This Decade Is Slowly Taking the Design World by Storm

updated May 3, 2019
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Right now in home design and even fashion, it feels like a total ’70s takeover. Some might argue that the ’90s are going strong, too. But the ’90s were the first real throwback to the ’70s, so there you go. This time period had two pretty distinct things going on—boho hippie vibes and glam, glitzy disco feels, which means you can probably find a way to work something ’70s into your home no matter your aesthetic. Let’s first focus on the more natural side of things here though, because those are the trends coming on strong right now in the home world for the most part.

I think we’ve all added the word “terrazzo” back to our design encyclopedias. Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel put it on the map again in a big way with the Architectural Digest-featured home of actress Mandy Moore, where terrazzo was used liberally. But other designers have also been advocating for it. “Find a way to bring back terrazzo,” says Donna Mondi of Donna Mondi Interior Design. “Whether it’s flooring, countertops, or walls, it’s mid-century modern at its finest.” The play-it-safe way to do this flecked, composite stone would be in countertop accents, bath accessories, or even a single feature like a fireplace surround. But if you’re totally obsessed, a big installation on a floor or kitchen island would be amazing.

(Image credit: Winkie Visser)

Macrame is another ’70s trend that seems to be everywhere as of late. This material is definitely easier to incorporate into your home than terrazzo, and it’s also way less of an investment. Try a macrame wall hanging over your bed or as part of a gallery wall. Or you can go the plant lady route, and use a macrame hanger for your latest fern or succulent. The more adventurous option here would be a macrame chair or another big piece of furniture. What’s nice about this construction is it consists of knots, so it’s quite strong.

Shag rugs make me think of “Austin Powers,” but these floor coverings’ popularity lasted throughout the swinging ’60s well into the ’70s. I think that’s because, although somewhat of a pain to keep clean, they’re neutral enough to go with any type of furniture. I mean, they certainly have that far out vibe. But cream colored shags and sheepskins are also fixtures in Scandinavian design, and you can’t find more 0f a clean-lined or grounded style than that. Plus, they’re comfy. “Anything with an intentional focus on the comforts of the space, cozy pillows and throws or soft carpets underfoot is a trend to embrace,” says Mondi. If you like this textured look and can deal with the maintenance, the shag rug is definitely a do. I’ve been covering design for close to a decade now, and they’ve had staying power the entire time. So I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

(Image credit: Amber Hakim)

Wood was also a big ’70s material, but not just any old species. The pendulum definitely swung away from heavier, more traditional dark cherry and ebony styles and towards lighter rattans, which, sourced from climbing palms, gained traction in the ’70s. Rattan really did define the decade’s quintessential boho look, and it’s important to recreating it today. Visually, rattan furniture is light and airy, so it’s great for small spaces IMO. You could try a side table or chair, or go big with a headboard or bed. You probably don’t want to fill a whole room with rattan furniture, but one standout piece like this shelving unit is great as an accent.

Okay, we have to get a little glam in here somewhere. And that’s where black and gray marble come in and sort of bridge the gap between ’70s natural and ’70s glamour. Because these darker stones can really go either way depending on the styling around them, making them very versatile. I mean, who doesn’t love marble? “This year in an ode to ’70s and ’80s glam we’re seeing gray and black marble finishes on furniture,” says Alessandra Wood, director of style at Modsy. “Live it up, but perhaps refrain from installing a black marble bathroom, so you don’t feel like you’ve dated your space as the trends shift.” Well-said. But if I were in the market for a new kitchen, I’d consider darker marbles for countertops. They can be a bit more forgiving than white Carrera.

Right now, it’s pretty hard to ignore the ’70s resurgence in design—it’s happening all around us. And I think it’s because it was a pretty chill decade, decor-wise, at least. The comfier and more neutral the trends are overall, the more staying power they’ll have this time around—and next.