Bleats

Where To Buy The Apothecary Table From Friends, And Other Non-Stop Nostalgia Homewares

It's like you're in the TV while watching the TV, or something.

When you’re in search of unique, fun furniture, a flea market is probably a good bet. But much to Phoebe’s chagrin (we would assume), the only place to get a perfect replica of Friends’ most iconic props nowadays is Pottery Barn. For the show’s 25th anniversary, the U.S. furniture chain is selling 14 exclusive pieces, many of which haven’t yet been revealed.

Getting a nostalgia kick doesn’t always mean waiting for a big anniversary though. If you, too, love to live vicariously through fictional characters to fill the emptiness in your life, then boy do I have some interior design suggestions for you!

IKEA also capitalised on pop culture this year, with a marketing campaign proving that you can recreate iconic sets from Friends, Stranger Things, and another ’90s kids’ classic – The Simpsons. Sure it requires a bit of elbow grease to achieve any accuracy, and you might need to do some serious squinting IRL to see the resemblance, but outside of the colour I’d say this ‘Knislinge‘ couch is pretty damn close to the original. Added bonus – won’t bankrupt you.

Without paying thousands for original Hollywood props, you have to put some work in to achieve some of the grander stylistic choices of the cult classics. If the bold aesthetic of the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks inspires you, there are plenty of creators who’ll make you a throw pillow reflecting that iconic black-and-white carpet design. Or you could roll up your sleeves, and DIY whatever you like. Might even want to resurface your floor if you’re a David Lynch diehard.

Ever thought about how your kitchen could do with a little bit of magic? ThinkGeek have the Potterheads covered, because they’re selling dinnerware that doubles for divination class. Don’t panic if your cereal spells death – the Grim was already printed on the bottom of the bowl.

Are you, like many of us, lamenting the old days of Disney when everything was expressively animated and Robin Williams was voicing the Genie? Relive the glory days with a rather accurate replica of the magic carpet in a miniature, tea towel form. Perhaps not as fun as the real thing but I would wager that it’s slightly more useful (and less skittish).

And what better way to prove your dedication to your adolescent screen heroes than by appropriating them for your personal items? Live out your fantasy of being held at gunpoint by Samuel L Jackson and embrace the irony of the BMF wallet from Pulp Fiction. Use that to store your drivers license and upgrade your license plate to go with it – be the Fresh Prince you always wished you were cool enough to be with this recreation from that instantly recognisable opening theme. For legal reasons, I don’t recommend actually whacking it to the front of a cab and driving it around though.

Stranger Things 3 Was A Period Drama So Here’s Your History Lesson

WARNING: Spoilers, obviously.

There is no doubt that a lot of those 40 million viewers were either too young to remember the Eighties or emerged into the world long after perms went past their use-by date. Dear reader, if you are among those embryos then you’ll have missed a lot of the more nuanced references in the latest season.

Warning: Here there be spoilers

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Stranger Things 3 showed, name-dropped, and referenced about a zillion cult classics of film and television, including movies that established iconic tropes in the horror genre. Thank The Thing for the Mind Flayer’s bloodthirsty alien tendencies and many-legged, insect-like form, and The Blob for its new ability to explode living things into disgusting, sentient flesh sacks and absorb them.

In Chapter Seven, the Scoops Troop briefly drop in on a showing of Back To The Future. The date that the episode takes place is the 3rd July 1985, the exact same day that the movie premiered IRL. Cool nod, but not exactly subtle.

But Stranger Things doesn’t just take place in the Eighties, it also parodies the era and romanticises it. One of the more clever ways it does this is by incorporating the political sentiments of the time into this season’s Russian villains.

The long and anxious years of the Cold War seeped into the cultural conscience of America in ways that have never been fully untangled. Most are as afraid of the ‘commies’ now as they were then, and even though the tensions had waned by the time that Stranger Things 3 is set in, the trope of the evil Russian was booming as much at the cinema as in Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign.

The most obvious parallel is Red Dawn, the classic story of Soviet-invades-town, high-schoolers-fight-back. Though I’d say a bear in the woods is a lot less scary than an interdimensional tentacle beast with telepathic powers.

Another element of Eighties iconography that takes centre-stage in Season 3 is the blatant consumerism of the era, from the Starcourt mall setting to the product placement that is so obvious it can only be intentional. Beverages like Coke and Alexei’s cherry Slurpees get a crazy amount of screen time, and at one point the kids spend almost a full minute arguing about the taste of New Coke before Eleven interrupts them – a throwback to the release of the Coca-Cola Company’s failed recipe reworking that year.

