Tips on Decorating Children's Rooms — '80s Style Décor

By Sarah Van Arsdale on March 26th, 2010

In recent years, as the economy has boomed, one sector of the interior design industry has enjoyed a remarkable explosion: products for babies and kids to use when decorating children's rooms. We're here to help you figure out how to wade through all that's out there when you're decorating kid's rooms to create a place that's just right for your child or for the child's room of your client.

'80s Style Décor

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. In most cases. When we looked back into the décor for kids from Sheffield's first years, we saw that indeed some things have stayed the same, while others have changed faster than you can say "where's that cassette tape?"

Kids of the '80s were happy with bright, electric colors — fluorescent pink, brilliant blue, sharp orange could be found on walls, in hair, and of course in clothing. Neon anything was making a big comeback, and was often used in kids' rooms as an accent.

But you don't have to go all Cyndi Lauper in order to hark back to the '80s styles.

One of the most lasting styles from the time, equally popular with kids and adults, is the use of Art Deco designs: clean lines, arches, geometrics, reflective surfaces. All these elements can be put to effect in a kid's room today, and will last, maybe even beyond Junior's current musical favorite.

Mirrors were popular in the '80s, and today they'e still popular among young people. What adolescent doesn't need constant confirmation of his or her looks, and what better way to do that than with a mirror figuring prominently in the room?

In order to work the mirror into the décor of the room, start with a great frame. Heavy wood or plaster, spray painted with gold or silver, will give an elegant (and retro) look. A frame painted the same color as the wall will give the illusion the mirror's floating.

For a teen's room, we like the idea of using several small mirrors on one wall: clustered together, with frames in the same or complementary colors, can really be a focal point for the room.

Certainly the biggest change in decorating — and in particular decorating for kids — is the change created by advances in all things electronic. In the mid-'80s, home computers were still a novelty, so a kid's desk was cluttered almost exclusively with papers and books.

Now, we seem to already be moving out of the period of having to consider all those wires in our decorating. While many kids' rooms are still suffering from an overload of wires, we're already well into the age of wi-fi. Not only are Internet connections and telephones wireless, but also printers, faxes, and scanners are now increasingly wireless as well, meaning one of the biggest decorating headaches of the 80's is nearly a thing of the past.

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Ironically, it was only 25 years ago that we didn't need much more than a desk and chair in Junior's room so that he could do his studying. We have quickly passed through a period of needing much more, particularly electrical outlets. And now we've come out on the other side, to come full circle. We're back now to the point of needing not much more than a desk and chair — oh, and a place to plug in the charger when necessary.

This means you have a lot more leeway in terms of how to decorate Junior's room. A sleek, modern desk, with only the slimmest drawers? A bright, cottagey look with beadboard? A truly retro look, with heavy oak? It's up to you, and of course to Junior. But you're no longer bound by the requirements of wiring as we were in the dark ages of the '80s.