Decor and design trends shift and change from decade to decade. Even if you weren’t around in the 70s, you’ve no doubt noticed the music, colors and decor left over from this eye-popping decade. Surviving the 70s took grit and determination and there are plenty of plaid patterns filled with brown and orange colors to prove it.
Even the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory weighs in with information about changing trends in the way U.S. households consume energy and other consumables. House sizes have more than doubled between 1950 and 2000 and so has electricity consumption as people run their bigger and better houses.
It’s not all about consuming energy, though. There are plenty of interior decor trends of the 70s that we’re glad didn’t last into subsequent decades.
1.Avocado Green and Harvest Gold
It’s hard to get over the appliance and fixture colors that dominated the homes in the 70s. If you’ve never seen an avocado green refrigerator or a harvest gold oven in action, count yourself fortunate. These color schemes were the colors of choice for kitchens and laundry rooms throughout the country. Not only this, but these colors also found their way into unsuspecting bathrooms in the way of plumbing fixtures. Imagine an avocado green tub, toilet and sink – if you dare. By the time you finish complementing the green or gold with flooring and wall colors, the final effect was completely torturous.
Fluffy shag carpeting – in every room of the house – ruled the day in the 70s. It was not out of the question to find shag carpeting even in kitchen and bathrooms – people loved the look that much. Carpeting in the bathroom and kitchen was not one of the better design ideas of the 70s due to extensive moisture issues common to these rooms. Think of the boldest and brightest colors and there was probably a shag carpet available in that hue. Brick red, rust orange, and chartreuse green were not out of the question in the designer’s palette.
Continuing the flooring theme, if it wasn’t covered in shag, the floor probably had linoleum covering it. Bright geometric patterns and designs in bold colors like lemon yellow or burnt orange were popular among homeowners. One thing about linoleum floors of the 70s, they were sturdy enough to last through the whole decade and beyond. In fact, if left undisturbed, this linoleum might still be going strong on the floor.
Dark, cheap paneling was the wall covering of choice in the 70s. This was the stuff made to look like real wood, but it wasn’t wood at all. Wood paneling gave every room a dark overshadow. You might find dark paneling in dens, family rooms, rec rooms, basements and even bedrooms. Pair the dark paneling with a strong shag color on the floor and, well, you can imagine the result – it wasn’t pretty.
Dark woodwork also dominated during the 70s decade. Not only cabinetry, cupboards and shelving, but molding and timbered ceiling beams were also prevalent in interior decor. Walnut and pine were common woods for woodwork, often the darker the better in the homeowner’s opinion.
Laminate countertops hit kitchens in a big way during the 70s as the countertop of choice for many homeowners. Beware – it’s not out of the realm of possibility that laminate countertops could have actually matched avocado green or harvests gold appliances – oh joy! Even orange or green countertops weren’t out of the question. Laminate countertops may also have had speckles or swirls throughout for even more design flair.
Ranch houses – those one-story, sparse and simple homes – continued their popularity during the 70s. The ranch style architecture appealed to the modern and minimalist designs of the decade. Standard features of this house include simple floor plans, attached garage, sliding glass doors, overhanging eaves and bi-color exterior siding that features brick on the bottom half and stucco or wood on the top half. As the 70s drew to a close, architecture took a turn to more traditional and formal styles.
Lighting became imaginative with a creative flair in the 70s with the advent of arc floor lamps sporting plastic or chrome and even large white globe lamps hanging from the ceiling. Who could possibly forget those innovative lava lamps that provided hours of enthralling designs and colors to captivate and entertain? Track lighting made its debut in the 70s as a contemporary design feature in many mod homes. Fiber optic lamps were another fun choice for lighting in the 70s.
Very little compares to the delights of flocked vintage wallpaper. Often adorning bedroom and living area walls, flocked wallpaper with foil background was a popular choice. These wallpaper designs often showcased huge floral or plaid patterns for vivid decorating dimension. Speaking of florals, the flower patterns and designs on wallpapers usually featured bold sizes and colors to fill a room with a major splash.
Wallpapers, bedspreads, and furniture often featured bold and bright patterns during the 70s. From paisleys to more abstract flourishes and swishes, it was common to see interesting designs on fabrics and walls. Blossoms of all sorts were also popular, as were mushrooms and geometric designs. Think circles, diamonds, squares and triangles in hideous designs and colors. Plaids were also a frequent offender on walls and fabrics, with brazen colors working together to assault the senses.
Although some 70s trends are making their way back into homes for a retro flair, the lines and colors of today have a more sophisticated twist that bring them up-to-date and current for the 21st century. If you decide to incorporate some retro flavor into your home, take care to leave the 70s fashion faux pas back where they belong – in the past.