At first, the scene is completely jarring and might have irritated you (especially if you aren’t wearing rose-tinted nostalgia glasses), but when you realise how common product placement was at the time it begins to make a lot more sense. Ray-Ban sunglasses sales got a great boost from Tom Cruise modelling them first in Risky Businessand then in Top Gun, while E.T. earned a million dollars for eating some Reese’s Pieces. Gotta love it when the Duffer Brothers can poke fun at their own nostalgia-gasm.

Unfortunately, it’s pretty much impossible to get a period piece perfect, and Stranger Things has its share of very subtle anachronisms. The most pedantic among us managed to spot one unfortunate error in Chapter Five, when El and Mike break out a packet of M&Ms at the hospital. The packet contains no blue chocolates, which is a good start since they weren’t around ’til the late 90s, but they failed to come through on the red ones – they were discontinued for a window between 1976 and 1987. Oof, so close people.

On the other hand, it could simply imply that there was a nearly decade-old packet of candy in that vending machine, which definitely isn’t impossible. Just a bit gross.

Kmart Who? These Ethical Homewares Are Worth Investing In If You Want To Stand Out From The Pack

Looks good, feels good.

Let’s be real, when you buy your homewares from Kmart, you’re not going to be able to pass it down to your kids in 50 years. Sure, you might be able to buy a throw rug for a few bucks, but that rug is definitely going to dissolve the second you spill a glass of wine on it.

So while Kmart has some great, affordable options for furnishing your first apartment, if you’re interested in upgrading to something longer-lasting and more environmentally-friendly, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to assume that you’re not here cause you’ve already gone to town on the eco-home trend and are currently living in a clay igloo in the mountains. Thankfully, it doesn’t take a whole lifestyle reversal to make some sustainable interior design choices.

If you’re going to go for furniture that won’t cost the Earth, be prepared to offset it with the cash money cost. 1825 Interiors uses reclaimed timber, which consumes less energy to produce, and leaves more forest intact. A piece from 1825 won’t cost you a heap more than the IKEA equivalent, and it’ll come with a build-in rustic feel.

Sometimes, though, we want to embrace our wackier side and express it through our design choices, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than to get a decorative bowl or garden planter from Lil Gas, who have taken upcycling to the max. No, your eyes don’t deceive you, those are definitely the same gas bottles you’d find your dad struggling out to the barbeque with.

When buying bedding, it’s tempting to go for the cheap polyester, but as well as not being biodegradable, it’s just not as comfy as cotton! Though cotton uses a lot of water, it’s really the lesser of two evils, and Pottery Barn Australia has this cute bed set on sale. It’s even Oeko-Tex® certified, meaning it’s good for you and the environment.

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the kitchen. The big trend in sustainable dinnerware right now is bamboo, which is super renewable because it grows back in less than five years! Impact Eco Tableware have sets in a range of colours and patterns, and though the price tag is a little hefty, isn’t it worth it for the aesthetic?

While you’re cooking up a storm, you’ve got to keep your hands safe from hot surfaces. After all, no one is going to enjoy your muffins if they’re seared flesh flavoured. RoomArecycledJEANS are a Sydney-based Etsy store who have really embraced the ‘upcycling’ trend. You’d be sure to make a dinner party fashion statement with their denim oven gloves. Etsy itself is a great place to look for recycled homeware products- you’ll always be guaranteed to find unique items that get your guests talking.

Now that you’ve got all the necessities, it’s time to break out the dècor! Scented candles are great because they satisfy all of the senses (except taste – please do not lick the fire). Your standard paraffin wax candles are an environmental bummer though, so swap them out for beeswax, soy or coconut wax alternative- they’re all clean-burning and don’t release any nasty carcinogens. Luckily, these are pretty easy to find nowadays. For an even eco-friendlier twist, try a Rewined candle. Not only will they satisfy your pinot grigio craving, they’re contained in reused bottles!

All these interior ideas are one thing, but what do you do when you’re headed out to the office? We create the most waste when we’re out and about, so make sure you’re taking your lunch in a reusable container. Tupperware has great news – their products are both BPA free and recyclable, plus you get that famous lifetime guarantee. If you’ve sworn off plastic forever, (very noble), Seed & Sprout have The Full Monty of lunch kits with their zero-waste bundle. And when you get to the office and find you’ve been designated coffee lackey, keep your coworkers’ consciences clear by using an Aussie-made Stay Tray.

And whatever you do, don’t discount a garage sale! Buying secondhand furniture is the most environmentally-friendly (and budget-friendly) decision you can make. Not only are you rejecting the norms of mass consumption – very chic – but you’re also preventing more perfectly usable goods from ending up in landfill. Maybe the seller is even on a regifting bonanza and you’ll get a brand new item, while doing them a favour.

Go for a browse on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, and you’ll even find some goodies listed for free! Sure, there might be a scratch here or there, but nothing you can’t hide with a fun coconut candle.

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