31 Things Everyone Had in Their House in the ’80s
Who can forget the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?
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Originally called the Magic Cube, the puzzle was created by Erno Rubik, a professor at Budapest’s Academy of Applied Arts and Design. Rubik often built geometric models, and one of them, a 27-piece cube was marketed in Hungary in 1977. By 1980, it was frustrating millions of Americans. It was licensed to the Ideal Toy Corp in 1980. Here are 12 more classic games everyone should own.
Coleco Cabbage Patch Kids
One of America’s longest-running doll lines, the Cabbage Patch Kids are soft sculptured doll-like creatures sold by Xavier Roberts. Roberts came up with the idea as a 21-year-old art student when he utilized the quilting skills he learned from his mother and the historic technique of “needle molding” to develop his own line of fabric sculptures. The dolls were first manufactured by Coleco, then Hasbro, Mattel and eventually Wicked Cool Toys. Some Cabbage Patch Kids are worth an incredible amount today, just like these vintage barbie dolls.
The Care Bears, a fictional group of multi-colored bear characters, were originally created by artist Elena Kucharik in 1981 to be used on American Greetings cards. The characters went on to become a toy fad in 1985, which then inspired TV programs and films. Today, there are 218 Care Bears.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Many boys across the U.S. had some sort of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle memorabilia. Many had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sheets or action figures. The heroes in a half-shell rose from a comic book to action figures to a mini-series before really catching on as a cartoon. Old action figures can sometimes garner some money with the right collector. Be sure to check your home to see if you have any of these valuable childhood items lying around.
Who doesn’t love being able to voice their library of trivia knowledge in a socially acceptable setting? It’s no small wonder how Trivial Pursuit took off so quickly. The game was created in 1979 and just five years later, 20 million sets sold that year alone. More than 100 million units have sold and the game has taken all kinds of different formats since.
Professional wrestling might have hit its zenith in popularity in the ’80s, let’s not forget Wrestlemania III drew a then-record 93,173 people to the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987 where they watched Hulk Hogan famously bodyslam Andre the Giant. Another million fans watched the event on closed-circuit television spots at 160 locations while another several million watched the pay-per-view event at home. From wrestling dolls to action figures to even lunch boxes, just about every home had something wrestling related in it. These days you probably don’t want to see any of that stuff around.
This old fad might reside down an ally along Memory Lane but slap bracelets used to adorn the wrists of nearly every kid on the block in the ’80s for a minute. Maybe you remember the pain, maybe you remember the fun, but we know you remember the sound. Maybe you’ll remember the heydey of these slang words from back in the day, but we bet you won’t know the surprising origins.
Walkman Cassette Player
The Walkman originally debuted in 1979 and it didn’t take long before everyone held one or had one on their hip. Sony sold more than 50,000 units in the first two months and it’s popularity continued as it morphed to play CDs in the ’90s. The mp3 player, however, ended the Walkman’s reign in the 2000s.
You likely had a few of these and other toys fall through a floor vent at some point. These Finger Monsters were just about everywhere in the ’80s with kids. If these bring you back down memory lane, try these 80s era pictures to really jog your memory.
One glance at an old Micro Machine commercial will take you back to a time where that’s all that seemed to play on Saturday morning television. The shrunk-down cars and trucks first appeared on the market in 1987. Later they became further entwined with popular culture by appearing in Home Alone and even became a video. For a decade known for its excesses, the Micro Machine seemed incongruous.
The fanny pack became en vogue toward the tail-end of the ’80s and it still exists, albeit with hipsters and maybe professional wrestlers. It’s hard to remember the convenience it provided or why someone felt it a necessary fashion accessory. Nowadays, the fanny pack has come back into fashion in a major way. Much like these vintage trucks, everything comes back into style.
Garage Door Opener
As the U.S. emerged from the economic downturn of the ’70s and ushered in a new era of consumer spending in the ’80s, nearly every house on the block started adding garage door openers.
Sewing Machines in the Laundry Room
This laundry room showcased a room for all seasons and it included a sewing station. We’d be hard pressed to find a sewing station in a laundry room, let alone a home these days. This room also had a computer nearby to make it part hobby room too. You can already see the rise in plastic laminate coming into play.
