Back in the 80s & 90s, we were obsessed with Laura Ashley home decor (long before Modern Farmhouse was a thing)

Laura Ashley home decor - Vintage 1980s and 1990s at Click Americana

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You could spot that Laura Ashley Home vibe at a glance — those patterns (often florals) with a warm and cozy English country feel. And in the 80s and 90s, Americans loved it.

To this day, her products remain popular around the world. In addition to her company’s American shop website, Amazon offers a wide range of Laura Ashley products, from quilts and bedding to sheets and sleepwear. (They even have some dog beds!) 

In the US, her current wallpapers can be found at Lowe’s and Home Depot, and Overstock.com and Wallpaper Direct, while bedding and soft furnishings are sold at Target, Overstock and Home Depot. (If you’re looking for vintage Laura Ashley home decor, also be sure to check eBay.)

Her mellow styles are pretty timeless, and could even be used with today’s popular Modern Farmhouse home decor.

As you can see in one of the ads below from 1987, the Laura Ashley company billed itself as “the world’s foremost purveyor of fine English designs.” While that was true, Mrs Ashley herself was, in fact, not English but Welsh.

Tragically, Laura Ashley passed away after a fall down a flight of stairs in her daughter’s home in 1985 — just as her company was truly taking off in the United States. Her legacy lives on in the Ashley Family Foundation’s charitable work.

Laura Ashley Home Furnishing Collection: Wallpaper & fabric (1982)

Laura Ashley Home Furnishing Collection (1982) - Wallpaper and fabric


Laura Ashley home decor: Floral fabric on LouverDrape vertical blinds (1978)

Laura Ashley floral fabric on LouverDrape vertical blinds (1978)


Sweet prints: The “Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating” (1982)

Fresh from the prettiest decorating book of the year… a portfolio of irresistible ideas to brighten every room in the house.

Excerpted from Ladies’ Home Journal promo preview of Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating (1982)

What’s in a name? If it’s Laura Ashley, it means prints… enchanting flower-strewn fabrics that have long been decorator favorites. Now the new “Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating” tells how anyone can assemble a complete Laura Ashley “look.”

Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating cover photo (1982)

It’s a romantic, sun-splashed approach to decorating achieved with yards and yards of crisp fabric… delectable colors mixed with fresh starchy white… precise attention to detail. And best of all, it’s adaptable to every room in the house.

Here and on the following pages are hints on how to make the look your own.

The real Laura Ashley
The real Laura Ashley

Color, in this case, is the misty pinks and mulberry tints of an English country garden is a Laura Ashley signature.

In the hallway here, a mix of small-scale patterns covers walls, ruffled chair seat, and pillows — even turns up in a charming, flower-vase print.

A long, narrow Oriental rug in muted tones invites the eye to the adjoining dining area, where more rosy patterning can be glimpsed on the table skirt, chair seats, and flower-print picture. The country-style hutch, displaying a collection of lacy milk glass, is narrow enough not to impede the flow of traffic.

Another Ashley trademark: The mass of all-of-a-kind flowers in a single large container (which makes a more dramatic statement than a few stems scattered here and there).

Hallway decor from the Laura Ashley Book of Home Decorating (1982)


Cottage-style bedroom decor designed by Laura Ashley (1982)

The fresh and pretty “cottage-style” bedroom is actually a small attic aerie where the slope of an eave forms an alcove for walk-in storage.

The look is cozy and relatively easy to assemble, with gentle prints in pale colors on walls, double-skirting a table, slipcovering plump upholstered chairs — and a metal bedstead painted a matching color. The pine flooring, in good condition, was given a slick of polish and left bare.

Cottage-style bedroom decor designed by Laura Ashley (1982)


Serene & sophisticated iving room decor by Laura Ashley (1982)

The Ashley-style living room is elegant and serene, due in part to the use of a single, sophisticated print on all the upholstery and the half-curtains at the French windows. For contrast: the rug and accessories are all in peaceful, pale beiges.

Elegant and serene living room decor by Laura Ashley (1982)


Laura Ashley Home: Make your own custom window shade

Attention to detail is central in the Laura Ashley scheme of things … “Taking a perfectly ordinary well-made object, lavishing extra care upon it, and producing something very special and significant for you” is how she phrases it.

Even an object as prosaic as a window shade can be an important decorating plus. Try to imagine the charming kitchen window below without its piped and printed fabric shade, and you’ll see what we mean.

