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’70s Style Icons Make a Comeback

Boomers and Gen Xers remember it well – that carefree sepia-toned world of the 1970s when packs of kids roamed the neighborhood atop banana-seat bikes ’til the street lamps came on. Parents led their slightly mysterious adult lives doing … whatever it was that adults did back then?! 

When I think of my ’70s childhood, I remember that “home” was the center of the universe. Not just my house but everyone’s home. Everyone was a “back-door friend” back then, and, for the most part, all of our entertainment happened in the home. Child-centered homes had “rumpus rooms” with pool tables and board games, while adult-focused houses had glamorous rooms intended purely for entertaining. 

There were two distinct vibes regarding home décor. One was the earth-toned, bohemian, happy little plant-filled landscape of Bob Ross. If your home had that warm and welcoming “Come and Knock on our Door” feeling like Mrs. Roper’s did, you would have had rattan furniture, handmade ceramics, macrame wall hangings and textiles in earth-toned shades of brown, gold, green and orange. It would have been commonplace to see a pet rock, Japanese paper lanterns, a terrarium or a statement-making wicker “Peacock Chair” in the living room and a quilted bed coverlet with a single throw pillow on the bed in the bedroom. Plants were everywhere: fiddle leaf figs, monstera, palms, ferns and succulents. Bringing the outdoors in through natural textures and colors created a cozy, friendly atmosphere. Almost everyone I knew lived in some version of this ’70s home.

In contrast, the other distinct décor style featured the sleek, glossy, bold and bright world of Charlie’s Angels or Sonny and Cher. These homes were more Diana Ross than Bob Ross! This sleek style featured conversation pits, shiny velvet, satin and faux fur fabrics, and lots of chrome, glass and brass. Cocktail tables, shag rugs, a home bar and a “Hi-Fi” stereo would have been center-stage in the living room. Anything “modern” was de rigueur – acrylic and glossy lacquer furnishings, geometric foil wallpaper prints and free-spirited “fun” accents added pops of color and whimsy to this colorful, sculptural world. My aptly named Aunt Joy lived in this world, and I thought her high-rise condo in Dallas was just about the coolest place I had ever seen. She had a space-age “egg chair,” wall-to-wall fluffy white carpet and shiny chrome furniture. A Hollywood vanity with big globe light bulbs covered an entire wall between her bedroom and bathroom. 

If you’d like to infuse a bit of 1970s nostalgia into your 2024 home décor, introducing funky accessories is the best way to walk the line between “classic” and “kitsch.” Taking on a DIY retro craft project, like planting a terrarium, throwing a pot or making a macrame wall hanging, is one way to do it. Scouring thrift shops and upcycling vintage finds at estate sales is another budget-friendly way. In fact, the original “reduce-reuse-recycle” movement was founded in the 1970s! No wonder the current sustainability movement aligns so well with this style. 

Harmonizing old and new elements into your design can be as simple as adding a cute little Murano-inspired “mushroom” lamp into the bookcase or swapping out your bulky down duvet and sea of pillow shams for a simple quilted coverlet on your bed this spring. Adding a few items in small doses will prevent the pitfall of going full-on retro and taking the look too far. There’s a difference between showcasing a charming vintage look and making your home look like a Brady Bunch time capsule. 

If you’re shopping for “new that looks old” retro items, retailers like CB2, West Elm, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are chock full of fabulous finds. Big box stores such as Target and Walmart even have clever ’70s-inspired accessories and furnishings. Conveniently, the 1970s style pairs equally well with mid-century and Scandi décor and is incorporated easily into traditional family homes, too. So, don’t be afraid to awaken a forgotten memory or add a pop of the unexpected into your home décor. If it makes you smile every time you see it, you did it right. 

Find your 1970s style

  • Pleated lamp shades 
  • Lamp shades made of natural materials or paper 
  • A coverlet tucked tightly around the mattress and pillows (sans myriad throw pillows) 
  • Rattan and wicker 
  • Harvest Gold and Avocado Green 
  • Plants 
  • Handmade textiles 


  • Fluted lamp bases, mirror frames and fluted accents on furnishings 
  • Sleek, shiny, velvety, plush fabric 
  • Glass and chrome 
  • Glass and shiny gold brass 
  • Acrylic and lacquer 
  • Sculptural “bubble” accent chairs 
  • Bright and bold geometrics 
  • Metallic/foil wallpaper patterns  

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