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Trend Watch: 1970s Interior Design is Having a Moment

Trend Report

A '70s revival is clearly evident in trending materials, colors & decorative motifs.

Breezy Rattan & Wicker

Rattan, wicker, and cane may conjure up scenes of sun-dappled decks and patios, but in the 1970s, wicker was a full-fledged indoor furniture trend. Light, breezy, organic—and the opposite of stuffy, upholstered furniture—rattan and wicker projected a carefree, youthful interior decorating approach, and that appeal is having a 21st Century revival. Designs like the Cane-Line Curve Lounge Chair, above, and the Sika Monet Highback Chair capture the current rattan craze beautifully, their sturdy, organic appeal seemingly lifted from a 1970s interiors magazine. And few furniture designs are as evocative of an era, or as much of a '70s sensation, as a hanging wicker chair, perfectly embodied by Sika's stylishly fetching Renoir Hanging Swing Chair.


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Bohemian Tassels & Fringe

The countercultural movement, which started in the 1960s, was still going strong in the '70s, and there was Woodstock and its aftermath—crochet shawls, beaded vests, and all—to prove it. Buttoned-up corporate suits had their counterparts in carefree, colorful clothes and accessories, and interior design followed suit, with a Bohemian vibe that extended to slouchy sofas and Maharishi-inspired Indian textiles. Patricia Urquiola looked to India for her Garden Layers collection of indoor/outdoor mats and pillows, all texture, pattern, and fringed detailing. Thomaspaul's tassel-edged Alpaca Throw, and the richly embellished Surya Trenza Pillow illustrate that modern design's penchant for baubles and beads isn't just a thing of the past.


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Groovy Jungle Prints

Elvis wasn't the only one with a jungle room. Leopard spots and zebra stripes were big news in the '70s, encompassing a range of decor, from accent pieces to all-over sofa upholstery. A burgeoning animal rights movement propelled designers to toss aside real animal hides for faux animal options, resulting in synthetic carpeting and printed textiles that proved cruelty was no longer cool, but kitsch certainly was. Aimee Wilder's Cheetah Vision Wallpaper, above, embodies a more subtle animal print vogue, while Surya's Stella Rug, another symphony of cheetah spots, brings its own animal magnetism to interior compositions. And Ferm Living's Safari Tufted Rug has all the whimsical jungle vibe a kid could want, with both tiger and leopard motif conveniently on hand.


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Hippie Hanging Plants

Maybe it was the dawning of the environmental movement, or a natural desire to escape the political upheaval outside, but house plants were big in the 1970s; really big! Thumb through 1970s interiors magazines, and it's plain that avocado-colored kitchen appliances weren't the only green 1970s fixation. Plants—especially hanging plants cradled in macrame holders—were all the rage, and while we've moved beyond those knotted wonders, hanging plants are back in a big way. Ferm Living has done its best to revive the trend, offering an understated Danish twist to planters, with designs, like the curvaceous metal Hanging Deco Planter, above, and the stoneware Hanging Planter, held aloft with strong and earthy rope. No wonder we're all going green!


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Shagadelic Rugs

In the 1970s, floor treatments could be encapsulated in a single word: shag. Or, more accurately, 5 words: wall-to-wall shag carpeting—and anyone who managed to take the leap into burnt orange or olive green carpeting was seriously groovy. Wall-to-wall shag may never again be a thing, but area shag rugs have been softening up the clean edges of contemporary interior schemes for a while. The Surya Sheepskin Square Rug, above, handsome in a deep charcoal hue, makes a luxurious shaggy statement, while the Chandra Naya Shag Rug, available in a whole range of daring colors, is sure to induce an instant '70s rewind. Modernists may prefer the clean, graphic message of the Kodiak Rug, its deep pile black detailing somehow managing to be both elegant and shagadelic.


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