Imagine yourself back in the 1970s for a moment.Neil Diamondis playing on the turntable; you and your friends are relaxing on the shag carpet in your living room; and over in the kitchen, the Harvest Gold rotary phone is ringing and it might just be the boy or girl you like. Yes, the 1970s were a simpler time.
But just as the decade was defined by its music, movies, and fashion fads, anyone who grew up during the '70s would also agree that there were some very memorable interior design trends. Herein, we're taking you on a trip down memory lane with the most iconic 1970s home decor—some of which we hope comes back in style, and other designs we never want to see again.
In the 1970s, swinging wasn't just for children on the playground. With the creation ofNanna and Jorgen Ditzel'sHanging Egg Chair in the late 1950s, adults too were also able to partake in the thrill of dangling in the air—and in style, no less!
Pyrex might not have caught on right when it hit the market in 1915. But when it finally started to resonate with consumers in the 1970s, it was as if the world of home cooking had completely been transformed.
"It changed the way people thought of cooking dishes,"Regan Brumagen, reference librarian at the Corning Museum of Glass, explained toBon Appetit. "It's not this ugly tin pan that's coming out of the oven. It has elegance and style. You can serve it right on the table."
In the 1970s, you didn't wear your heart on your sleeve; you wore it on your bedroom walls. Teens and tweens at the time covered their bedrooms in posters of their favorite bands and actors, ranging fromDavid Bowie and Led Zeppelin toBarbra StreisandandBurt Reynolds.
Though European royalty was getting ready in front of vanities centuries ago, it wasn't until the 1920s and 1930s that these mirrored pieces of furniture made it into American households. "Luxurious dressing tables came to epitomize the modern concept of glamour and luxury," notes a description for the Metropolitan Museum of Art'sexhibitMetropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table.
By the '70s, the mirrored dressing tables were everywhere, and Raymond Loewy's design was the most sought after of all. Pictured here is Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) on the '70s hitBewitchedfixing her perfect flipped 'do in front of her mirrored vanity.
The wicker furniture that we keep outside today was actually quite popular in living rooms during the 1970s.
Alongside the insurgence of antiquing during the decade,wicker made a comeback—despite the fact that the material had an irritable tendency to poke and prod at whoever sat on it.
If you grew up in the 1970s and you weren't a fan of avocado green, then you were pretty much out of luck. From Pyrex and aprons to cabinets and wall paneling,nearly everything manufactured during the decade came in this not-so-subtle shade of green. Here it is featured on an episode of the beloved '70s seriesCharlie's Angels.
According to appliance manufacturer Big Chill, the rise in avocado green's popularity could largely be attributed to "a new regard for nature and environmental concerns" during the '70s.
Homeowners in the '70s didn't have to worry too much about choosing the right paint colors; they had wood paneling (as featured on the walls of the iconic 1970sBrady Bunch home, pictured here).
Despite their name, though, the material used to make these panels usually wasn't wood; rather, it was typically either plywood or fiberboard designed to resemble the real—and more expensive—original.
Having to walk down a few steps to get to your living room was commonplace in the 1970s, as you can see here onThe Mary Tyler Moore Show.And, according to Realtor.com, we haveBruce Goffto thank for what was called the "sunken" living room. The architect designed a housein 1927 with a sunken area in the middle of the living room that he dubbed a "conversation pit."
And by the 1970s, architectsEero SaarinenandAlexander Girard helped catapult the trend into the limelight. They incorporated this new design into some of their most famous work in the '50s and '60s, most notably Indiana's Miller House and the TWA Terminal at JFK airport.
In addition to avocado green, another earthy tone that took over 1970s home decor was harvest gold. Here you can see it in the Formans' living room on the period seriesThat '70s Show.
"Harvest gold, burnt orange, and tortoise shell were… key kitchen and appliance colors," explainLeatrice EisemanandKeith Reckerin their bookPantone: The Twentieth Century in Color. However, "the rigor of maintaining an all avocado and harvest gold home was perhaps too much for mainstream consumers, and the palette fell out of favor by the end of the decade."
Hanging above the uncomfortable wicker chairs and bold harvest gold couches in most '70s homes was a sunburst clock or mirror.
Designed by Nelson Associates in 1949, this retro timepiece fit in well with the Art Deco revival of the '70s.
Though macramé plant holders and wall hangings are quite modish this millennium, the woven wall art trend actually belongs to the 1970s. Here's an example behind a spying Janet (Joyce DeWitt) on the '70s-'80s seriesThree's Company.
