was surprised to find I don’t hate this, but I do see some similarities between the color palette here and the 90s desert color palette – and in the homes of a lot of my childhood friends in the 90s, the chubby (though less refined chubby) furniture, tubular laminate tables, and desert color palette was super common. I think a lot of midwest suburban families interpreted Memphis in this more subdued way.

    I think this is nice in small doses, or when it rides a funny line between this style and MCM or another style (#28, for instance, seems like it has elements of this style, but also elements of other styles) but in a grander scheme, a whole room of New Postmodern seems better suited for an office or retail space – it’s a bit too uncomfortable and stilted looking for my home, IMO.

  49. Um, no. Just no…except for the blue cabinet. Those tubular couches look too much like old hotel furniture from Las Vegas.

  50. I love when you do posts like this! We need to see new things to open our eyes and minds. Keep it coming Emily!

  51. Lived through it, don’t love it. Well done post, though, as always!

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  53. In complete contrast to your well-researched, intelligent post, I’ll respond with “oh, no, no, no, no no. Yuck yuck, yuck!” I liked the bright blue cabinet: that was really something, but otherwise, the 80’s In fashion (for people and interiors) is best forgotten. And these pictures prove it to me.

  54. You guys are a lot of fun…. but lately you’re making me feel old. Not because you’re hip and I’m not. But because I read and think “why are you not doing your homework??” Fluting comes from classical architecture: the column. It was not invented in 1980. I feel that the examination of a given architectural element would be so much more interesting if you started there, and showed how it’s been reintroduced and reinvented over centuries and not just 30 years. Maybe even point to Art Deco influence on the 80s if you don’t want to back to the Greeks and Egyptians.

    And while this is going to sound *itchy but I don’t mean to be. I’m trying to figure out what you mean. by graphic. Graphic simply means a relating to the visual arts, or vivid detail (borrowing from visual arts). There’s a cartoonish quality, certainly, and a perhaps a relationship to Pop Art influence. Is that what you mean? The shape isn’t so uncommon — bolsters go way back. The size and scale seems new, but there’s a relationship to modern train cars and diner booths. This old lady is really asking you to challenge yourself to think a little deeper, research a little more, and say what you really mean, rather than taking the easy way out. WHy? Because I want this blog to be instructive and accurate , I suppose. more substantive. Not just graphic with words used as random accents.

    I’m not a hater!! I just think you can do so much better!

  55. Born in ’89 and I am LOVING this. There’s something about the these looks that makes me smile and gets me excited. Playful, refreshing, and endearing somehow.

    So Emily…I agree that much of this is the genuinely “good” stuff of that time…but do you feel like there’s an element of cool-kid irony that one must get on board with here? As in, yes, it’s supposed to be ugly because it’s a lewk…or is it all in earnest for you?? I ask because I’m torn as to whether I actually like it or because it feels like such a throwback à la the ugly sneaker trend…(when done right) it’s so bad it’s good.

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