18 Outdated Home Trends From The 70s People No Longer Want

As times change, so do our homes and the perfect home 50 years ago certainly wouldn’t match up with today’s sleek, modern smart homes. In this article, we explore 18 design and technological features from the 70s that you won’t find in homes today… Well, not unless they’re due a serious refurb!

Shag Carpeting

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Apartment Therapy says, “This cozy, high-pile rug style dominated design in the latter half of the 20th century despite being notoriously difficult to clean.” While long-pile carpeting may have been soft and fuzzy, its popularity didn’t last long- by the 80s, most shag was being replaced by sleeker, more sanitary flooring. 

Wood Paneling

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Fitting in with the era’s penchant for earthy, intimate spaces, wood or veneer paneling was found in many homes, often in dark and shiny tones. While it may have been practical, it was frequently overdone, and such wall-to-wall woodiness was quickly replaced with lighter, brighter wall coverings.

Popcorn Ceilings

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Ceilings sprayed or painted with textured paint/plaster gained popularity for their ability to dampen noise and cover up ugly, uneven ceilings, says ABR. The look was unusual and divisive. By the late 80s, so-called ‘popcorn’ ceilings had given way to more modern, smooth plaster, deemed cleaner and easier to re-paint. 

Colored Appliances

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Have you ever seen an avocado-green oven or a burnt orange refrigerator? If so, you’ve probably been in a 1970s kitchen. The decade’s love for earthy tones didn’t stop in the living room, and appliances were commonly available in the color palette of the time. Today’s sleek white, black, or steel offerings are a far cry from their 70s cousins! 

Wallpaper Borders

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The Victoria and Albert Museum reports, “The 1960s and 1970s represented a high point for many wallpaper manufacturers when sales were strong and designs were bold and modern.” In stark contrast to minimalistic, uncluttered modern homes, 1970s decorating edged printed wallpapers with busy borders featuring additional patterns and similarly strong colors.

Sunken Living Rooms

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Now a thing of the past, sunken ‘conversation pits’ were common in larger, grander ’70s homes. The era’s love for parties and intimate gatherings prompted such seating arrangements, but their impracticality and additional build costs soon saw them replaced by standard couches and armchairs.

Retro Wall Art

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A strong preference for bright, bold, and (for the time) modern wall art prompted homes of 50 years ago to be decorated with pop-art prints and more abstract expressions in the signature ochres, burnt yellows, and olive greens of the time. Today, interior design favors more minimalistic artwork in other shades, like blues and greys.

Built-In Bars

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According to Living Etc., a home bar was the 1970s epitome of sophistication and leisure and a focal point for entertaining guests. Often featuring veneered cabinets, mirrored inlays, and elaborate glassware, they certainly wouldn’t fit in with today’s more modern and practical kitchen islands and open-plan living spaces.

Floral Upholstery

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The 60s and 70s are known for their ‘Flower Power’ movement, and this certainly migrated into interior design. The era embraced vibrant, busy floral patterns on all upholstery (including sofas, armchairs, and cushions) as well as curtains and bedspreads. Modern designers would be truly horrified! 

Linoleum Flooring

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Country Living states that linoleum was a cheap, durable, and practical flooring choice for many kitchens and bathrooms in the 1970s. Unfortunately, it often looked cheap and did eventually degrade over time. Today, we opt for alternatives like hardwoods and ceramic tiles, which offer both practicality and style.

Vertical Blinds

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While vertical blinds still persist in offices today, they’re largely absent from modern homes. A popular choice 50 years ago, they offered a practical way to cover large windows, ensuring privacy and optimal light levels. Vertical blinds have since been replaced by equally functional but more attractive, less utilitarian window coverings like curtains, shades, and shutters.

Ceiling Beams

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The rustic, nature-based interior designs of the 70s welcomed exposed wooden ceiling beams, which offered a rustic country-style look. The beams added character and warmth by bringing more natural wood inside. In contrast, modern homes tend to have smooth, uninterrupted ceilings and paler, hardwood features.

A Separate Dining Room

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Formal dining rooms with partitions or dividers were popular in the 1970s, designating a space for eating that was separate from the kitchen and living areas. Modern home design has now shifted towards open-concept living spaces that are more connected and ‘flow’ into one another. 

Wall-Mounted Phones

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Readers Digest tells us that the hallmark phone of the decade was a wall-mounted rotary found, often in a garish shade of yellow or red! While they may have fitted in with the kitchen appliances, they certainly wouldn’t be welcome in modern homes- which are all about sleek, uninterrupted lines and high-tech communication.

Mirrored Closet Doors

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They may have been a nightmare to keep free of fingerprints, but floor-to-ceiling mirrors as closet doors were a common sight in 1970s bedrooms. They added a sense of spaciousness and eliminated the need for additional walls or standing mirrors, but they weren’t the most durable or safe option.

Rattan Furniture

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A penchant for rustic, warm, and natural-looking furniture prompted a trend for furniture with a wicker-like, woven appearance- often perforated with small holes. House Beautiful reports that the interesting texture and unusual appearance of rattan was an iconic feature of 1970s home design.

Overhead Heating

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Radiant ceiling heating systems were used in 1970s homes because they provided warmth evenly throughout a room. But they weren’t very efficient or easily modified, so they’ve inevitably been replaced by more technologically advanced and eco-friendly heating options in recent years.

Velvet Settees

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People in the 70s didn’t just want to wear velvet- they wanted to dress their homes in it, too! Velvet in earthy greens, harvest yellows, and rust colors was popular for soft furnishings like sofas and curtains. It also fitted in well with shag carpeting and the era’s preference for cozy, comfortable spaces.

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