The 1970s is having a moment. From rattan furniture and patterned wallpaper to leather lounge chairs, it seems that everywhere you go, you’re transported back to the iconic decade.
This retro interior trend has proven to be an enduring one, with elements of its design creeping into our homes in recent years. But now, designers and forecasters are predicting that a 70s-inspired style is set to be one of the biggest interior design trends of 2023.
For those haunted by the avocado bathroom suite, we’re pleased to say the eclectic (and sometimes questionable) aesthetic of this era has translated into our modern interiors in a more restrained and curated way. ‘The 70s was a decade that taste forgot,’ says Martin Waller, founder of global design brand, Andrew Martin. ‘But the lens of history allows us to see what an amazing decade it was – full of exuberant energy and innovation.’
This conviviality is exactly what the renewed appeal for 70s design tries to replicate. It takes inspiration from earthy color palettes, funky patterns, and textured furniture to create a cozy yet playful home that’s full of personality and individuality. If you’re looking for a few ways to incorporate this nostalgic trend in your modern home, we’ve listed the simplest ways to embrace this groovy style as recommended by the experts.
Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She regularly shares articles with readers that detail simple ways to keep up-to-date with changing styles and the 1970s revival is no exception. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers to learn about the trend forecast for the year ahead and how to embrace a 70s-inspired style.
A year ago, velvet flared trousers were all the rage. Now that same soft and luxurious material has found its way into our interiors bring with it a funky yet sophisticated vibe.
According to Lance Thomas, principal of Thomas Guy Interiors (opens in new tab), this is a logical progression. ‘Home décor trends tend to follow fashion trends,’ he says. ‘We saw the retro 70s make a fashion comeback a few seasons ago, which is why I predict we are now seeing it on the forefront in home trends.’
To truly embrace the velvet trend, you need to go colorful. From burnt oranges and deep purples to rich pistachio green, the fabric always helps make a statement piece of furniture – like a couch – stand out. It’s unique texture also reflects the light, giving it a color changing quality.
Introduce velvet cushions or chairs to your living room for an authentic 70s aesthetic. If you want the same effect without buying new furniture, you could even upholster an old chair with the material using upholstery tacks for a studded look.
Psychedelic, geometric patterns or flower-themed motifs are instantly recognisable elements of a 1970s style. There’s no other way to embrace this trendy look than with lots of color, and it’s a perfect way to introduce a retro themed color scheme.
‘Use creams, greens, pinks and oranges but in a softer more muted way than their brighter 70s predecessors,’ says Mary Patton, owner and designer of Mary Patton Design (opens in new tab). A great example of this muted approach is the chair picture above by Pierre Frey (opens in new tab), part of their new Djo Bourgeois collection.
For a cleaner, contemporary look, only use pattern on a statement piece of furniture and use browns or neutrals throughout the rest of the room. Alternatively, experiment with pattern drenching by incorporating patterned wallpaper, rugs and curtains for a bold 70s style.
The 1970s revival wouldn’t be complete without some out-there animal print. This kitschy décor dominated homes during the decade and, although still considered tacky by some, contemporary designers have shown that the animal print decorating trend can make a fun addition to our interiors.
Cushion covers, rugs and throws are simple ways to add a touch of this funky trend into your home without it being overkill. Choose velvet or silk material to add a touch elegance to an otherwise quirky design.
As Lance notes: ’70s accents like animal print sit comfortably in the pocket of being simultaneously chic and eccentric. The fact that it isn’t “modern” is what makes it modern. It’s the tension it builds with other styles in the space that creates intention.’
When it comes to styling furniture in a 70s-inspired home, the more eclectic the better. This doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t give any thought to the curation of your space – quite the opposite. An layered mix of styles, textures and decorative pieces means you ought to pay special attention to what you pair together.
’70s pieces, for me, add a bit of a retro whimsy feel to a space while maintaining that much needed err of sophistication,’ says Lance. He recommends introducing organic textures alongside bright colors and manufactured materials. ‘Burlwood finishes, for example, were exceptional in 70s design and add an exotic touch to any space.’
An eclectic style can also make a room feel cozy and comforting. Consider tactile materials such as rattan, fringe and macrame for some 70s inspired texture. ‘Asymmetrical sofas, unique vintage chairs and soft shaggy rugs are also definitely back,’ says Mary. ‘Paired together, they have the power to make a room feel softer and more relaxed.’