We’re All Obsessed With 70’s Design Trends, And We Didn’t Even Know It

Happy Wednesday! A couple weeks ago Erica was snapping her “new” vintage interior design magazines, and I was drooling like a mad woman. Lucite, rattan, and glam, oh my! She clued me in on that fact that we are all obsessed over 70’s design trends, and we didn’t even know it. ERMERGERD!!!!! Seriously, she’s so right! Don’t believe me, read on my friend. 

I know I’m not breaking any news here when I point out that boho design is a “thing” right now in the design world.

But I discovered recently, that “boho” is *actually * just code word for 70’s design. So if you love boho, you love 70’s design. BOOM. Yep, it’s totally true.

A few weekends ago, I was at a vintage art book sale, and I found a stack of interior design magazines from the 1970s. OH MAH GERD.

There are some boho trends right now that we’ve all heard about: succulents, vintage textiles, woven wall hangings, macramé…but I wanted to dive in and dig a little deeper to uncover some of the boho trends that you might not have realized were straight out of the Saturday Night Fever, high-waisted jean, feathered hair loving 1970’s.

Get on board ppl, cause all of this stuff is H-A-P-P-E-N-I-N-G.

Chunky Sofas - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it


1 — CHUNKY SOFAS I recently owned a sofa from the 60’s era, and trust me: there was nothing about this thing that was chunky. It was slim, stiff, and frankly: crazy uncomfortable. But just looking at this delicious 70’s couch has got me feeling all the feels.

This thing makes me want to lay alllllllll the hell all over it. I’d put on a Real Housewives marathon, get lost in a tub of buttered popcorn, and fall asleep with visions of Danny Zuko dancing in my head.

I love chunky sofas so much, I have one in my own damn living room. Designer extraordinaire Kelly Wearstler is also a maje chunky sofa lover.

Cantilevered Chairs - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

2 — CANTILEVERED CHAIRS Cantilevered chairs do away with the four leg chair support framework, in favor of a “bent” one leg support. The seats of these chairs almost look “suspended” in mid air…and they are DEAD SEXY.

These are perhaps one of the most recognized pieces of furniture from the 70’s era, and they are all over virtually every issue of my 70’s design mag pile. They come in a variety of styles from the more casual cane cantilevered chairs, to those that are upholstered and covered in different fabrics such as velvet. If you dig this style and can find a set in good condition, jump on that like white on rice.

I have a goto list of search terms I use on craigslist and “cantilevered chairs” is one of em.

Lucite - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

3 — LUCITE Lucite has been super trendy for a while now, but I didn’t realize that the 70’s was when this magical clear man-made stuff really came into its own.

Lucite had been used a lot in other segments such as jewelry back in the day. But as a 70’s design trend it started making it’s way into the home in a big way. All the sudden there were Lucite tables, consoles, chairs and bookshelves everywhere.

These days, there are lots of inexpensive knock offs of many of these types of pieces (this console comes to mind), but an original 70’s lucite piece is still a great find. And best of all, these sorts of items really work well with almost any décor style.

Rattan - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

4 — RATTAN FURNITURE INDOORS The natural properties of rattan make it a great choice for outdoor furniture. But in the 70’s this stuff started making its way inside. And while I don’t exactly love the patterns or colors going on here, I do think these rattan pieces are pretty kickass.

If you’ve been wanting to dip your toes into the boho style pool, rattan is an easy way to get started. You can often find pieces like this at flea markets and in thrift stores, and you can usually snap them up for prices that range from zomgz cheap to pretty cheap.

Moroccan Decor - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

5 — MOROCCAN DECOR This is another super hot trend right now, that I had zero clue, actually kicked off in the 70’s. While you definitely see a move toward all sorts of world inspired and ethnic décor in the design magazines I snagged, something that kept popping up again and again was an ode to Moroccan décor and design.

As far as I’m concerned, this pic looks like it could be straight out of an Anthropologie catalog.

Art Inspired Wallpaper - Gorgeous Wallpaper - Vintage - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

6 — ART INSPIRED WALLPAPER True confessions: I’m Kelly Wearstler obsessed. So when I saw this pic above, I couldn’t help but think of this Kelly Wearstler Channels wallpaper. I know it’s not *exactly * the same, but it def has a similar feel and vibe to me.

And while wallpaper had been around for many years before the 70’s design trends, it was during that time that the “undone” or artsy type graphic wallpaper started to gain popularity.

I swear: I’d be pretty darn happy to plop that gray wallpaper up in any room in my house.

Small Space Solutions for a tiny House - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

7 — SMALL SPACE SOLUTIONS The 70’s was also a time when a lot of furniture manufacturers started playing around with the idea of small space solutions. In fact, as I started seeing different options like this rad fold-up table, I couldn’t help but wonder why Ikea and others aren’t doing a better job of serving this market now.

Everyone is talking about tiny houses and small spaces, but I almost never see anything as cool as this.

Glam Kitchen - We're all obsessed with 70’s design trends, and we didn't even know it

8 — GLAM KITCHENS While I can’t promise that the glam kitchen was invented in the 70’s, I was surprised by the number of non-white, out of the box kitchens I saw across the pages of the magazines. This black and gold one is the perfect example.

There are quite a few orange or avocado green kitchens, but it also seems like they weren’t afraid to up the va va voom glam factor in the good ole 70’s.

(**All of these pics are from Residential Interiors from 1976 – 1980).

Want more of Erica’s no no nonsense, tell it like it is design advice? Click here.

Erica Reitman - Interior Designer


  1. Mary August 24, 2016

    At my age I lived through almost all of the items you mentioned. (Except the glam kitchen.) Too bad I didn’t keep any of it.

  2. ERICA REITMAN August 24, 2016

    @Mary Everything old is new again! 🙂

  3. Cuckoo4Design August 30, 2016

    Loved reading this and think that rug up there is pretty awesome too.

  4. madhudasblog September 19, 2016

    Beautiful post. Great points., Never really considered much about the classics, but most of modern are a basically of classic with a slight change.

  5. […] these new goals, I’ve enlisted help from my girls Erica Reitman and Grace Ray. Erica wrote 70s Design Trends You Didn’t Know You Were Obsessed With and 5 Small Space Design Rules You Should Totally Ignore. Ever since I’ve begged her to make […]

  6. […] you loved this post and want more Erica in your life, read how she’s obsessed with 70’s interior design or all the rules you should break if you’re part of the small space squad. She’s also […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *