How To Give Your Home A Retro ’70s Style
The 1970s are back – and, most strikingly, in our interiors. Here, three designers share their recommendations for bringing the decade into your space – with a 2022 update. By KATIE BERRINGTON
Keep it chilled…
“In a nutshell, a ’70s interior adds a pretty chilled vibe,” says Tiffany Duggan, founder of London-based interior-design company Studio Duggan, highlighting one of the reasons the decade has enjoyed a revival in recent years. “With plenty of natural elements, low-slung furniture, hardwearing surfaces and simple forms, ’70s-inspired interiors aren’t precious,” she adds. “They are really liveable and comfortable and sit perfectly in the open-plan layouts that so many houses now have. And the healthy dash of nostalgia doesn’t hurt, either.”
…and warm it up
The decade’s distinctiveness comes predominantly from its natural, earthy color palette, which means you don’t need to go full shag-pile, plastic furniture and clashing psychedelic prints to bring the era into the present day. “For us, we have always wanted to ground a home with earthiness and warmth, which are common threads in ’70s design,” says Louisa Pierce of Nashville-based Pierce & Ward design studio. “Warm colors and textures bring an instant sense of comfort into a home, creating a space you really want to settle into and never leave. Browns and fleshy tones are crucial to effectively achieving the ’70s vibe.” Both Pierce and her business partner Emily Ward agree that an earthy coat of paint is an easy way of changing your space without blowing the budget, while adding moodier lighting to a room is another atmospheric and ambient touch to borrow from the ’70s.
The best way to experiment with a style that might fall outside your current look and instinctive taste can be to change the finishing touches first. Before you make any bigger investments, try pillows, throws, lamps and light shades in browns and earthy hues that are in keeping with the fashion of the ’70s.
When it comes to lighting, “think Sputnik chandeliers, mushroom-shaped table lamps and rattan shades,” says Duggan. “And don’t forget to buy a few house plants.” If you want to go a little bigger and bolder, a statement chair, sculpture or rug can instantly elevate a space, agree Pierce and Ward, allowing you to play around with how and where they fit into your home.
Consider the contrast of styles
The secret to achieving a successful overall look is wholly in the edit of complementary components, so that any ’70s designs can be offset against pieces from other decades. “You need to choose your favorite elements and juxtapose these against pieces from different eras,” says Duggan. “I don’t like a room to feel as if it’s beholden to any one era, so I prefer to choose the best bits from each in a considered and balanced way. For instance, I’m not a huge fan of many ’70s patterns (and plastic furniture is a no-no), but I adore many of the shapes and textures – low, relaxed furniture, simple forms, natural wood, terrazzo, rattan, textured fabrics, rugs, concrete. I also love the mix of earthy, natural elements with just a touch of glamour – Italian designer Gabriella Crespi was the master of this look.”
Scale it to your preference
“Something as simple as a terrazzo worktop in a small bathroom is a fun nod to ’70s style,” says Duggan, recommending that you base the extent to which you lean into the aesthetic after assessing the space and your taste. “Vintage, chunky travertine coffee tables are also very versatile and work well with most other styles. If you’re willing to be a bit braver, I adore ’70s-style seating – the classic ‘Togo’ sofa is wonderful, as is Mario Bellini’s ‘Camaleonda’ sofa. I love the latter in a chocolate-brown velvet – a true ’70s color that is making a huge and long-overdue comeback.”