Decorating a home in the manner of the 1980s is a bold move. The retro decor can all too easily look dated or cartoonish; honing in on a sensible, harmonious look from the period is key. Meg Gustafson and Neal Miller are pulling it off with a strict no-brass rule and just a dash of neon.

Inspired by the Memphis Group and the 80s art deco revival, the couple incorporate geometric motifs and pop art in their Logan Square pad. Secondhand pieces from the Reagan era are profuse on Craigslist and vintage shops, says Gustafson, a project coordinator with the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The abundance can be a bit of a problem. “It’s so easy to find 80s stuff, and so much of it is so ugly and kitschy—I would’ve just bought all of it, but Neal’s kept me on track,” she says. “We have a no-brass rule. It reminded us too much of suburban 80s stuff or 70s-Hollywood Regency stuff.” Her Tumblr, 80s Deco, also helps her stay the course designwise. (The page’s tagline: “Because good taste is boring.”)

A pomo Italian spider chair is an eye-catching focal point, as are the living room walls painted in bold patterns—a cucumber design on one wall is a reference to David Hockney’s pool paintings, and a rectangle pattern on another borrows from 70s Italian design. A symmetrical black-and-white design created from strips of vinyl tape masks the worn kitchen floor, and an Ikea planter looks totally 80s after Gustafson and Miller gave it a two-tone-pink paint job. They’ve also designed a few pieces of their own: Gustafson imitated a totem by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, painting a stack of objects including a Kleenex box, a roll of tape, and a lightbulb. Miller made two different lamps—a red zigzag light fixture crafted from balsa wood is an homage to Memphis Design; he revamped another by spray painting it and attaching a lightbulb shaped like a globe to up its kitsch factor.

  • Andrea Bauer
  • Kitchen with refurbished lamp and vinyl tape floor design

  • Andrea Bauer
  • Totem by Meg Gustafson and light fixture by Neal Miller

An 80s-themed home isn’t complete without some neon (and, OK, a bust of a dude with a slick haircut, a piece the couple also own). Pink-and-green neon tubes beam on the dining-room wall. From the street, the apartment emits a hot-pink glow. “We’re those crazy people,” Gustafson says.