Groovy design from the 1970s is making a comeback. And, chances are, you will barely recognize it as a relic from a half-century ago. That’s because these elements feel fresh and new – old trends repurposed in the right way can have that effect. Of course, not all ‘70s design choices fall into this category. At least ten of the most popular decorative decisions from the era haven’t come back, and you’ll soon understand why.
30. Macramé plant hangers
Compared to other textiles, it’s relatively easy to create macramé. All you need to know is how to tie a few different kinds of knots – then you’re good to go. In the 1970s people used this technique to make eye-catching plant holders. Today, you can find the same earthy accessories dangling from ceilings and window panes, and they look just as cool as they did all those years ago.
29. Earthy hues
Interior designers in the 1970s seemed to have looked outside and used nature as the inspiration for their color palettes. Some of their choices have yet to come back. But other shades – including mustard, terracotta and greens – are all the way back in style. And so are the natural colors as provided by wood accents, brick and bamboo.
28. Wall tapestries
Macramé had its place in more than just dangling plant holders. Crafty creators in the 1970s used the knotted material to create hanging wall art, too. In some cases, they left it in its natural, beige-colored state. But some got even more clever with dyes, beads, tassels and more – all of which helped them to create intricate works of art. Nowadays, interior designers are bringing this look back – in the form of hanging statement pieces both neutral and colorful.
27. Wicker furniture
Home decorators in the 1970s loved wicker furniture. The natural material can come from any number of plant-based sources: including willow, bamboo, reed and rattan. It is then woven into a slew of different pieces – many of which have come back into style with the material. You could make a number of items such as shelving units, hanging chairs, ornate mirror frames and flashy headboards.
26. Shag rugs
You can really dig your toes into this 1970s trend – shag carpets. These rugs have a deep pile, which means the fibers reach long enough to create a shaggy appearance. Not everyone can make a vintage, embellished shag rug work in their homes. However, a neutral-toned carpet can easily work in a 21st-century design scheme.
25. Moroccan poufs
Have a seat on a Moroccan pouf, prop your feet up on top of it or use it as a side table for your favorite books. These versatile accents had their first heyday in the 1970s – when Moroccon decor was all the rage. Today, these small, circular pieces are making their way back into living rooms the country over. Choose one in a bright hue to make it a prominent feature in your space.
Decorators in the 1970s loved to play with different fabrics and textures – which explains why velvet became one of the most popular upholstery choices of the era. And now, the luxurious-feeling fabric is back in a big way. You can start small with some velvet throw pillows or curtains. Or, you can pick up a sofa covered in the stuff for a smooth, ‘70s-inspired centerpiece.
23. Jungle prints
Speaking of playing with fun fabrics, the 1970s saw designers incorporating – and, sometimes, layering – animal prints. You can choose more exotic patterns, such as leopard or zebra. Or, you can stick to a more domestic textile with cowhide. Either way, don’t be afraid to mix jungle prints with each other or with other ‘70s-inspired fabric choices – including velvet.
22. Bold wallpaper
You’d be hard-pressed to walk into a home in the 1970s and find that it didn’t have wallpaper. The paint alternative cycles in and out of favor with decorators, but it’s firmly back in style in true ‘70s fashion. That means you can expect everything from bright, bold florals to unique geometric patterns.
Millennials get a lot of credit for making houseplants a home design trend. However, they aren’t the first to bring foliage into their abodes. Decorators in the 1970s used greenery as accents, and they incorporated many of the same varieties popular today. Think cacti, spider plants, rubber plants and fiddle leaf fig trees – bonus points if you display them in macramé planters.
20. Colorful glassware
By now, you know one thing to be true – 1970s designers had no fear when it came to color. Another way to bring it into your modern home in a ‘70s way is with glassware. You can choose brightly pigmented cups, vases, plates or bowls. Just make sure your new pieces come in bold hues to make them on-trend.
Fringe was everywhere in the 1970s – from clothes to the edges of shag rugs. Eventually, designers ditched fringe for more streamlined design elements. But the tides have turned in favor of fringe once again – with the stands appearing once again on carpets, throws, pillowcases and other textiles.
