Life at home

A black MOMENT sofa and a multicoloured MOMENT shelf with thin metal frames, in a room with a shiny black floor.
A black MOMENT sofa and a multicoloured MOMENT shelf with thin metal frames, in a room with a shiny black floor.
Image from IKEA catalogue 1985.

For many, the 1980s is an optimistic, frivolous decade, with booming stock markets and broad shoulder pads signalling confidence. The colourful, kitschy postmodern style thrives side by side with elegant furniture in fancy materials. Outward appearance is everything, and it’s important to see and be seen.

The home becomes a place that reflects dreams of success and social status. For some, the living room once again becomes a fancy reception room, with generous leather sofas and room for the status symbol of the day, the stereo system. The TV runs American shows about the rich and seemingly happy. Ornaments and multi-piece dinner services are shown off in lit glass display cases.

Pin-back chairs with and without armrests around an elliptical dining table, all white in model STOCKHOLM, in a light room with a bay windows.
A bedroom with furniture and details in shades of white. The double STOCKHOLM bed has a high headboard and light blue linen.
A light STOCKHOLM armchair with a plant pattern in bright colours stands next to a floor lamp and a tall glass-door cabinet.
A dining room with a long, elegant dining table and chairs in red-brown, all model STOCKHOLM, on a patterned rug.
The STOCKHOLM collection brings together tradition and future in functional, beautiful everyday objects. With quality furniture in genuine craft-like execution, IKEA wants to offer reasonably priced elegance. Images from IKEA catalogues: 1. 1989 2. 1989 3. 1989 4. 1989.

After the unbridled do-it-yourself and practical everyday spirit of the Seventies, there’s a pent-up yearning for luxury and elegance. Dinner tables are set with crystal glasses and extravagant curtain arrangements adorn the windows. IKEA launches the STOCKHOLM collection, furniture of high quality in quality materials. STOCKHOLM is of classic Scandinavian style, intended to appeal to customers who have left their wild youth behind and are now ready for grown-up life.

A light room with a black and green modular sofa, model LEXBY, arranged as a corner sofa. Colourful patterned textiles.
The design often reveals a playful joy, based on geometric shapes like triangles and circles, and strong primary colours. The inspiration for IKEA comes from places like the Memphis Group of Italy with its postmodern look. Image from IKEA catalogue 1986.

Meanwhile, others are attracted by the period’s more playful and postmodern design, which suits IKEA well. Influences of high-tech with steel furniture and painted surfaces mix with fun, colourful textiles. The style is bold and expressive. IKEA makes simple yet stylish furniture such as the LACK table and the softly shaped KLIPPAN sofa – easily placed big sellers that are still in the range today.

A living room with parquet floors and a long corner sofa in brown leather. Nearby are two chairs in chrome-plated metal and black leather.
A room in white with a plump white KLIPPAN sofa in the middle. A coffee table and wall shelves in light wood, model LACK.
A kitchen in white apart from pin-back chairs at a dining table and details in black, and a banana-patterned curtain at the kitchen entrance.
The decade pulls in all kinds of directions! Following the progressive, unconventional ‘non-design’ of the Seventies, many are now looking for a more grown-up home. The living room once again becomes a fancy reception room, where people can show off their stuff and invite friends round for drinks and snacks. Images from IKEA catalogues: 1. 1988 2. 1985 3. 1986.

In 1980s IKEA, the furniture is a mix of many different styles and tastes. Things progress quickly – sometimes a bit too quickly. The range spreads out in too many directions, and the rapid expansion leads to frustrating problems like screws missing from flat packs, and popular products being out of stock.

A light room with a checked floor, yellow and white striped wallpaper and BOJ storage furniture, in white with yellow details.
A teenager’s room mostly in white with a light wooden floor. A KROMVIK bed and a bookcase with chrome-plated metal tube frames.
A children’s room where a neatly made MALM bunk bed, other furniture and details are pink, yellow and white.
A light children’s room with a REKDAL bunk bed and light wooden flooring. Scattered toys and a white BOJ desk.
Wide beds to relax in, steel tubed furniture and cool graphic patterns go particularly well in young people’s rooms, with their bright colours and fun shapes. Images from IKEA catalogues: 1. 1984 2. 1988 3. 1988 4. 1989.

The 1980s are a roller coaster, and the glory days end with an almighty stock market crash. Social divides increase, and many young people start resisting the spirit of excess and luxury consumption. As the next decade begins, it will be all change once again.