May 14th, 2020

planet

80s rooms

somewhere on the internet I saw a question about very early memories. I don't have great ones. my brother-in-law has an odd stockpile of memories from his tiny kid days, but most of my actual memories start kicking in around the middle of elementary school. I feel like I have a snippet of when my sister was born, I would have been three, but nothing real or tangible. what do I feel when I try to remember back that far? brown. orange. wood paneling. yup... oddly enough all the decor is still in my head. when I try to think back, all I know is that I am surrounded by the color brown.

we had wood paneling in our living room, a plaid couch, an orange recliner, brown carpet, a vacuum with a setting for "shag" that I asked about but luckily we did not have shag carpeting.

trying to read up on early 80s design trends, I ran across this article about my grandma's couch. well... it wasn't literally her couch. but it might as well have been.



It was printed with a repeating image that might have been a rustic barn with a wagon wheel perched outside or an old mill with a water wheel, surrounded by reddish orange and gold flowers, and possibly wild fowl like pheasants or turkeys. The fabric also had a fuzzy velour-type texture, but it was scratchy against the skin.


that description... YES the fabric felt terrible! we all agree on something!

the fabric, as it turns out, was space-age plastic that would last FOREVER. I approve of this idea in general because now we upholster couches in terrible things like acrylic that are designed to pill up and tear at the seams after a year. disposable. But back then, people bought products that would last. They were not going to need "updates" to their whole interior every five years! and so we all grew up with those couches for decades! same with the fake carved dark wood furniture, the busy printed wallpaper, the glass grapes decorating the side table.

my bedroom was pale yellow... some specific shade I was big on, buttercream? buttermint? white furniture, lots of rainbow brite and blocks and legos. my sister's room I remember as just being a hot mess all the time, a toy disaster. This is kid memory. now that I'm a parent, I imagine my room was not always the sparkling clean vision I remember it, and my little sister's room probably alternated between clean and cluttered, but after the decades all I remember is how great a kid I was.

if I am ever allowed to visit mom's house again I'll have to pull up some photo albums for the girls, they love it, and pay more attention to the backgrounds, see if they match my memories.