18. Hanging chairs
Furniture in the 1970s wasn’t confined to the floor. Instead, many living rooms had seats that dangled from the ceiling. And these hanging chairs have made a serious comeback. Not only that, but many of them incorporate other popular ‘70s elements – such as macramé and wicker.
Chipped pieces of marble, glass, quartz and other gorgeous materials get a second life in the composite material known as Terrazzo. It reached its initial peak popularity in the 1970s, but it’s on the rise with designers once again. You can use it as a flooring or countertop material – although Terrazzo planters and other accessories exist, too.
16. Colorful bathroom tiles
White subway tiles have been in favor with designers for a while, and they’re probably not going anywhere anytime soon. In the 1970s such a simple feature wouldn’t have fit into bathrooms and backsplashes. Instead, homeowners opted for more pigmented options – especially in pastels. Bringing color back into tiles is very in now, too.
15. Black and gray marble
The great sculptors of the Renaissance chose marble as their material of choice long before it became an interior design staple of the 1970s. The only difference is that groovy designers chose to outfit their homes with marble in shades of gray and black – rather than classic white. And the former pair of hues have come back into style today – transforming kitchens and bathrooms with sleek colors and patterns.
14. Floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces
There’s a statement piece, and then there’s a floor-to-ceiling fireplace pieced together by boulders. You can guess which style gained prominence in the 1970s, when natural elements reigned supreme in the world of interior design. You can easily find similar fireplaces in homes today – whether they’re new additions or restored remnants of the era.
13. Crocheted accents
A quirky, crocheted throw had its place on countless sofas and armchairs in the 1970s. You might have one in storage and think that it’s out of style. But it’s time to brush off your handmade blankets and bring them back to your living rooms. Indeed, crocheted accents look fresh when paired with a more neutral backdrop – such as a khaki-colored sofa.
Maybe you’ve heard celebrities including Kylie Jenner and Katy Perry waxing poetic about their crystal collections. Nowadays, people – mostly members of the millennial generation – collect and display stones said to have mystic qualities. The current interest in crystals is nothing new, though; this trend first appeared in the 1970s.
11. Conversation pits
From the 1950s all the way into the 1970s, American and European homes often incorporated a conversation pit into the layout. These seating areas could be found within a depressed section of flooring often part of a larger room. The same goes today – although you’re likely to use traditional furniture rather than built-in seating.
10. Brass accents
Stainless steel, silver, wrought iron, gold – you’ve gone through the usual suspects as you choose hardware for your kitchen and bathroom. Let the 1970s inspire an out-of-the-box option, which, by the way, is making a serious comeback. Consider opting for brass accents as an ode to a vintage style that just so happens to feel fresh in the 2020s.
9. Boho everything
There’s no doubt that hippies appeared in the 1960s and had an indelible art on music, art and design. In terms of the latter, they brought about one of the most favored design styles of the 1970s: boho chic. This type of decor revolves around a cozy, lived-in feel with plenty of art and textiles to add color and depth. And it looks just as great now as it did 50 years ago.
8. Floating stairs
A traditional staircase simply wouldn’t do in the 1970s. Instead, many families wanted open-concept living arrangements which included split-level living rooms. To trek from one floor to another, homeowners would climb floating staircases – which appear to stand firm with no structural support. This sleek look has made its way into modern design and looks just as cool now as it did then.
7. Wet bars
Of all the good things that happened in the 1970s, the rise in popularity of the house party may be one of the best. And people didn’t just throw shindigs in their homes – they also installed wet bars as hubs for mixology and entertainment. Now, you can have the same party centerpiece by adding a wet bar to your basement, living room or other drink-ready area of your home.
6. Sunburst mirror
The Beatles were slightly ahead of their time in releasing the song “Here Comes the Sun” in 1969. In the following decade, sunburst mirrors and clocks would, indeed, return to prominence among interior designers. They first became popular in the 1940s, and, three decades later, their art deco style fell back into favor with decorators. You can get away with a sparkling sunburst mirror today, too.
5. Deep sofas
Once upon a time, homeowners would try and get comfortable while sitting on top of slimmer sofa seats. But the 1970s ushered in an era of deeper sofas, which gave them plenty of room to curl up – in a way that was actually cozy. Nowadays, you’ll find endless options if you want a couch that’s equally as chunky.
