Design

Throwback Thursday: 1970s Style

As has been noted in posts about trends, what’s old often becomes new again, with trends constantly cycling.  When you look back at the trends of the past you can get an idea of what’s popular more frequently and what conditions might lead to certain elements becoming popular again.  That’s why we decided to start this Throwback Thursday column, to look back at the design of decades of the past. Today we’re going to take a look at the style and trends of the 1970s and how they’re influencing today’s designs.

The 1970s Style

There was a lot going on in ‘70’s design.  In part a reaction against the sleek modernism of mid-century design, ‘70s design was more about playful embellishments and self-expression.  Here are some of the hallmarks of ‘70s style.

Earthy – brought about by the oil crisis of 1973, the back-to-nature movement had a large impact on design.  Terracotta tiles, exposed ceiling beams, wood paneling, and wicker furniture brought natural elements into the home.  Hanging plants – and houseplants in general – were very popular, with some people creating indoor gardens.  Big windows and skylights were popular to help let in more natural light.

Colorful – the ‘70’s were a colorful time in interior design.  Earth tones were popular but so were bolder, brighter colors.  The palette of the ‘70s was largely warmer tones of yellow, orange, and red, but green and blue made plenty of appearances as well.  Nothing was spared from color, not even appliances or bathtubs. White was popular too, seen as a blank slate background to help set off the other bright colors.

Prints – people were not afraid of prints in the 1970s.  Large, bright flowers, plaid, paisley and other abstract graphic patterns were on everything from walls to bedspreads.  The prints were rendered in the same bright colors mentioned above. Most people can probably picture in their mind some version of a large yellow, orange, and brown floral pattern without us having to explain it.

Materials – popular materials in the ‘70s were Lucite, glass, vinyl, and leather.  Plastic became more popular as a material for furniture, and bean bag chairs became a thing.  Faux fur and shag carpeting became popular choices to counter the clean lines of the furniture.  On the more futuristic side of ‘70s design chrome and glass were used to create a clean, space age look.

 

A Modern Take

We’re seeing a lot of elements of 1970’s style making a comeback in the bohemian interiors that have been gaining in popularity.  Many of the trends of the ‘70s are popular again, but they’re being presented in new ways.  Houseplants are at their most popular in years, but are being displayed in more artfully curated ways.  Bold colors are popular in upholstery and as accent walls.  While wood paneling may never make a full comeback, wood is popular for furniture again, with an emphasis on unfinished or natural looking pieces.  Textile wall hangings are also popular again, even in more minimalist spaces. Here are some interiors that we think best achieve a modern twist on ‘70s design elements.

Full on ‘70s style can be pretty intense, and a lot of it looks super dated through 2018 eyes.  But when you tone things down and take individual elements the 1970s style can add a fun touch to our current interiors.  Which parts of ‘70s style would you add to your space? Or do you think the ‘70s are best left in the past? Let us know in the comments!

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