Bringing That 70s Interior Design Style Into Your Home Without Looking Cliché

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels



Vintage decor is all the rage, and the 70s are back in style. Like any resurgence, this new generation gets to pick which ideas to love and which to leave in the past. Luckily, there’s an awful lot to love about the design trends of the 1970s. The era evokes images of freedom and fun, of hippie hangouts and disco dancing, all with a boldly patterned, colorful backdrop.

Browse images of 1970s home trends and it’s clear that maximalism was all the rage, both in a nature-loving boho aesthetic and a more glamorous, luxe look. For a contemporary take on 70s interior design, here are some tips for updating those elements with your own personal style.

Careful Picks From a 70s Color Palette

Many who remember the 1970s cringe at the idea of bringing back the era’s design styles. You can probably blame this on the palette of browns, tans, garish yellows and muddy oranges, often in wide stripes or groovy geometric designs, that were everywhere during the decade.

While the trend of using this unexplainable color combination in every corner of the home isn’t ready for a comeback, you might tastefully incorporate one or two of those hues into your décor.

There’s certainly a 70s-adjacent feel to the mustard yellow, rich rust and warm terracotta tones of today’s trends. For a subtle nod to the 70s, use these colors in your décor as a painted accent wall, a timeless sectional sofa or just a few throw pillows.

You might also see sunshiny rainbow designs and bold primary colors in a 1970s home. Modern designers unafraid of bright colors can evoke the trend by bringing jewel tones—emerald, sapphire, ruby and metallics—into a room as glitzy accents.

The Luxe Lounge Look

The more glamorous side of 70s décor is well worth revisiting. Picture a Hollywood pool party where beautiful people glide around in flowy caftans and barely buttoned Hawaiian shirts, a cocktail in every hand. Inside there’s a record player and big speakers with a stack of LPs ready to play, and plenty of mismatched, comfy seating such as bean bags and swing seats. There are mirrored surfaces and probably some wood paneling too.

Today’s version of this aesthetic feels just as luxe, but you can avoid looking cliché by substituting sleek contemporary items for their dated counterparts. Definitely set up a bar cart, opting for brass and glass for maximum vintage appeal. On it, a cocktail set is fitting, but only if it’s useful to you.

Otherwise, use a bar cart as a tea and coffee station, or to hold books, houseplants, a candle or framed photos. As an ode to the centerpiece record players of the 70s, consider a music station with a sleek wireless speaker and charging dock. A wall-mounted guitar or other musical instrument would make an excellent accent here.

Bring Back Boho Beauty

The boho style represents the side of 70s design most enthusiastically embraced today. Do as they did in the 70s by choosing natural materials like wood, cane, rope and cork. Display pampas fronds and other dried grasses in a tall vase, bring in a piece of vintage rattan furniture, and nurture an abundance of leafy houseplants. Macrame hanging planters are a must.

The boho style sometimes delves into globe-trotting and spirituality. Make this aesthetic your own by displaying choice souvenirs from travels near and far; you can switch them out frequently with little effort. If they appeal to you, consider hippie-meets-mystical touches such as crystals, geodes, candles, incense burners or astrological motifs.

All About Textural Accents

1970s décor featured a plethora of rich textures. Popular examples include wall-to-wall shag carpeting, often in garish hues, flocked wallpaper in a large-scale pattern, and bobble-textured knits as afghans and upholstery.

Instead of a full carpet, find a shag rug in a pleasing color, perhaps white or cream for a ‘70s-meets-hygge look. Flocked wallpaper now comes in sophisticated designs, and you can use it for a single accent wall rather than the entire room. Bobble knits are also cool again, but better in smaller doses (such as throw pillows).

Getting Your Craft On

Handcrafted décor items used in the 1970s were genuinely homemade, and crafty types can continue that tradition with macrame, crochet, patchwork and other DIY pursuits. Of course, modern consumers can also buy handcrafted items on Etsy or from local artisans, as well as mass-market knock-offs. Some 70s-style items you could make (or buy) include macrame wall hangings and granny-square crocheted blankets.

Unmistakable Motifs of an Era

There are certain combinations of items and motifs that practically scream 1970s: a blocky Thermos with a rainbow on the side, Corningware wrapped with a sunflower design, and peace-sign lapel pins. Other 70s motifs include childlike flower illustrations, geometric circle patterns, red tartan and disco balls.

Designers of the era apparently loved ducks, mushrooms and toadstools, cherries, daisies and caterpillars. These trends are easy to bring into a contemporary room in small doses. You could browse flea markets and online auctions for genuine memorabilia, or bring them up to date in small doses as wall art, ornaments, refrigerator magnets and coffee mugs.


The 70s were full of strong aesthetics that sometimes feel overwhelming or gaudy. Interior design doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach, though. By incorporating just a few of the most popular trends from the 70s in small doses, you can achieve the perfect style without looking cliche.

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