4. Cantilevered chairs
Not every chair needs four legs, so long as you’ve got cantilevering on your side. These seats rest on a single, somewhat bent leg that supports the entire structure. So, when you sit down in the chair, it almost looks as though you’re floating. And that’s just as cool of a look today as it was in the 1970s, when people loved a cantilevered seat.
Furniture made of lucite has been in style for quite some time. But what you might not know is that this see-through material made its debut in the 1970s. Before then, lucite had only been used to manufacture jewelry. But the decade saw designers transforming the stuff into furniture – which they continue to do today.
2. Geometric wall art
Many 1970s design elements incorporated a strong geometric element – whether that was in the shape of a furniture piece or the brushstrokes of a painting on the wall. In terms of the latter, you can bring the 70s into the 2020s by nabbing art with a geometric flair. Bonus points if you pick artwork with plenty of bright colors.
1. Owl art
Interestingly – and inexplicably – 1970s decorators loved to incorporate owl motifs and accents. A walk down your local home-design store will quickly reveal that the same trend is alive and well today. You’ll have no trouble finding wall hangings, knickknacks for shelves and even light shapes like the bird of prey.
Trends that need to stay in the past
10. Wood paneling
The 1970s saw plenty of people incorporating all-natural elements into their homes’ design schemes. As such, wood paneling became a method of choice for doing so – you could cover your walls in an outdoorsy material, after all. Nowadays, though, floor-to-ceiling paneling has fallen out of favor – especially for planks stained and sealed to stay their natural hue.
9. Avocado-colored cabinets
Millennials love avocados – and we’re not talking about the color green. On the other hand, 1970s designers loved the fruit’s shade and made it the focal point of many an interior design upgrade. Fortunately, this strange hue has yet to come back into the fold as far as home decor goes.
8. Foil wallpaper
You can probably envision this look without a picture. Yes, in the 1970s, homeowners chose to hang foil on their walls – taking the decade’s love for wallpaper one step too far. Strangely enough, they considered the reflective panels to be the classy version of regular wallpaper.
7. Carpeted bathrooms
As we’ve already mentioned, ‘70s design favored colorful bathroom tiles. But some designers chose a different, much less sanitary covering for their bathroom floors. Yes, the decade saw plenty of people installing wall-to-wall carpet in the rooms where they showered and bathed. But we think we’ll stick to hard surfaces now.
6. Lava lamps
Lava lamps became a must-have in the 1960s, and they stayed that way through the following decade. At the end of the 1970s, though, they became less popular. And, since then, lava lamps have yet to return to the bedrooms of groovy individuals – and we’re okay with that.
5. Hand chair
Have a seat on… my hand? Yes, in the 1970s style-conscious designers slipped these strange, five-fingered chairs into their designs. A Mexican artist named Pedro Freideberg originated the concept. And, while it’s certainly clever, we can’t say we’re upset that hand chairs have fallen out of favor with home decorators the world over.
4. Egg chairs
Round wicker chairs may be fully back in style, but they don’t fall under the same category as egg chairs. To be classified in the latter category, seats have to, well, look like an egg. The outside of the seat has a white, oval-shaped shell – while the inside is nice and cozy. Still, we’ll pass on bringing these back in style.
3. Balloon valances
The 1970s had no shortage of regrettable window treatments. Sure, you could hang rich velvet curtains then, and you could get away with the same now. The difference is, you wouldn’t accentuate your curtains with a puffed-up balloon valance – which was a popular add-on in the 1970s and even into the following decade.
2. Silk bedding
It may sound luxurious, but silk bedding is one 1970s trend that we are happy to keep in the past. The shiny, sleek fabric certainly looked nice on beds during this era. However, attempting to snooze on silk was not as groovy as the rest of the decade. Most people slipped and slid around, and they said the fabric got too hot as they slept.
1. Chrome and stone
In the 1970s the chrome and stone combination was so cool that NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain had it in his pool room. However, this trend ended with the decade, and rightly so. In the end, this pairing looks more like a dungeon than anything else – we don’t need to take man caves that literally in the 2020s.