Retro patterns and chunky shapes. Earthy tones of desert beige and avocado green. Carpeted flooring and floral patterns galore. What do these things have in common? They're all worth mentioning when discussing the funky, nostalgic vibes of 1970s furniture styles - and the seventies. The tail swings the dog - some things never go out of style. That's why the masses loved watching the gang of That '70s Show hang out in their basement on the couches that Kitty no longer wanted upstairs. Those kids knew that true style was one that was comfy, cozy, eclectic, and fun—like them! Are you feeling sentimental about your youth and wanting to tap into that wistfulness? Are you considering redecorating your bedroom (or basement)? Or do you want to take a stroll down memory lane? Whatever your reasoning, we're right there with you! We love the iconic look and feel of the 1970s, and so we've compiled this guide of furniture styles. You'll love dreaming about the bygone days—and maybe even bringing them back to the present!
1. A Retro, Patterned Couch
Your grandma's crazy, patterned, fabric couch was a perfect addition to any living room. It went perfectly with the wood-paneled walls, orange shag carpet, and cuckoo clock. (Here's where we mention that those were a thing in the 70s, too!) This oft-patterned couches featured an array of colors—all in those earthy hues—and was commonly covered in fabric. And, "the good news was that fabric would last forever—but the bad news was that fabric would last forever." You felt either one of two ways about this eclectic sofa. Couches were often bought on layaway—meaning you only had one, and you wanted it to last. And, that iconic couch of the 70s became a popular choice.
2. Earthy Tones and Hues
A quick look through photos from the 70s will have you see a recurring color palette—all reminiscent of a being outdoors or in the desert. Common color schemes included:
- Rusty or burnt orange
- Avocado green
- Orange-tinted yellows
- Harvest gold
- Warm reds
- Natural stone
- Dark blues
- Barn red
- Autumn brown
They loved color and they weren't afraid to decorate their entire homes with it! Deep blues offset the beiges and browns, creating a dramatic look in certain spots. The other colors matched perfectly with their notorious carpeted flooring and wood-paneled walls.
3. The Infamous Bean Bag Chair
Ahh, the beanbag chair. What would the 70s have done without it? This shapeless, comfy bag of filler was in every home from 1968 and on. The brand Sacco commissioned three designers to create a chair for young people to love—and that's exactly what they did. These teardrop-shaped bags were quickly embraced by young adults everywhere. Beanbags featured a high back for support and an area large enough for sitting. How you sit is up to you. The chairs were originally crafted of fine leather, giving them that quality and longevity that so many families craved. It was also stitched together with the finest materials and craftsmanship, giving buyers something that lasted. Why did people love beanbags so much? First and foremost, they're affordable. Cost-sensitive items were a huge plus among households of the 1970s. Second, they're comfortable! Families could spend long hours lounging around in them without feeling the need to migrate elsewhere. And last but not least—they're stylish and mobile. This allowed for redecorating at a moment's notice without having to worry about weight. These fun, flexible chairs could go anywhere at any time.
4. Ottomans for Everybody
You can't have a beanbag chair and a couch without having an ottoman. Most living rooms featured at least one, but it was common to see them in front of any sitting space. Relax and prop your feet up on one of these square, practical beauties. And for the youngins, they'd frequently get caught sitting on the ottoman itself. Why not?
5. Carpet, Carpet, Everywhere
You may have noticed the word 'carpet' appearing over and over—and that's because carpet appeared everywhere in the 1970s. There was hardly such a thing as wood flooring— that went on the walls! You can guarantee that the carpet is as brightly colored and eccentric as all the furniture and humans that sat atop it. It wasn't rare to see the same colors we've discussed as the carpet. Oranges, yellows, and browns were commonplace. And that came with a bonus—dirt and stains weren't as obvious when atop an array of colors such as that!
6. Wood Paneling (On the Walls!)
Keep it neutral and natural with wood paneling—on the walls of your living room. Imagine the scene: a couch with flamboyant patterns, deep orange, resting atop a harvest gold, furry carpet. What better way to tie all those colors and materials together than with a deep brown wall? Really, this is one of the more tame things that people of the 70s did. It provided that sturdy look and feel that brought all the colors of the room together and tied a bow. The deeper the color, the more it muted the funkiness of everything else—and made them appear as natural as can be.
7. Sit down in a Futuristic Tulip Chair
Surrounding many a kitchen table in the 1970s was the tulip chair. This chair, which embodies the shape of its namesake, was futuristic-looking for the people of the 70s! This plastic and aluminum creation was born in 1956 but found its way to many a home in the 70s. The seamlessness of the materials makes it look like one. But the molded plastic seat was connected to its studier aluminum base, creating that strong, durable chair that people craved.
8. Far-Out, Bold Prints
Need a pattern for your couch? Pillows? Carpet? Anything else? Then you better keep it bold with prints that are eclectic and funky. Couches featured nature scenes, old clocks, tons and tons of floral (no, really—flowers were everywhere). It saw animals and animal prints, outdoor themes, geometric shapes, paisley and flannel and more. You might even find old Western scenes splayed out over fabrics. You can bet that if something weren't in a bold print, it was in a bold fabric, at the very least. Bonus points if you combined the two in one object! Couches were commonly constructed with sturdy dark wood, and from there, covered in cushions with fabric that featured these bold prints. If you had a flannel-patterned couch, you were probably tame. It was fun to get bold with the prints—telling of many homes from that era.
9. Groovy Shag Rugs, Obviously!
Retro shag rugs were perfect for those places where you didn't have carpet (oh, the horror!). These little chunks of elongated fabric decorated many floors, whether in the kitchen or bedroom or living room. Like most things of the 1970s, they featured the usual patterns or colors. If they weren't bold in hue, they were bold in print. Some rugs were shaped in a circle with a large, golden sun atop. Others were velvety green and less bold, but still impactful.
10. Wicker Chair, Wicker There, Wicker Everywhere
Wicker was popular long before the 60s and 70s, but then its moment ended. The Arts and Crafts Movement of the 1900s brought us a lot of wicker furniture, but then it dipped off. In the 1960s and 70s, people became obsessed with this trend and re-popularized it. They loved the look and feel of vintage wicker, which took the shape of chairs, couches, even baby carriages! This rattan-based material was sturdy but light, and it fit the color palette. Any such blanket or cushion could get added atop it, leaving decorators with many an option for customization. What once was too ornate for some became suited for the 70s folks. They used it either inside the living room or outside the home as patio furniture.
1970s Furniture Styles: A Blast from the Past
History has a way of repeating itself. It won't take long before we see patterns emerging from our past and making their way to the forefront. Soon, if not already, modern brands will begin harnessing the energy of the past and bringing it into the present. The same goes for the 1970's furniture styles. If you've ever worn a pair of Chuck Taylors only to hear your mom say, "I used to wear those when I was a kid!", well, you know what we mean. So why not be the trendsetter or your friend group or family? Show them you know what's retro and fun by redecorating or adding a big bean bag chair to your living room decor. Keep everyone comfy and cool by adorning your home with some funky, far-out vibes. We can help with that, too. Contact us today to see how we can help you transform your space into one that wows.