Memphis Design DIY Ideas to Trigger Your ‘80s and ‘90s Nostalgia
Love it or hate it, the aesthetic of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s is back in a big way. Many people don't realize the retro look we associate with this era was born out of a movement called Memphis Design, a cultural phenomenon combining bold geometric shapes, graphic patterns and bright, contrasting colour palettes.
Remember “Saved by the Bell”? Those squiggles, black-and-white stripes and pops of neon were emblematic of Memphis style.Whether you think this design is awful or awesome, there's no denying its kitschy appeal. If you're not ready to deep dive into ‘80s décor, these DIY ideas are great for trying it out —no major investments required.
1. Get creative with Memphis patternsSource
If you're going to go to Memphis, you'll need a bold, outrageous pattern. Thankfully, it's easy to get a Memphis print made for virtually any item of your choosing! Make bespoke wallpaper, hang a retro tapestry or even kit out your bedspread in some Memphis-inspired fabric.
2. Go back in time with a DIY doughnut clock
Travel back in time with this ‘80s-inspired doughnut clock! For this project, you'll need a wooden clock face, clock kit, spray paint, acrylic paint, paint brushes, pencil and masking tape. Looking for something music-inspired? A retro clock DIY lets you reuse your old vinyl records.
3. Get snacking with vinyl record bowls
For those of you stuck with a bunch of scratched old vinyl records lying around, this project is the perfect solution to recycling those languishing LPs. Fill a bunch of these DIY bowls with Cool Ranch Doritos, Cheese Balls or Fruit Roll-Ups and you have yourself a rockin' spread for your next ‘80s-themed party.
4. Celebrate colour with painted throw pillows
This super-affordable DIY lets you get creative and show off your paint skills. All you need is a solid pillow cover and insert, craft paint, brushes and wax paper. These pillows will look great in a living room, bedroom or kids' playroom—anywhere that needs a pop of fun without going overboard.
5. Jazz up your bedroom with a Memphis accent wall
If you're not a fan of traditional stick-on wallpaper, there's another way to give your walls the Memphis treatment. Select a few different paint colours and use tape to create those Memphis-inspired geometric triangles for the perfect accent wall. The best part? You can go bold or subdued with your palette and pattern—it's entirely up to you. You just have to ask yourself: How Memphis do you want to be?