A custom shade — usually a better choice than fussy curtains when dressing a window that has a kitchen counter, desk, or other work surfaces below — is easy to make with a shade kit and fabric to match or coordinate with wallpaper or paint.

Stiffen the fabric to give it more body and weight (there are fabric-stiffener products available at notions counters), then cut it to size. Add piping, fringe, braid, or ribbon to the lower edge. Attach the fabric to the shade roller according to the kit instructions.

DIY custom window shade - roller blind with polkadot Laura Ashley fabric (1982)


Laura Ashley home decor: Window curtains (1982)

Left: In a blue and white bathroom, the extra decorative touch is a puffy, fluffy Austrian shade, stitched up in a cotton print to match the walls. On the window ledge: a cheery row of potted houseplants, which thrive in a bathroom’s greenhouse atmosphere.

Center: A window in a tiny dressing room was turned into a cozy window seat. The special touch here: double curtains — a veil of the sheer net near the glass, and a second pair in a warm beige tied back with silken tassels to frame the entire recess. (Playing prints off against lacy sheers and eyelets is a favorite Ashley ploy.)

The seat is made comfy with a tailored cushion and a pile of print-covered pillows.

Right: Graceful, full-dress treatment for a bedroom window with Austrian shades, paired with long tieback curtains, and white wooden shutters. Fabric picture frame echoes the heavenly blue of mini-prints.

Laura Ashley 80s home decor - Window curtains (1982)


Dreamy Laura Ashley home decor on soft furnishings

“Soft furnishings” is how Laura Ashley describes home-decorating projects that are made in whole or in part of fabric.

The bedroom below, with its dreamy air, is almost entirely softly furnished: Curtains, tiebacks, sheets and quilt are all fashioned of coordinating prints and solids.

Dreamy pink bedroom decor by Laura Ashley (1980s)

Left: In another bedroom, a single tender red land white print is used on walls, stitched into a corner table cover, even stiffened and pleated into a lampshade.

Center: In the airy and bright all-white hallway, stenciling on chairs repeats the delicate tulip print of chair-seat covers. Glossy paint on walls and furniture unifies the area. A changed color comes from the multi-hued rug and stylized framed flower print.

Right: The Ashley-inspired kitchen is lavished with paint and paper, all in creamy beige and white. Traditional Roman shades in fabric to match the wallpaper soften the look of modern laminated counters and bi-color cabinets.

3 vintage Laura Ashley home decor scenes from 1982


Vintage Laura Ashley for Burlington sheet set – Plum (1983)

Vintage Laura Ashley for Burlington sheet set - Plum (1983)


Classic floral Laura Ashley for Burlington sheet set – Morning Glories (1983)

Classic floral Laura Ashley for Burlington sheet set - Morning Glories (1983)


80s Laura Ashley for Burlington sheet set – Bembridge (1984)

80s Laura Ashley for Burlington sheet set - Bembridge (1984)


Vintage 80s Laura Ashley floral home decor (1984)

30 years ago, Laura Ashley designed her first pattern. Today, Laura Ashley means the finest of fashion for you and your home, available in 51 shops in the US, Canada and by mail.

Vintage 80s Laura Ashley floral home decor (1984)


Pink and white striped and floral “Country Roses” Laura Ashley sheets (1984)

Pink and white striped and floral Laura Ashley sheets from 1984


Laura Ashley Upstairs-Downstairs Raintree Designs wallcoverings & fabric (1984)

Laura Ashley Upstairs-Downstairs Raintree Designs wallcoverings and fabric (1984)


Retro Laura Ashley bedding (1985)

Retro Laura Ashley bedding (1985)


Vintage Laura Ashley patterns from the 80s

Vintage Laura Ashley patterns from the 80s


Laura Ashley’s A House in the Hamptons wallpaper and fabric (1985)

Laura Ashley's A House in the Hamptons wallpaper and fabric (1985)


ARTICLE 2


Home Furnishings 1986 catalog cover – Laura Ashley

Home Furnishings 1986 catalog cover - Laura Ashley


Laura Ashley made-to-measure soft furnishings (1986)

Made to measure service offers a comprehensive selection of window treatments and bedcoverings custom made to your specific requirements. Each order, fulfilled with out painstaking attention to detail, brings a distinct and professional touch to any interior.