"Every groovy apartment in the 1970s had its fair share of hanging art called 'macramé,' which was handcrafted and lovingly hung as (sometimes) functional home decor," noted one writer inThe Denver Post.
The 1970s were a big time for ceramic and porcelain accent pieces, like lamps, vases, and wall art (seen here in the movieCasino, which is set during the decade).
It was during the '70s that artists likeRupert Spira,Lucie Rie, andHans Coperrose to prominence, and their ceramic contributions to society helped to catapult the art into the spotlight.
Floral prints were just as ubiquitous in 1970s homes as they were in 1970s closets. And while the florals of the '50s were stuffy and proper, the flower power of the '60s and '70s was big, bold, and bright. Colors like mustard, orange, and avocado green were often featured prominently on floral bedspreads, curtains, and couches.
Check out this one behind the Fonz (Henry Winkler) and Mork (Robin Williams) during aHappyDays-Mork and Mindycrossover episode in 1978.
No groovy '70s pad was complete without at least one five-fingered hand chair. The unusual design was produced and perfected by Mexican artist Pedro Freideberg, whose training as an architect influenced his foray into funky but functional works of art like this one.
In a 1973 episode of The Odd Couple, Felix (Tony Randall) famously giftedOscar (Jack Klugman) with a pair of hand chairs, as you can see here. "They're hands! I feel like an M&M," Oscar joked sitting in it.
While its official name might be up for debate—it's been called the pod chair, the globe chair, and the egg chair—its influence on 1970s home decor certainly isn't.
This chic oval chair was first designed in 1963 by Finnish furniture makerEero Aarnio. But the egg shape that was popular in the '70s wasn't created until 1968 by Danish designerHenrik Thor-Larsen. Here's an example in the '70s-setmovieDazed and Confused.
Do shag carpets shed? Yes. Are shag carpets easy to clean? Absolutely not. However, folks living in the '70s didn't seem to mind either of these facts because it waseasily the most popular flooring choice at the time. (Here's some carpeting as shaggy as David Cassidy's hair inThePartridgeFamilyhouse in the 1970s.)
"From room to room, these fluffy rugs could be found in spectacular shades of hot pink, sunshine yellow, baby blue, and snowy white… or in gold, olive green, rusty brown, and sea blue (fashionable during the earthy 1970s)," notesDavid Mansourin his workFrom Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century.
In the mid-20th century, "greater use of color for floor and surrounding wall materials also occurred," write the authors ofKitchen and Bath Design Principles: Elements, Form, Styles. Well, that's an understatement.The '70s were a time when homeowners and architects began to experiment with patterned tiles. On the outside of the tub, adorning the walls, lining the floors—if it could be covered in tessellated tile, then it was.
WhileJennifer Lawrencewasn't alive in the 1970s, her character in the period movieAmerican Hustlecertainly was and shelovedpatterned tiles, as you can see here.
For most of the 20th century, plaid was only popular in places like Scotland and England. However, that all changed in the 1970s when tartan took over in the United States asthe pattern of the decade.
Catherine Bach'sDaisy Duke sporting a tiny plaid top onThe Dukes of Hazzardon TVweekly in the 1970s definitely helped make this pattern cool.
In 1968, three Italian designers—Piero Gatti,Cesare Paolini, andFranco Teodoro—were commissioned by the company Sacco to design a chair that fit in with the counterculture of the time. The result? The world's first bean bag chair.
The youth of the '70s loved that the chair had a nontraditional and nonconforming shape (plus, it didn't hurt that the sacs were easily transportable in vans and cars). Here's a burnt orange one featured in a very '70s bedroom onThe Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Afghan blankets were a staple of 1970s home decor, featuring the same chunky stitching of the popular crochet dresses and tunics during the decade."If you grew up in the '70s, as I did, you might fear the granny square—if only because, for a while, clothing was made of nothing else," jokesDebbie Stollerin her bookStitch 'n Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. "Granny square vests, granny square shorts, granny square hats."
Here's a granny square-filled afghan blanket keeping Bob Newhartcozy on his titular TV showin 1972.And to learn more about trends from the past, check outthe Definition of "Stylish" the Year You Were Born.
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“We are seeing more textured fabrics, geometric shapes and patterns, and multi-use/free-flowing spaces like sunken living rooms, room dividers, and upholstered seating,” says Corvette. “Hallmarks of 1970s design include bringing nature indoors, materials like velvet and rattan, and patterned wallpaper.
