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Worst Home Decor Ideas of the 1980s

  • Pierrot mask

    Pierrot mask

  • If your flowerbed threw up in your living room...

    If your flowerbed threw up in your living room...  (This content is subject to copyright.)

  • Glass blocks block class.

    Glass blocks block class.  (Jodi Jacobson)

The eighties had its good fashion points, but also its bad. Lots and lots of bad. And this is true not only for hair (mullets!) and clothes (stirrup pants!), but also home decor. For a jog down memory lane -- or, possibly, a primer on what decor elements of your home are seriously in need of an overhaul -- pop a cassette of Duran Duran into your boombox, snuggle up with a Cabbage Patch doll, and check out the latest installment of our Worst Home Decor by the Decades series. Below we take a deep dive into everything that was grody to the max about '80s home decor.

Sad clowns

Pierrot, a French clown with a lone teardrop in the corner of one eye, was the '80s version of today's "Walking Dead"-type zombie: seemingly everywhere and unstoppable. And strangely terrifying! The pantomime character, dressed in stark black and white, appeared on plates, framed art, figurines, fabric, and several thousand very sad wall masks.

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Black and gold accents

Black and gold were two colors that went seriously steady in the '80s, maybe inspired by the black gold that drove '80s smash TV show "Dallas." Black is perfect for telegraphing omnipotent power, while gold screams, "I'm also rich!" Need proof? New York City's black and gold (cough) Fifth Avenue landmark, Trump Tower, which opened in 1983.

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Mirrors, mirrors on every wall

Why paint a wall (or ceiling) when you can cover it with enough mirrors to put a nightclub to shame? Bonus: Make sure said mirrors are a kooky shape, add a pattern, and make them smoky. In retrospect, maybe there were so many mirrors because the '80s were the "me" generation. And since the only way to take a selfie back then meant a trip to the Fotomat, the only option was to strike a pose in the nearest reflective surface.

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Glass blocks

Blame "Miami Vice" -- which obsessively shot scenes inside sleek, modern homes -- for glass blocks becoming a white-hot '80s building material. Because if you're a cop wearing a teal or pink linen suit -- with the sleeves pushed up to the biceps -- you desperately need to stand in front of a neutral background like big chunks of glass.

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According to Pantone, the colors of the 1980s were "saturated, reflecting prosperous times and an upbeat mood." Colors like Mauve Orchid. Not quite purple and not quite pink, the pastel was seemingly invented for the condo walls and mica coffee table of a successful career woman.

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Neon accents

Neon leapt off marquees and liquor store signs in the 1980s and went inside. Dashes of painfully vibrant neon appeared on floor lamps, "wall art," and even throw pillows.

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Memphis design

The lovely city of Memphis had nothing to do with a style that's been called a " shotgun wedding between Bauhaus and Fisher-Price." Signature Memphis looks -- which actually began in Italy -- included uncomfortable, asymmetrical furniture and vivid, bold patterns that afflicted nearly every teapot in the Reagan years.

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Bright, geometric 'art'

Nothing was allowed to be boring in the '80s, when "eclectic" was the buzzword. Not hair (see side ponytails, mullets, and Flock of Seagulls hairdos), not eyeliner (worn by men and women, often on the side of the face instead of the eye). And art certainly couldn't be dull, so it became comically edgy and avant-garde, featuring random geometric shapes in loud, clashing colors. Today it might make you reach for the Advil.

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Hollywood vanity lighting

Bathrooms saw an explosion of mirrors framed by rows of bubble lights usually found in an actor's dressing room. Perhaps all that flattering light was necessary to adjust the decade's stonewashed jeans and fingerless lace gloves just so.

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Random squiggles

Artist Keith Haring used abstract lines as a visual language in his political pop street graffiti in the 1980s. Why designers added random lines, swirls, and doodles to decorative objects and prints, however, remains a mystery.

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Floral glut

On the softer edge of the eighties were florals -- so, so many florals. There were pink-rose curtains with a red-rose-patterned couch accented with cabbage-rose pillows next to a flowered lampshade. And to finish it all off, dried flowers in the ubiquitous "deco" vases.

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Excessive excess

Everything was big in the '80s: from back-combed, huge hair to football-worthy shoulder pads to decadent decor. Because why have one Lucite accent piece when you can do an entire room in the extravagant stuff? Ditto for buying a single tasteful couch when a massive, poofy sectional was an option. And windows got the full treatment with swags, sheers, and a frilly add-on called a jabot.

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Zen overload

Maybe this was supposed to be the antidote to the gaudy excess of '80s decor. But in the decade's typical fashion, some people went overboard with entire rooms done up in stacked rocks and swirls of sand.

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