When it comes to the 1970s, there is a lot to thank the decade for. It is considered to be a golden age for television and film, with Upstairs Downstairs, The Sweeney, Porridge, Fawlty Towers and A Bouquet of Barbed Wire all keeping audiences glued to the small screen, and The Godfather, Star Wars, Annie Hall, Mean Streets and Taxi Driver packing them into the cinemas.
Music had some brilliant moments too. It was the decade that saw the emergence of Bowie and Elton John, Kate Bush and Blondie and Punk, Ska and Glam Rock. Music and the movies merged brilliantly with Saturday Night Fever and Grease. But when it comes to style, whether we are talking about fashion or home decor, we often seem to be told that this was the decade that style forgot.
This is total rubbish of course.
Designers like Bill Gibb, Thea Porter, Halston and Ossie Clark all inspired fashion and design in a way that we still totally appreciate today. Biba took on the 1930s Art Deco influence and updated it for the 70s, with the ubiquitous black and gold fan designs making their way onto homewares and clothing. The decor and design itself had key phases, with the early part of the decade being a holdover from the 1960s hippie trail, with Macrame rugs and wall coverings, terracotta and orange/brown shades being popular and a general relaxed air of mix and match. The later 70s was the disco era so there was a rise in the popularity of using leather, a more refined look with shagpile rugs and wall prints that added an air of luxury to the style.
If you are a fan of the 1970s decor, what should you be looking to add to your home?
Wall coverings and 1970s style wallpaper.
Patterned wallpaper was a staple of the 70s, I clearly remember having a design with large brown flowers in my home when I was very young. These days it is actually very easy to replicate the style of the 1970s with some of brilliant wallpapers that I found here.
There are a range of designs, from William Morris style dark florals that would contrast beautifully against a lighter coloured sofa, to sunshine yellow shades that would quite literally bring the garden into the home. I also love the geometric patterns that manage to look both retro in style, and yet ultra modern and vibrant.
A form of flooring that I always associate with the 1970s is parquet. This is a beautiful wooden floor that was often used in schools and church halls but is now highly coveted. My sister recently moved into a new house and found an original parquet floor in the hallway, which has now been polished and looks stunning. Parquet flooring that both modern and timeless and is a wonderful choice for a modern home.
Rugs are also very much a trend from the 1970s that have made a great comeback, in part due to our fascination with laminate and wooden flooring. Shag pile style rugs and ultra-soft faux fur were very fashionable in the late 1970s, and now have that Scandinavian feel that again makes them feel contemporary. Macrame rugs and artisan, hand woven styles from independent sellers also keep the 70s feel real, you just need to add some joss-sticks for an authentic 70s experience.
There is actually a lot of choice when it comes to the furniture. Leather sofas with squashy, less structured styles work well with a 70s look, with colours like tan and cream popular. I remember a sofa that we had that also had a corner unit, so these are worth looking for in vintage dealers and large charity shops. Wicker and Rattan was also a trend.
Sideboards, mini bars complete with optics and geometric style units were a way of handling your storage needs and adding an edge to a room. Replace the optics with beautiful gin bottles for an update on the 70s bar, whilst again charity shops are a great place to look for geometric style units in which to display your Spider plants and cactus plants (the ultimate in 70s greenery for the home.) There are lots of modern versions of 1970s storage and display units, but the originals were most definitely the best.