Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

Five Common 1970s Decor Elements

Written by Guest Writer • March 25th, 2016
Five Common 1970s Decor Elements

When it comes home design by decade, the 1970s get a lot of flak. How can you blame the bad-talkers when they remember things like disco balls and hot tubs in bedrooms? This reputation is a shame, though, because the 1970s also brought us a handful of fresh décor elements that feel much more real than ridiculous. In fact, the following five 1970s decor features can easily fit in with your modern design plan, too.

1. Open Floor Plan

Check out blueprints of 1970s-style homes and you’ll see something that looks quite familiar: a living room that flows into a dining room that’s either open to or closely connected to the kitchen. Architects in the ‘70s were clearly ahead of their time, as this sort of setup is still super popular today. Many of the plans also include huge, floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors that open onto sprawling porches, two features that sell homes to this day.

2. Shag Carpet

At one time, shag carpets came in colors that would be almost laughable today. While your home’s scheme probably doesn’t have room for a burnt orange or yellow-green rug, you can work in a shag carpet if you choose a hue that reads a bit more modern. Even a neutral, beige-toned shag carpet exudes the joy and carefree style of the 1970s without being too cartoonish or old school.

The other good news regarding shag carpet’s updates is the fact that it’s easier to clean nowadays. Removing dirt from your shag carpet may require the aid of an extractor or other piece of machinery that gets deep down between the threads, but at least it’s not as difficult to get done as it was 40 years ago.

3. Geometric Shapes and Patterns

Soft curves, be gone: 1970s designers fixated on crisp, clean geometric shapes as they sketched furniture, art and accessories. You can still find a slew of furniture pieces that conform to this trend. In front of a neutral sofa, for example, an oval-shaped ottoman would be just enough retro. You could also try incorporating geometric patterns into your room’s textiles: Cover throw pillows with new fabric or invest in a rug with clean lines. Art is another simple way to bring color and shapes in, too.

4. Hello, Nature

We often think of design trends being inspired by consumers: What the people want to buy is what designers will make. In the 1970s, though, the hippie culture inspired some trends of its own without buying anything … at least, not initially. Hippies revered the Earth and all of what it had to offer them, naturally. That’s why so many 1970s homes had elements that brought the outside in. We already talked about extra-large windows, but 1970s homes had lots of natural stone, indoor gardens, pine accents and wicker furniture. Some of these features might still feel dated, so something like a gathering of potted indoor plants might be a great way to dip your toes in.

5. Owl Accents

The LA Times believes that the popularity of the owl traces back to 1971, when the U.S. Forest Service made this feathered friend its mascot. Woodsy Owl may or may not have been the catalyst, but one thing is for sure: Owl-shaped knickknacks were super prevalent in this era. Nowadays, owls are back with a vengeance, and you can easily work them into your home décor, too. Whether it’s a fun printed fabric in a child’s room, a simpler one in an adult room or a monochromatic statue on a bookshelf, let one land in your home for a fun ode to the 1970s.

The 1970s remains one of the most iconic decades for its carefree vibes. For that reason alone, your design overhaul shouldn’t cause you stress or unhappiness. Instead, go with what you like best and you’ll end up with a space you love, no matter what decade it represents.

Written by Megan Wild

Megan Wild loves listening to music of the 70’s and bringing the classic designs of that time into her home. When she’s not outside hiking or playing with her dog, she catalogs her home adventures on her blog, Your Wild Home.

Above: 1970s Decor features — As many shag rugs as possible

Above: 1970s Decor features — Take advantage of geometric shapes

Above: 1970s Decor features — Bring nature inside your home

Above: 1970s Decor features — Use owl accents

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  • Dar

    Great post!

    I for one am a big fan of 70’s interior design. Very colorful and experimental.

    I especially loved the photo wallpapers.

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