When navigating the mostly all-white home decor industry, it typically comes with its own set of isolated challenges for designers of color. Not only are they forced to carry out inordinate commitments to excellence, but the opportunities for acclaim tend to be equally as difficult.
In spite of the undeniable barriers that exist in business today, true industry representation is something that drives and connects Black-owned home decor companies to their respective communities. They offer products that tell a deeper story, find and share inspiration in Black heritage, and are giving back with resources that support and empower in a host of ways from health to education. While many remain underrated – there’s still a great deal of work to do before they are on a level playing field – they could actually hold the key that opens up a world to some of the most amazing upgrades to your sanctuary.
If you’re looking to freshen up your living space these days, then passing over 1980s and 1990s-inspired home decor especially, is a grave mistake. Although the saying about how old things become new again proves true, both decades have given rise to trends that are timeless – or, at the very least, seem to reemerge. The cottage-core floral patterns, bright colors that appear to glow with intensity and angular furniture of the ’80s coupled with the smooth, light-colored wood finishes, natural stone tops and wicker weaves of the ’90s are once again embraced in a big way, and Black-owned home decor retailers are brimming with carefully curated vintage and vintage-inspired versions of these aesthetics that deliver a whopping dose of art and nostalgia.
Ahead, a list of Black-owned shops that demonstrate how ’80s and ’90s decor is back and as stylish as ever. Our use of spending power to fuel these small and local vintage dealers and up-and-coming designers is not only crucial now more than ever, but it also contributes to the success of the industry in the years to come.
BLK MKT Vintage
Launched in 2014 by founders Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart, their Brooklyn storefront unmistakably reflects Black cultural expression. Each item proudly displays one-of-a-kind, hand-painted detailing and/or a compelling story of its origin that unites the relationships between Black people, American history and pop culture. They also provide customized interior styling services, so you can truly revamp your home into a retro-inspired retreat.
Twin brother design duo Byron and Dexter Peart started Goodee as a response to their frustration with the fashion business, which they believe has become a mostly wasteful, broken system overrun with excess, seasonality and narrow-minded values. With geometric-shaped tables and chairs, tapestry blankets and wicker baskets that will take you on a fantastic voyage to another time, they sell impeccable home decor and furniture with a nostalgic vibe that will seamlessly assist in creating the ‘90’s-style home you desire.
If you’re looking to really bring in and adopt the ’80s era into your personal space, then Glow Geometric is the vintage shopping destination for you. Founded by branding manager Dana Lewis-Murphy in 2016 after losing her mother to cancer – she yearned to reconnect with a time in her childhood that was happy and lively – the online retailer’s collection of vivid, candy-colored home decor bears a striking resemblance to 1980s and 1990’s TV programming like A Different World, Full House and Saved By The Bell. Pieces range from cubed coffee tables and oversized watch-shaped wall clocks to color-blocked tea kettles that are interesting, well-made and fun.
If the space-age decor of the late ‘90’s is your jam, then the Biomorphist, an online resource also founded by Lewis-Murphy, will grant you license to immerse yourself in the trend openly. A higher-end perspective of the Judy Jeston-inspired aesthetic featuring designers such as Zaha Hadid, Ron Arad, Phillipe Stark and Karim Rashid, it offers vibrant and multifaceted decor items like lucite tables and dome swivel chairs that, once added to your space, instantly reconnects you to a time gone by.