The ’70s and 21st Century Modern Design

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Are the ’70s coming back to the 21st Century Home?

Believe or not home and decor styles from the 70’s may be finding a way back into the 21st century home.

Now, don’t think you need to be hanging any disco balls or lights, but you may want to include some ’70s textures and colors in your home if you decide to dust off the platform shoes and polyester pants. Yet, even if you’re not looking to create a retro-room, the ’70s was not the design debacle era that you might think it was. Much of what came to be during that decade is highly adaptable to our 21st century.

Take a look at some examples.


Shag carpets and rugs

Shag carpets are one item that was very popular in the 1970s. They are still available at some carpet outlets. They can be found in gold and brown tones that were so popular back in the day. A more ‘controlled’ alternative in recent years has been the shag area rug, very often contrasted to the smoothness of a wood floor, or a tile floor.

Violets Nursery contemporary kids

Also, this addition allows for the textures of the 1970s to be combined with the 21st century practice of zoning a room, splitting up a single area by way of varied textures, and colors, and creating vital contrast.

Beanbag Chairs

Beanbag Chairs often substituted for a more traditional recliner and these pellet filled bag came in loud print colors. Solids and character picture chairs are available from most furniture stores.

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

The eat-at-bar

The eat-at bar and decorative stools were also common in the 1970s and are a simple addition to your home. The bars traditionally included storage space for kitchen items with a tabletop that was smooth and colored to match your kitchen.

Walnut and White modern kitchen


Another item that may be of interest when decorating your home in 70’s attire is bedspreads. Many bedrooms in this era had single-colored, textured bedspreads in yellow, brown or natural green. Other bedspreads of course embraced colors, and bolding patterning.

CCG Interiors, LLC. eclectic kids


Candles in groups of three to five in varying sizes were another popular 1970s decorating idea. Place the candles on end tables, dining tables and entertainment centers. And while we are on the subject of lighting, who could forget the ever present The Lava Lamp, an icon of the 70s. This item just seemed to mesh with the groovy way of life in colors such as Purple and Orange.

Another aspect of ’70s lighting has been interestingly shaped and patterned lampshades, an addition that allowed a space to be seen as a distinguishing feature. This is just as effective today in 2012, especially when paired  as an accent against pale monochrome décor.

Source: via Silver on Pinterest

Fur Furniture

Faux Fur Furniture was also in vogue in the 1970’s and were made to be either couches, chairs and love seats. They were one single color and are likely available at flea markets and in specialty stores.

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Teak Furniture

For some furniture, teak was still the favorite wood throughout the decade, starting from the previous one – the 1960s – although pine was getting an increasingly strong middle class following by the ’70s. Autumn colors were in vogue browns, beiges and oatmeal. Striped upholstery fabric was popular.

Amy Lau modern living room

Strange Trends

The 1970’s saw its share of strange trends as well including chrome plated tubular steel furniture and cane and rattan furniture. It’s not clear how available these two type will be but plated tubular steel was at the height of fashion to start the decade and by the end of the 70s was available in every discount warehouse.

If you are looking at the size and shape of ’70s furniture, expect a chunkier feel. Armchairs and sofas in the 70s were fatter. The typical 70s chair had large padded sausage-shaped arms.

Source: via BuildDirect on Pinterest



Where you may be seeking to avoid an overall 70s look, referencing eras past in interior design, and making it a seamless part of a modern 21st century layout is a direction that’s been a big part of our era so far.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.