From the outside, most 70s homes were pretty uninventive. There were the post-and-beam style homes, A-frames, domes, cubes and A-frames. But according to Lisa's Nostalgia Cafe, the king of the 70s home was the one-story ranch. In 1975, 60% of new single-family homes were one-story.
The age of boho and disco has come back in full force, and it's hitting home—literally. From rattan to wicker, home decor has seen a big shift from minimalist and modern to "eclectic hippie," and we are loving it.
Paint three walls and accent them with crisp white molding. Wallpaper a fourth accent wall with patterns and colors of the day, such as large bright flowers, earthy mushroom images, colorful paisleys, or bold geometric shapes. Incorporate vibrant foil-accented varieties for an authentic '70s look.
When designers, manufacturers, and customers speak about retro furniture, they are often referring to a style of furniture that pays homage to styles that were popular years ago. Namely, retro furniture was popular in the decades of 1950s, 1960s, 1970s.
When you think of homes from the 1970s, the Brady Bunch's iconic 1970s-style ranch house comes to mind. It's hard to believe, but a home built in 1970 is nearly 50 years old! If your place looks anything like the Brady's, it may be time for a remodel to enhance the look and functionality of your home.
Architecture in the 70s began as a continuation of styles created by such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The decade also brought experimentation in geometric design, pop-art, postmodernism, brutalism, and early deconstructivism.
"Midcentury modern" itself is a difficult term to define. It broadly describes architecture, furniture, and graphic design from the middle of the 20th century (roughly 1933 to 1965, though some would argue the period is specifically limited to 1947 to 1957).
From flares and bell sleeves to shearling coats and miniskirts, the era birthed an eclectic mix of style influences that evolved over a ten year span. Style icons like Jane Birkin and Bianca Jagger helped with the rise of disco and an unabashed embrace of glamour.
- Bring in wicker or rattan furniture. Rattan furniture incorporates a weaving technique that dates back to ancient times, but the style achieved widespread popularity in the 1960s and '70s. ...
- Layer on texture. Texture is key to recreating a retro look. ...
- Incorporate warm colors. ...
- Swap in retro lighting. ...
- Mix and match styles.
Eclectic, funky textures. A shag carpet, a fur lampshade or a wood-plated wall, the 70's loved texture. So, mix it in with your decor. Throw in a fur pillow with all your printed throws or have fun with a vibrant green shag carpet that fits under the coffee table.
Retro interior design is an eclectic mix of old styles and new forms, or new forms with old materials and finishes. Any era can be tapped into here, with the 50s, 60s and 70s the most common. It embraces a kaleidoscope of contrasting design features, colours, shapes and form.
Before the word 'retro' came into use in the 1970s, the practice of adopting old styles for new designs was already common. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, designers borrowed from the past, for example, classicistic style. The difference is that since the 1960s people started to refer to the recent past.
The 1970s was a memorable period for teak wood, autumn colours (brown, beige, oatmeal), shag-pile carpet, and lacquer in the furniture realm. Amazingly, many of these items have lived on and currently carry the label of vintage retro 70s furniture or something along those lines.
A conservative 1960s color palette (source: Kohler)
Green, gold, orange and yellow were very popular and could be found on everything from clothes to home décor, and even cars.
Vintage furniture is anything that's at least 20 years old. If a piece of furniture is at least 20 years old, but has been restored, it's still considered vintage. Within the vintage category, newer pieces, especially those dating from the 1950s to1980, are generally considered retro.
Typically, the term retro is given to items which are at least 20 years old (but not yet 40 years old). Again using today's posting date, retro items would be those made between 1979 and 1998.
Antiques are typically defined as being at least 100 years old, whereas retro furniture mostly dates from the 1950s to the 1980s. That said, you can also find new furniture that was made to look retro, intentionally referencing the trends of this era.
What is midcentury design? The movement spanned from about 1933 to 1965 and included architecture as well as industrial, interior, and graphic design. Designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Arne Jacobsen, and George Nelson created iconic furniture and lighting that are still highly coveted.
After bankruptcy Home Interiors was bought by Penny and Steve Carlile, the owners and founders of Home & Garden Party founded in 1996. They merged the two companies renaming it Celebrating Home and it continues to operate from Home and Garden Party's headquarters in Marshall, TX.