HomeExpertSpeakMinimalism after the 80s, Gita Ramanan

Minimalism after the 80s, Gita Ramanan

‘With apartment complexes becoming a mainstay, shrinking family sizes and busy lifestyles,  Minimalism as a style with its interesting sub-styles, is going to play a much larger role in the coming decade’, says Gita Ramanan, Chief (Design) Alchemist & Co-founder of Design Café

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Indian Interior Design saw a sudden shift to minimalism in the late-80s. The 80s were all about vibrant and loud colours, heavy furniture and elaborate themes. During the late 80s and in the 90s, joint families gave way to nuclear homes as more & more people moved to bigger cities. The two major factors which led to the advent of this trend were:

Compact Spaces, photographs: Design Café


Compact Spaces

Independent homes were no longer dominating the real estate market, and apartment complexes sprang up to accommodate the rapid inflow of people to the cities. Apartments meant lesser space per family and this was a huge contributor to the advent of minimalism in India. Due to the restriction of available space, people could no longer hoard furniture and décor. Space utilization and multi-functional furniture became the sought-after solutions to this problem.


Change of Taste, photographs: Design Café

Change of Taste

While the 80s were more about flamboyance & theatrical homes, the next generation, saturated on this heavy fare, preferred understated & subtle sophistication when it came to design and decor. Suddenly, heavy and ornate wooden furniture was considered old-fashioned. Preference shifted to open spaces & minimal décor styles.

People are still gravitating towards minimalism when it comes to their personal style, specially the urban population. However, a few elements of the 80s are making a comeback in home décor.

Here are a few examples on how we are blending modern minimalism with the maximalism of the 80s

Contrasting Colours, photographs: Design Café


Contrasting colours

As opposed to when all walls of a room were the same shade, one statement wall with a bold colour/ pattern is the new favourite of homeowners. For e.g. a teal coloured wall in a grey room can give the space that burst of colour that makes it  contemporary & chic.

Simpler Furniture Design, photographs: Design Café



Simpler furniture design

Some new designs are transformed versions of older ones that were in vogue in the 80s, eg: using the styling but replacing ornate designs with clean, geometric ones. Preference has also moved from heavy woods to lighter alternatives like pine, ash, etc.

Wallpapering Trend, photographs: Design Café


The Wallpapering Trend

In the 80s, people used wallpapers extensively due to its cost benefit & aesthetic appeal, but were unhappy with its durability. With better technology and improved raw materials, this trend is making a comeback with designs both elaborate and simple, classical and geometric.

Choice of Lines, photographs: Design Café



Choice of lines

If we take a closer look at the wall designs of the 80s we will find a lot of ornamental patterns. These have been simplified today with the use of simple, clean lines.

As we look back, the design & décor trends of today might seem like a drastic change from that of the 80s. But this trend has been in the making since then & is still evolving every year. With apartment complexes becoming a mainstay, shrinking family sizes and busy lifestyles,  Minimalism as a style with its interesting sub-styles, is going to play a much larger role in the coming decade.


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