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Retro Revival: Why 1970s Interior Design is Trending

Brightly colored undulating shapes, shaggy carpets, low-slung organic-shaped furniture, and earthy textures may conjure up a sense of nostalgia for your younger years in the 70s. But these style traits may simply guide you right back to the present, since 1970s interior design trends have made a definitive comeback.

The design of the 1970s was playful yet sophisticated - a paradox that resonates with modern design aficionados. Many members of the design community agree they’ve seen a resurgence of the distinctive features of the decade.

InterLux Interiors uncovers the “why” behind this retro revival and explores popular modern trends inspired by 1970s interior design. Keep reading for inspiration to spruce up your own home with the funky freshness of the 70s.

Hallmarks of 70s Interior Design

The design of the 1970s sometimes gets a bad reputation for being tacky, vulgar, and cheaply made. But this design period has evolved from the target for condescending jokes to an icon of design innovation. In an age that prioritized uncensored creativity and self-expression, designers rejected limitations. This often led to over-the-top excess that was often perceived as comically tasteless.

The design of the 1970s was playful yet sophisticated - a paradox that resonates with modern design aficionados.

But anti-war and sustainability movements from the 1970s also brought imperial greed and its impact on the planet into the wider consciousness. This appeared in design as there was more focus on high-quality, hand-made pieces crafted from natural materials with functionality and comfort as the focus. People had the chance to step back and consider how their surroundings were impacting the earth.

While we aren’t suggesting you decorate your space to look like the “Austin Powers” set, our interior designers love these throwback trends for a luxurious retro oasis:

Funky Color Schemes

One thing the 70s taught us was to be bold. The color schemes of the 1970s are one of the most distinguishing features of this decade. Many of the colors alone, such as avocado green or sunflower yellow, may raise an eyebrow but look eclectic and chic when tastefully combined with the right forms and textures.

Tastefully, introduce pops of the following colors into your space:

  • Avocado

  • Harvest gold

  • Tiger lily

  • Sunflower

  • Swiss chocolate

  • Parchment

  • Antique red

  • Mexican sand

  • Cerulean blue

Paint the ceiling, choose a standout wallpaper, or simply accent with a bit of color – the options are endless –especially when you’re working with our high-end interior designers.

Why It’s In:

Many of the above colors are undeniably inspired by the vibrant shades found in nature. As a combination of being stuck at home through the pandemic, the reality of global waste and overconsumption, and research revealing the positive impact of nature on our health, more people are turning towards biophilic or “life-loving” design.

By bringing the outdoors in through earthy color schemes, we create a soothing environment that helps us feel connected to the planet.

Patterned Wallpaper

Traditional floral wallpaper received a clean upgrade in the 1970s with oversized geometric shapes and vibrant colors. While covering your whole house with patterned wallpaper might be overkill, incorporating a bright and bold texture as an accent wall or in a smaller part of your house such as the mudroom or butler’s cabinet is a fun and adventurous statement.

Why It’s In:

Social media and our access to information makes everything feel so over-saturated, so we seek out ways to add a unique imprint on our home and through our style. After all, it’s fun to be different!

Bright pops of color also make us feel cheerful and literally ‘brighten our days’ in a time when it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Wood All Over

With a focus on sustainable materials in the 1970s, wood became an unstoppable force in design. Furniture, décor, paneling, and even cars were built entirely of wood or incorporated warm wooden accents. Teak, bamboo, and rattan became particularly popular.

Why It’s In:

These materials are very popular today, especially with more people following a zero-waste lifestyle and recognizing the impact of nature and its textures on our well-being. Wood is a more sustainable option, and its biophilic effect gives us the sensation of being surrounded by trees.

Exposed Brick and Stone

The classic American farmhouse meets a European courtyard with exposed raw stone materials. Exposed brick has become a key feature in industrial lofts and coffee shops while terrazzo is appearing in our kitchens and bathrooms. Massive statement stone fireplaces give your home the sensation that you’re deep in the quiet underground of a cave.

Why It’s In:

Like wooden materials, stone brings the outdoors in. The biophilic impact is grounded stability, immovable safety, and unbudging structure. It’s so easy to slip into feelings of rocky instability in a world that is rapidly evolving, but stone interiors can serve as our rock.

One thing the 70s taught us was to be bold.

Shag Carpeting and Vintage Rugs

Shug rugs and carpeting were all the rage in 1970s. They make the perfect surface for a restorative yoga flow session or cuddling with your pets on the floor. This material is wonderfully comfortable and can be quite luxe if used with taste.

Why It’s In:

At the start of 2020, many people faced the whiplash of switching to working and living in the same place. In such a stressful time, people needed a relaxed and comfortable space. The same trend is being seen in fashion- baggy, oversized, soft clothing is seen as stylish. The more comfortable, the better. Re-enter the shag rug.


Chances are you’ve seen macramé wall art or plant hangers on your Pinterest feed once or twice. These detailed rope hanging were likely influenced by ancient khipu knots from the west coast of South America.

Why It’s In:

The beauty of the internet is you can learn virtually any skill if you set your mind to it. Like embroidery, quilting or needlework, macramé is a trendy art form that many people have taken up as a hobby or even profession, especially during the downtime of the pandemic. The natural beauty and detail created by a skilled macramé artist can freshen up any room.

Create a Groovy Impact with InterLux Interiors

As interior design grows and expands, we can experiment with combining features from multiple eras. The 1970s brought massive innovation to the world of design, as it provided a sense of freedom to explore and make a statement.

Whether playing with color, incorporating natural materials, or getting creative with shapes and textures, you can infuse Easter eggs of 70s inspiration or an entire retro redesign. Regardless of your goals for your home, InterLux Interiors can help you through the process.

Explore our luxury design services to learn more about how we can help you achieve your dream space. Contact our team today with any questions about getting started.

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