5 tips for an on-trend 1970s interior design
Mon 06 Sep 2021
As we step into September and prepare to welcome autumn, many home interiors also get ready to shift into a new season. After the wispy, weightlessness of summer (if you can call the past two months that), we start looking towards warmer colours and tactile fabrics that almost embrace us in a bear hug.
So what better interior design trend to come along than the 1970s? The Evening Standard’s Homes & Property supplement recently carried an article about the interior Instagrammers who are setting their grids alight by revisiting the retro vibes….albeit very tastefully. If you’re partial to a browse, take a look at the accounts of @whinniewilliams, @70shousemanchester, @untillemonsrsweet, @vintage____visions and @savagehouse1970 for ideas and design applications.
Today’s top 1970s interior trends are labelled as ‘vintage’, with enough years passing to make the vivid hues and swirly patterns a thing of lusted-after beauty. Here at Behr & Butchoff, we sometimes market properties for sale that still bear original fixtures and fittings from the era and what gems!
Alas, these properties are few and far between as any trace of the 1970s is usually wiped out by previous owners, although some original stone fireplaces remain. This leaves devoted followers of interior fashion one option – to buy into the retro look with astute purchases and clever styling. Here’s 5 top tips for anyone wishing to time travel via design:-
1. Pick the best of the colour palette
Authentic 1970s interiors were lavished with colour – think mustard yellow, satsuma orange, olive green, chocolate brown and deep mauve – commonly used all at once! More restraint is needed today, with a choice of just one or two shades enough to capture the era’s essence and not overpower rooms. Remember a backdrop of white always helps offset any vibrancy.
2. Buy second hand
Recreating the 1970s look presents a marvellous opportunity to go green and reuse what already exists. There’s joy in searching for preloved gems in charity shops and at house clearance auctions but don’t be surprised if your must-have items carry high price tags in vintage emporiums, especially if they are deemed as ‘design classics’ (that starburst wall clock or Scandi sideboard, for instance).
3. Use accessories as a form of expression
If you’re not up for an all-out 1970s look – wise if you’re thinking or selling your home soon – accessories are a sensible option that are easily removed. There’s good news on the house plant front, as Swiss Cheese plants (monstera deliciosa) are back in vogue and are natural partners for fondue parties, if you’re really recreating the retro vibe. Lava lamps are still readily available and macramé is having a moment in home furnishing. Even something as simple as a shag pile rug or a smoked glass pendant light can set the scene.
4. Just one wall
Many of the prints from the 1970s are so potent that they can make a statement when use on just one wall. Among the best are geometric shapes, stylised flowers and still life vignettes that are busily repeated in bold colours. An authentic alternative is to clad a wall in wood – either the real thing or with a convincing digitally-printed vinyl wallpaper.
5. Fabrics can finish the look
If there ever was a fabric that screamed 1970s décor, then it is velvet. Draylon was the preferred type for upholstery, used for its fire-retardant properties, myriad of colourways and never-ending choice of gaudy patterns. Original samples can still be bought online via sites such as Etsy, which can be used to cover chairs and make cushions. Orla Kiely fabrics are a good modern-day alternative for those with good haberdashery skills, or a crochet ‘square’ blanket can be bought or made for a really retro touch.
If your next home needs to be a blank canvas on which you can express your interior design personality – 1970s or otherwise – contact us for available properties. And if you have a property to sell with original features, let us know!