The 80s/90s bedroom – a style guide

Assuming you didn’t grow up as a tramp, chances are that at some point you will have had a bedroom. This is a room where you sleep, and it contains a bed and all your crap.

The bedrooms of our childhood and teenage years were sanctuaries, and more often than not shrines to a shit band or Jet from Gladiators. Conversely, grown up bedrooms are rubbish. At best, they contain a bed and a dish of ‘pot pourri’ that you have to have because you’re over 30 and it’s the civilised thing to do.

Let us get back to the far more cool and rad topic of our old bedrooms. In order to have an acceptable 80s/90s bedroom, certain items of furniture and knick-knacks were required. These included, but were by no means limited to, the items on the following list.

To start, here’s how it should be done –


Apart from this room clearly belongs to a New Kids On The Block fan. It will serve them right if they slip on that carelessly discarded skateboard.

Now then –

1. Crappy furniture from MFI, Argos or similar


Before everyone bought everything from Ikea, even shoes (probably), MFI was the flat pack wonderland of choice. They sold everything from plastic looking, shiny white wardrobes, to plastic looking ‘black ash’ wardrobes.

MFI is still going, so it’s quite difficult to find photos of their vintage wares, but this was the general idea, courtesy of a random photo I stole off Google –

black ash

If you didn’t fancy MFI, the other option was to furnish your room from the Argos catalogue. This was good because you could spend hours going through the catalogue, cutting out pictures to see if they went with other pictures (until your mum found out and hid the catalogue).

For maximum points, don’t forget to cover all your furniture in Panini and Smash Hits stickers.

2. Bed

Three types of bed were acceptable – bunk beds, a cabin bed, or a red metal bed –

IMG_0136 - Copy

Bunk beds were good, but you had to make sure you had at least one friend, otherwise you’d just look like a div sleeping in a bunk bed on your own. For my money, I preferred the bottom bunk, being a coward and terrified of heights, but you had to be careful with the bottom bunk, because if you had a friend on the top bunk who was prone to ‘having accidents’, you perhaps weren’t guaranteed a good night’s sleep without an umbrella. However, great fun could be had poking your friend through the mattress with any sticks/sharp objects that came to hand, especially if you hated your friend. Just as long as they didn’t do a revenge piss on you.

For the stylish loner, the cabin bed was the premier choice. This consisted of a single bed approximately 38 feet above the floor, held up by a desk or something.


Access to the bed was usually gained via a metal ladder that cut your feet in half unless you stepped on it in exactly the right way and/or wore wellies. Once in bed you could survey your kingdom like, well, a king. The only problem was that it was often easier to piss in the bed rather than climb down, go to the loo then climb back up, especially if your feet had only just recovered from the previous ladder climb.

If you plumped for a standard single bed, this was the only model to go for –

464956-(b) red metal twin 3 piece bed

The advantage of the red metal bed was clear – it went perfectly with your black, red and grey wallpaper, and also with those framed pictures you had in your room, of racing cars or some kids in hats.

Which brings me onto our next item –

3. Wall décor

80s wall

Blank walls are the work of the devil. As such, you must adorn your walls with any of the following things –

– shit magic eye posters that have been scribbled on anyway so you can’t tell what they’re supposed to be

– posters of Right Said Fred, Bros, or New Kids On The Block (at least one band member must have a staple through their head or nipple)

– ‘Athena’ posters, such as the tennis player with her bum out

– velvet art


Velvet art was particularly awesome, because it was nearly impossible to go over the lines, unless you were me, in which case you almost certainly would go over the lines.

– Pictures of racing cars

– Turtles, Thundercats, Transformers or He-Man posters (or Care Bears if you’re a stupid girl)

2015-04-11 15.40.42

– A giant ‘Swatch’ watch wall clock


4. Duvet cover

This was where your street cred really shone through, if you had any. I didn’t, so was free to adorn my bed with Care Bears, Holly Hobbie, and the dubiously named ‘Snatch’. No wonder that dog has such a disapproving look on its face.


