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70s Retro Style Back In Fashion

Everything old is new again; isn’t that almost always the way it is with design? Take a moment to leaf through a design magazine or a clothes catalog and say hello again to the 1970s. Yes, the 70s with its bold colors and patterns.

I know what you’re thinking, “Oh no, not the 70s!” Well, like it or not, the 70s are back, or should I say the “Me” decade never left. For a lot of reasons, we seem to have a love hate relationship for the 70s; a rough time for many of us growing up (I was a teenager) with the end of the Vietnam War, an oil crisis, a recession, high unemployment, a presidential resignation. But the worst of it was the avocado green appliances! Yes, this above all else triggers the “oh no” reaction to the style of the 70s.

So, when I say the 70s never left, I don’t mean those t-shirts in the bin in the attic or dare I say still in my closet. I mean really great design elements we love and use all the time.

Let’s start with color. We had the psychedelics mix ups of Peter Max and abstract art, which gave us bright turquoise green, yellow orange, brown and of course HOT PINK!! Right now, the trendiest color is apple green. Just seeing it makes me happy; my entire bedroom was that color when I was growing up. How about another color palette – orange, it’s everywhere. And don’t forget the 70s spin on the iconic black and white palette. We loved it then - we love it now! The key back then was IMPACT. Everything in the 70’s was big and bold.

Let’s talk about patterns. Florals were huge in the 70s! And it went from one extreme to the other; delicate Laura Ashley prints with flowers were huge but so were big, graphic florals often seen in draperies and especially on walls. It is the latter we are seeing replicated in today’s florals. Bold stripes, lines, chevrons, and geometrics never left us, either. Today they are ever present in everything from pillows to rugs.

And let’s not forget “1970’s Mod.” This was the decade that saw a tremendous amount of space exploration and new technologies brought us new materials, like plastic and vinyl. Gratefully, we’re not using vinyl that much in furnishings anymore. But that mod-style furniture and accents are popping up in our décor every day. Remember that shag rug at your grandparents? Well, it might not be green and gold, but white shag rugs are everywhere this year. And we’re still in love with chrome, metal and glass accent pieces. What about wicker and rattan? Even macramé shows up wrapped around glass bottle vases and lamps.

Part of my nostalgia comes from the recent influx of vintage fabrics, but a larger part of me embracing 70s-inspired fabrics is just how fabulous a time it was. So when you hear someone say “you are stuck in the 70s” respond how I would, “yeah baby!”

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