Kindergarten Classroom Wallpaper
This wallpaper featuring colors of the rainbow will seem familiar for anyone growing up in the ’80s. Maybe more so in the classroom but it also appeared in a similar way in homes. Back in ’84 The Family Handyman highlighted a computer program that told you exactly how much wallpaper you’d need for a room.
A bread box seems almost anachronistic these days but they used to be a staple of the house. Here are the vintage kitchen items that are actually worth a pretty penny.
There are a couple of things that make this room neat. One is the electric typewriter that many people had in their homes back in 1983, but there’s another thing that’s cool.
Cane Wood and Chrome Chairs
These chairs are similar to those the Breuer Chair Company produced during the decade and have long been a terrific vintage look for some people. If you remember blowing out the candles around this table, see if these vintage birthday party photos spark anything else!
Recipe boxes are kind of like family heirlooms as they, too, have become digitized. This see-through recipe box from 1983 provided easy viewing while cooking and baking. Plus, the card wouldn’t get dirty from handling while cooking or baking.
Fresh-squeezed orange juice used to be a chore in the ’80s and juicers like this one were commonplace in homes. These days there are any number of products that will get you going quicker in the morning, like these unique and weird kitchen gadgets that will help make all your meals spectacular.
Wallpaper remained popular in the ’80s as an interior design option and The Family Handyman profiled Karen Nyman back in 1982 after she started her own wallpapering business. She was one of the few women who ran their own wallpapering business at that time. Wallpaper fell out of favor in the ’90s but unlike these outdated kitchen trends you should avoid at all costs, it may be making a comeback!
Wrought Iron Outdoor Furniture
Wrought iron furniture has always found a place on the patio but this set with a floral pattern seems a little more specific to the 1980s. This set was made by Lyon-Shaw and is enameled wrought iron.
Well, maybe, not every home had a floor-to-ceiling mirror but you probably saw it often enough in a film or television show. Back then, interior designers advised that floor-to-ceiling mirrors added a feeling of more space and also hid cabinetry and an entertainment center. You might notice the angled lighting creates a dramatic effect and helps point your eyes where the interior designer wanted you to focus.
Polaroid cameras date back a long way but by the 1980s nearly every home had a Polaroid camera or something similar. It’s a far different scene these days with people using their phones to capture nearly everything they do. Polaroid cameras are still available on the market and a view of the nostalgic can leave one longing for the days of flipping through photo albums.
This TV fit perfectly into see-through dividers that were also common back in 1981 but it could’ve easily gone anywhere else in the home like the kitchen or a bedroom. Nowadays most TVs are flat screens and are mounted to the wall or people are using their tablets to stream programs. If you’re missing the vibes here, try these ’80s recipes still worth whipping up.
Those little doodles of 3D squares you like to do turned into furniture in 1981. Ceramic tiles on wooden frames were used to create these pieces. Often used to display plants, while not every house had furniture like this, there was certainly an emphasis on geometric patterns in the ’80s.
Blinds, especially mini-blinds started to take over in the ’80s. Even as soon as 1981, mini-blinds made up around 70-80 of the window covering market. There were blinds that seamlessly matched wall patterns, and others designed specifically to hide bad design or structural errors. If you’re cleaning out your garage, keep an eye out for these 11 vintage Christmas decorations that are worth money today.
This room featured in 1981 issue of The Family Handyman features a little bit of every decor item that made up the ’80s. From the rattan table and baskets to the earth colors, it’s almost quintessential ’80s decor. The linoleum floor will certainly bring back memories for many, too.
Faux Stone Fireplaces
There’s a lot going in this room but one thing that stands out is the faux rock fireplace. Homeowners moved away from the classic brick fireplace in the ’70s and ’80s to something like this. Then there’s the ubiquitous track lighting in the room and vertical blinds on the sliding glass door. And of course, the platform furniture.
The chandelier in this dining room comes with a lot of brass and geometric glass. These types of chandeliers appeared pretty frequently in homes, just like the wallpaper in the background and the glass hutch.
Hi-Fi Sound System
In addition to the Hi-Fi, there were a projection TVs, video disc players, VCRs, and turntables. Entertainment units at their finest. Now that we’ve taken you back to the ’80s, go back even further in time with these vintage photos of houses from the 1950’s.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.