Laura Ashley made-to-measure soft furnishings from 1986


Classic 80s pastel floral cotton bed linens from Laura Ashley (1986)

Introducing the natural luxury of no-iron, 100% cotton sheets and pillowcases in the most popular Laura Ashley designs. Coordinate these with ur ensemble of cotton blend pillows, shams, neckrolls, comforters and bed ruffles. 

Classic 80s pastel floral cotton bed linens from Laura Ashley (1986)


Vintage country-style canopy bed – Laura Ashley patterns (1986)

Vintage country-style canopy bed - Laura Ashley patterns (1986)


Laura Ashley and Raintree Designs home decor from the 80s

Laura Ashley and Raintree Designs home decor from the 80s


Vintage cotton bedding from Laura Ashley (1987)

Vintage cotton bedding from Laura Ashley (1987)


Vintage Laura Ashley lap blankets in plaids and stripes (1987)

Vintage Laura Ashley lap blankets in plaids and stripes (1987)


Vintage Laura Ashley “Ticking Stripe” pattern bedding (1987)

Vintage Laura Ashley striped bedding (1987)


Laura Ashley china set – feminine Alice pattern from the 80s

Laura Ashley china set - Alice pattern from the 80s


Laura Ashley home furnishings collection of fine English designs (1987)

As the world’s foremost purveyor of fine English designs, Laura Ashley offers the most complete range of decorating products for your home.

Select from a wide variety of beautiful vinyl wallcoverings, wallpaper borders, fabrics and other decorative accessories that coordinate to create the classic English look.

80s Laura Ashley home furnishings collection - Floral patterns


Vintage Laura Ashley Home: Bloomsbury Collection fabrics and housewares (1980s)

Vintage Laura Ashley Bloomsbury Collection fabrics and housewares (1980s)


Vintage Laura Ashley Home Furnishings collection – fabric and wallpaper (1987)

Vintage Laura Ashley Home Furnishings collection - fabric and wallpaper (1987)


Laura Ashley home decor — 1980s upholstery fabrics

Laura Ashley home decor - 1980s upholstery fabrics


Bloomsbury Collection fabrics and housewares from Laura Ashley Home (1980s)

Bloomsbury Collection fabrics and housewares from Laura Ashley (1980s)


1980s Laura Ashley Home Alice China pattern plates and tea set

1980s Laura Ashley Alice China pattern plates and tea set


Yellow floral Laura Ashley luxurious sheet sets (1980s)

Yellow floral Laura Ashley luxurious sheet sets (1980s)


Laura Ashley’s American style, seen in redecorating an 1830s cottage (1985)

From a vintage shopping guide advertorial in House Beautiful (February 1985)

Laura Ashley's American style, seen in redecorating an 1830s cottage (1985)

In a simple 1830 American cottage, Laura Ashley proves how beautifully color and floral can carry the decorating.

When Laura Ashley decorates parlors such as this one she engages in honest-to-goodness homework and comes up with a wealth of new fabric, wallpaper and furniture designs.

“From the outset,” she says, “I’ve been trying to give everyone a chance to furnish a room as if it had been done by an interior designer. What better way than to build my home furnishings collections from the point of view of specific houses?”

In her designs for 1985, this c. 1830 Greek Revival cottage in Sag Harbor, N.Y., plays a special role — it’s her first American house.

Not surprisingly, she and her young client, an art consultant, saw eye-to-eye from the start. He felt that the parlor should strike a balance between period elegance and curl-up-by-the-fire ease.

She responded by pairing a bright faux stipple wallpaper with a formal leaf border. For the curtain fabric, Mrs. Ashley borrowed blooms from a patchwork quilt. For furniture, she adapted a Regency-legged slipper chair and a Second Empire loveseat, tempering their formality with more comfortable proportions.

How white and unadorned interior decor can be beautiful

Learning restraint is as important as knowing how to embellish; a room can be at its most beautiful when it’s white and unadorned.

“The light, I suppose, is the point where your decorating begins. When you stand in a room, it gives you a feeling for what the colors should be,” says Laura Ashley, who played up the parlor’s afternoon glow with yellow and apricot-stippled wallpaper.

Even at night, the room is wonderfully luminescent, says the owner, who finds it most beautiful by candlelight.

The newly remodeled kitchen basks in another kind of light — the clarity of the morning and midday sun — that floods in through a high fanlight, garden doors and windows.

