Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1970s Style

A lot of the design trends you see in furniture catalogues and on decor sites seems to be made with pre-war apartments, turn of the century homes in urban neighborhoods, or trendy industrial lofts in mind, or at least staged and photographed in these spaces. Don't be fooled by the simultaneous popularity of  the urban lifestyle, however-- many current design trends are really rooted in suburbia and the 1970s. Now that the '70s is seeing a revival in fashion, we think it's only fair to highlight how that decade has been revived in decorating as well. Most cities have at least one neighborhood built up during the late sixties through early eighties. In Chattanooga, Hixson, Red Bank, Big Ridge, Harrison, and Brainerd all offer classic suburban architecture. These neighborhoods have been home to folks for half a decade, and it's about time for their style to get appreciation from a new generation.

Last year, Apartment Therapy honed in on the '70s revival and why it's been an undercurrent in recent decorating trends,
"A more thorough examination of this period is particularly worthwhile today, a time that (like the 1970s) is burdened by recession, corruption, and high unemployment rates; a time of renewed environmentalism and disenchantment with material excess. And like our early 70s counterparts, we too are emerging from a period dominated by sleek, minimalist modernism in interior design."
The article also include a checklist of '70s trends, many of which would be equally at home on a "current trends" list, including
"• Crafts revival and hippiedom (macramé. string art, embroidered wall hangings, afghans) • Victoriana (e.g. Laura Ashley) • Brightly colored furniture"
Don't believe us? Check out some of these pieces that have been popping up in popular catalogues in the past couple years:

The Marrakech Swing Chair at UO
The Knotted Melati Hanging Chair at Anthropologie

Both Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters have offered up their versions of a macramé hanging chair, tapping into the crafty, eco-conscious style of the '70s, as well as the shakeup of interior space and furniture shapes made popular during that decade.

The Ziggy Chair at UO
Kite Kilim Floor Pouf at West Elm

Bright colors and bold patterns have made a resurgence. From those that evoke traditional Navajo designs to big, strong chevrons, designers in the past several years haven't been afraid to make a statement. Poufs are also the new bean bag, offering a casual, comfortable seating option that once again shakes up the idea of what qualifies as furniture.

Compare all these pictures of modern decor elements to this 1970s rec room with a conversation pit:

Copyright © Telstar Logistics, used with Creative Commons license

Owl lamp at Target

In lighting, tchotchkes, and other details, the 70s is even more present. Last year Offbeat Home asked readers to predict what the next big thing in decor iconography would be after the most recent trend of "putting a bird on it," explaining
We've seen trends like this before. In the '90s, anyone remember the celestial trend? Or the sunflowers trend? In the '80 we had a lot of unicorns. Going back farther, who remembers the owls and mushrooms of the '70s?

Owl canister at Anthropologie
It looks like the owls are what win the prize-- they are everywhere, from lamps and canisters to shower curtains, dishes, necklaces, and textile prints.

Perhaps the most famous 1970s house--
that used for exterior shots on The Brady BunchCopyright ©Dave Malkoff, used with Creative Commons license
Just as many owners of Victorians and Queen Annes like to mix in furniture and decor that are period appropriate and blend with the architecture of their homes, those who live in split levels and other architectural styles from the 60s, 70s, and even 80s should revel in this opportunity to give a decorative nod to their home's roots. Furthermore, if you're shopping for a house, apartment, or condo and you love what's on trend right now, perhaps you should consider taking your taste to a larger scale and look for a home whose architecture and layout pair well with a little period flavor. 

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