70s interior design trend

Every time I look through images of original 1970s interiors I am thrilled by the sheer confidence of pattern, colour and design of that era. In the UK, there was so much creativity happening from the music industry through to fashion and home. Exhilarating design extended too to the airline industry.  In the early ’70s Court Line, a British airline/package holiday company had a fleet of brightly coloured planes where the crew’s outfits matched the colour of each plane – see my 70s Pinterest board.

The future is bright

This Spring/Summer 2016 as fashion designers such as Carven, Chloe, Gucci and Holly Fulton have reinterpreted ’70s designs for the SS16 catwalk there’s another groundswell of interior designers, upcyclers and retailers doing the same for the home.

More established designers of 70s fashion and home are Orla Kiely and Wayne Hemmingway who have created extensive furniture, wallpaper and accessory ranges.

One of the newer designers is textile trained Zoe Murphy  who uses influences from her home town of Margate to upcycle pieces with colour and pattern. Zoe sells these from her seafront workshop and runs workshops, teaching people how to do it themselves. Zoe is also working on some projects with both Osborne and Little and Liberty.

http://www.zoemurphy.com, drawers lined with Mini Moderns wallpaper

MOJO Margate (Tel: 07714 22814) is another Margate treasure trove of ’30s to ’80s furniture run by Mark Downing (ex music industry) and his partner Heidi Rodgers. They specialise in upcycling original pieces using ‘Montana Gold’spray paints.

Upcycler Caroline Key  runs a business from Edinburgh called ‘Trash Furnishing’ and has customised this teak sideboard with orange handles, painted legs and petal print design. Not surprisingly, a few of Caroline’s pieces have also been chosen to sell in a new Mary Portas home concession in House of Fraser, Glasgow.

Upcycled by Caroline Key,/Pinterest

Original ’70s furniture is now almost as sort after as Mid Century Modern designs but it is still possible to find original pieces from flea markets, charity shops and junk shops. G Plan teak sideboards, dining tables, chairs and modular storage units are one of the easiest furniture makes to find.

Vintage kitchen design

Inspiring vintage kitchen design: I love the combination of these coloured open shelved cabinets, with turquoise tiles, granite top and teak base units.

70s kitchen courtesy of Pinterest

Kitchen storage on the High Street:


Bright lights

These well priced copper look pendent lights have a bit of a ’70s vibe and would look great in a kitchen. Founded in Denmark in 2008 by VITACopenhagen.com, the lights are now available in the UK on-line and at Heals, £85 each.


Porta Romana lighting at Chelsea Design Harbour now do all their shades in velvets.  This wall light in ‘Chutney’ velvet would look rather fab in an upmarket 70s scheme.

70s inspired wallpaper designs:

Wayne Hemmingway wallpaper, £17/roll for Graham and Brown


Graham and Brown wallpaper, £12.80/roll
hand printed wallpaper, £125/roll, Notonthehighstreet.com

The history bit

1970s interior decoration was more than just a bit of orange and brown dotted here and there. From nightclub-inspired mirrored ceilings to wallpapers and painted borders (not dissimilar to the border designs used in Art Nouveau/Art Deco designs), no element of a room was left undecorated. These bold painted borders made no concession to original features of previous eras; they were often painted over the top of intricate ceiling roses, mouldings and fireplaces. Depending on your point of view, these pyschedelic designs were either incredibly bold and exciting or perhaps a tad overpowering

70s interior, courtesy of Pinterest
70s interior, courtesy of Pinterest

‘Flower Power’ from the catwalk splashed across fabrics, wallpapers and lampshades. Ashley Hicks has followed in his father David’s (interior designer) footsteps and has designed some 70s inspired geometric wallpapers (see Cole and Son wallpaper below). Biba’s Barbara Hulanicki took inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement for her logo. Another contemporary designer whose collections are 70s inspired to look out for is Jonathan Adler.

Top 5 ideas of how to incorporate 70s design into your home

  1. Don’t be afraid to mix up furniture from different eras. A friend of mine’s parents lived in an architect designed 70s house where they very successfully married shag pile carpet, 70s floral pattern with inherited dark wood antiques.
  2. Orange is a key colour for 2016 but rather than paint walls with traditional 70s chocolate brown, for a more contemporary look try Farrow and Ball’s Downpipe grey No. 26 or the lighter shade (and new for 2016) of Worsted No.284.
  3. Dfs have great retro-shaped sofas. Leather was a key look for the 70s so why not team with some retro print cushions made from original fabric. Charity shops are a good source for this. A few in a jumbo corduroy wouldn’t go amiss either.
  4. For a more toned-down ’70s border: try a splash of orange in the hall by painting a staircase with an orange ‘runner’ stripe instead of carpet. Just above a white skirting board going up the stairs, paint a simple 8cm wide ‘border’ line in orange: ‘Dulux: Rich Havana 4 Ref: 05YY 42/727.

    5. Decorating small spaces such as loos with patterned wallpapers from ceiling to floor works really well. It just makes them incredibly cosy and with a mirror, creates depth to a small space and intensifies the effect.

Ring, Ring

Check out more of my tips for decorating with 70s style at the new Dfs blog

Charis White, interior stylist

If you have enjoyed reading this post and would like to receive regular email updates for future posts, please press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of this post.  Thank you so much for reading!

Charis x

1970s interiors directory

4 thoughts on “70s interior design trend

  1. Loving the colours and patterns! I remember our cream corduroy couch that became a single bed – you just took the back cushions off! I thought it very smart! I adored my two tone burgundy and tan flares! My homage to Pete Duel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 70s interior design trend – that’s what I really like! This style goes well with cork panels for the wall https://www.corkstore24.co.uk/shop/4-cork-board-sheets/ . The cork board tiles can be left alone without any finish. They can also be finished in any way possible. These cork wall tiles can be painted over with any paint, lacquer or wood stain to enhance or cover up the cork’s structure. The products quality is guaranteed!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.