Otherwise, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I can’t be bothered to write a thousand words for this bit, so here you go –

duvet covers1duvet3

5. Miscellaneous

Never underestimate the importance of the ‘misc’ section of a list; it’s usually where all the good stuff is. Note the ‘usually’. But without these finishing touches, your bedroom would just be a blank, soulless box, admittedly with a picture of Right Said Fred stuck to it.

Anglepoise lamp


Nowadays, this kind of lamp is synonymous with that Pixar ident, but back in the day it was de rigeur to do your homework by the light of one of these. And when I say ‘do your homework’, I mean ‘dick about sharpening your wax crayons and drawing moustaches on pictures of Five Star in your big sister’s Smash Hits magazines.

Desk tidy

desk tidy

I seem to have an unnatural obsession with desk tidies. I love them. I don’t own one at the moment, because my job (and writing this bollocks) means owning a lot of pens, so I currently keep my pens in four empty coffee jars and a shoebox. This is not overkill AT ALL.

Anyway, it was necessary to have somewhere at home to keep three pens, a rubber and all the office themed odds and ends you would probably never use, like paperclips, pins and those little mini clamp things.

I think I just liked pretending I was important.



A bag full of beans. Let’s face it, chairs are shit when you’re a kid, what you wanted was a big squishy… thing that was impossible to get off.

Of course, beanbags are only impossible to get off if you’re over 30 and your bones are made out of cement, as we discovered when we bought a beanbag last year.

Money Box

These can take several forms, but you must have a money box, because where the hell else are you going to keep all that loose change that you found down the back of the settee? Or that 10p you were given for ‘being good’?

That reminds me. You know how much The Beano costs these days? 2 pounds bastard 20.

Anyway, this was always my favourite kind of money box when I was younger –


A plastic treasure chest that came with an equally plastic (and useless) padlock and key. If you were a fan of the treasure chest design, but had more than 16p to save, you could choose to invest in this rather swish Helix model –


If your parents were slaves to the banking system, you might have ended up with one of these –


It goes without saying that you better have kept it, you idiot.

If you liked to nom with your saving, there was always the option of this Dairy Milk dispenser –


Although, if I remember correctly, the chocolates were 10p a go, so you could only save 10p pieces. But who cares. Also, it might not even have been a money box, but I think it must have been, otherwise the 10ps would have just fallen out of the back or something, enabling you to eat all the chocolates in one go and then be sick. I never had one of these. I never had a Mr Frosty either.

Secret diary


For writing passive aggressive things in. Like the ‘treasure chest’ money boxes, most tended to come with a shit, easily breakable lock, which was rubbish if you had genuine matters of national security to write about.

But of course, you didn’t. This is what you wrote in your diary –


Tape player

tape player

Because let’s face it, you don’t want to have to go downstairs and use the High-Figh in the living room. Not when you have important work to do, like recording songs off Atlantic 252. Bonus points if your tape player had a built in microphone, so you could record your own shit ‘radio station’ called ‘Jenny FM’, where you did nothing but sing terrible versions of Wham’s Bad Boys. I never did this.

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6 thoughts on “The 80s/90s bedroom – a style guide

  1. I still have my red Helix treasure chest money box! The keys were lost many years ago. It has a Monster Munch body transfer (fake tattoo) on part of it.


  2. I had that angle poise lamp, as well as a perfectly decent new romantic themed Playboy duvet cover. Weren’t magic eye posters much later? I remember them as a 90s fad…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Omg I loved seeing the pages from Index. I remember it being like a poor mans Argos, and with that most people shopped at Argos…which obviously meant that it soon went bust lol.
    In my bedroom I remember having an old telly that I used only for my Megadrive. This was of course sat on an MFI/Argos tv unit with a drawer at the bottom full of games. At some point I think I also had a computer stand or desk type thingy for my Spectrum Plus. Again with a drawer or rack full of games lol.
    Posters on the walls was also a favourite of mine…I was fucking anal about it too. I had to have each poster touching the others leaving no evidence of the wall behind them. For some strange reason I also put my album covers on the wall, each housed in one of those plastic sleeves….yes I was a sad twat lol.
    Great article anyhoo, thanks for the trip down memory lane 😉



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