Parlor with yellow and apricot colors - Laura Ashley designed home decor (1985)

Since color couldn’t rival the beauty of the ever-changing light, Mrs. Ashley kept the room immaculately white, warming it only with a painted country table and chairs. In the less sunny dining room, the quality Mrs. Ashley focused on was that of light shimmering on beautiful wood.

Since she likes to let the furniture dictate her fabrics and their design, she responded to the formality of the owner’s yew dining table and chairs with a stylized tulip and leaf wallpaper motif borrowed from a 17th-century Italian book cover. Its creamy background makes the dining room a serene visual link between the kitchen and the parlor.

Dining room style by Laura Ashley - 1980s

Laura Ashley designed this bedroom decor

Strong verticals — in stripes and a canopy hung from the ceiling’s slope — heighten these tiny second-story bedrooms.

How do you give a bedroom under the eaves a feeling of grandeur? That’s the challenge Laura Ashley faced twice in these mirror-image rooms.

In the guest room, she used stripes to lead the eye upward, an illusion furthered by the high-posted bed.

MORE: A canopy bed with wrought iron trees as the posts rooted this pink bedroom

Carefully measured so that it fits neatly under the ceiling’s slope, it seems, at first glance, to be as tall as a stately four-poster.

Laura Ashley's guest bedroom decor (1985)

In the master bedroom, Mrs. Ashley relied on one bold vertical stroke: a bed canopy ingeniously secured to the ceiling. It’s framed with three valances (actually balloon shades that can be lowered at night) that she stapled to wood boards fastened to the ceiling.

ALSO SEE: Fall in love with a romantically serene old-fashioned bedroom with a vintage canopy bed

Two sets of corner rods support the end curtains, and the canopy’s “sky” of fabric is shirred on two parallel rods, hooked to the ceiling. An upholstered headboard completes the cocoon of fabric.

Laura Ashley's main bedroom decor (1985)

“When Mrs. Ashley asked if I wanted a canopy bed, I said ‘wonderful,'” recalls the owner, but he isn’t sure he would have suggested it. Now suitably masculine in geometric blue and white prints, the canopy is one of his favorite touches in the house.


Laura Ashley 80s home decor — Decorator Collection

Laura Ashley 80s home decor- Decorator Collection


Laura Ashley Venetian Collection – Red and gold fabrics (vintage 80s)

Laura Ashley Venetian Collection - Red and gold fabrics (vintage 80s)


Laura Ashley bath towel collection (1987)

Laura Ashley bath towel collection (1987)


1980s Laura Ashley home decor prints

Laura Ashley 1980s home decor prints


Romantic Louise bedroom collection from Laura Ashley Home (1988)

Romantic Laura Ashley Louise collection bedroom home decor (1988)


Laura Ashley Home small floral prints (1988)

Laura Ashley small floral prints (1988)


Pink Laura Ashley Home 200 thread count sheets from 1988

Pink Laura Ashley 200 thread count sheets from 1988


Vintage 80s Florette bedding and fabric from Laura Ashley Home (1989)

Vintage 80s Florette bedding and fabric from Laura Ashley Home (1989)


Pretty bedroom wallpaper and fabric from Laura Ashley Home (1989)

Pretty bedroom wallpaper and fabric from Laura Ashley Home (1989)


Living room with 80s Laura Ashley Home decor (1989)

Living room with 80s Laura Ashley Home decor (1989)


Decor selection from the Laura Ashley Home spring collection 1989

Decor selection from the Laura Ashley Home spring collection 1989


90s kitchen with Laura Ashley Home fabrics/wallcoverings and Armstrong flooring (1991)

90s kitchen with Laura Ashley fabrics and wallcoverings and Armstrong flooring (1991)


Cottage decor from the Laura Ashley Home Spring Collection (1990)

Cottage decor from the Laura Ashley Home Spring Collection 1990


Chairs in Laura Ashley Home fabrics from 1993

Chairs in Laura Ashley Home fabrics from 1990


Vintage Laura Ashley Polyanthus floral print sheets – English country style (1990s)

Vintage Laura Ashley Polyanthus floral print sheets - English country style (1990s)


Laura Ashley bed & bath collection (Spring 1997)

Laura Ashley bed and bath collection - Spring 1997

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One Response

  1. Wow. I used to pore over her books by the hour. Now, I can barely stomach this style. It’s so saccharine. Eek. So glad we evolved beyond this, and wonder whether it will ever come back. A little goes a long way.

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