The 80s renovation boom

19 October 2017

Cream brick veneer, laminated kitchen cabinets, low ceilings and dominating garages are just a few of the design trends that became popular in the 1980s and while most of us are happy to leave these in the past, it seems 80s homes are now providing big opportunities for the renovations market in Australia.  

According to a report by HIA, the boom in house building in the late 1980s will result in a predicted $3 billion surge in renovation activity in Australia as an increasing number of homes become ripe for improvements.

What makes these homes perfect for renovations, particularly on a budget, is that they already include many of the features we expect in contemporary homes, such as good foundations and modern floor plans, which lowers the cost for improvements.

Rendering, a new entry, knocking down walls to improve flow and updating kitchen and bathroom cabinets are straight-forward remodelling tasks that can give a 1980s home a much needed face lift. 

An updated facade, balcony and paint job helped to modernise this 1980s two-storey home in Richmond, Melbourne. Source:


A kitchen built in 1986 is updated thanks to new counter-tops and backsplash, updated appliances and hardwood flooring. Source:


The original structure and layout of this 1986 home were kept but two-panelled doors were installed to bring in natural light, the carpet-runner was removed from the staircase and herringbone floors and panelling on the walls were added. Source:


This classic 80s brick facade was rendered and painted to improve its street appeal, while a boxed portico and timber front steps completed the transformation. Source:



I'm the new editor of BUILD and have a keen interest in sustainable housing and new technologies.