Published on August 5, 2018

img 2. Knoll Pin It
courtesy of Knoll

It’s true that there are some design trends we simply never want to see again (*cough, macrame, cough*). But if there’s anything the return of mom jeans and fanny packs has taught us, it’s that certain fads will eventually come back into fashion, whether you’re ready for it or not. The same sentiment rings true for interior decor. Colors, patterns, and concepts from the 1970s that were once deemed outdated or in poor taste are slowly making their second debut. So who’s to say what will return and what won’t? We’re not here to make the claim that we can see into the future, but we think we’ve got a hunch.

We asked a handful of interior designers to share the throwback looks they can’t wait to see again, and, funny enough, their trends of choice all pull from the same era. Looks like the 70s are officially making a comeback. 

Sunken Living Rooms

Of the many designers we talked to, this was their number one request. “Sunken living rooms are to die for!” shares Natalie Myers of Veneer Designs. Atlanta-based designer Andria Fromm and Dee Murphy of Murphy Deesign are also big fans of this old-school layout. Also known as conversation pits, these sunken spaces are a great way to demarcate space without having to put up walls.

“It’s such an unexpected way to add drama and interest to a space,” adds Fromm. Sunken living rooms have already begun to make their return, but, of course, this time around they feel decidedly more modern. Bright white accents, contemporary materials, and clean-lined furniture are just a few inspired ways daring decorators are giving these submerged spaces a second life.

Cantilever Chairs

Who needs four legs when a cantilever chair can offer you the same sense of balance, but with so much more style. “I just bought some for my current dining room, and I had Breuer cane dining chairs in my previous home. It’s a trend I’ll never quit because I love it so much! There’s something about the sleek and mod chrome base,” suggests Utah-based blogger and designer, Sarah Gibson.

wood panelling living room Pin It
courtesy of Design Within Reach

Wood Paneling

Wood on wood on wood is making a refreshing recovery—and we’re totally here for it. Because if we’re being honest, a little part of us died inside every time we watched an HGTV host rip out a dated home’s existing paneling only to replace it with standard drywall.

Shea McGee, one part of the husband-wife duo behind Studio McGee, and Becki Owens both support a floor-to-ceiling-to-wall display. Whether stained or left as is, it’s certainly clear that exclusively-wood rooms aren’t just for gaudy 70’s basements anymore.

green tile kitchen Pin It
photography by Piccolina Gelateria; design by Hecker Guthrie

Kitschy Kitchens

Clashing prints and flashy shades of fuschia are among the many retro tropes making a comeback right now. “I secretly love kitschy 1950s whimsical designs,” admits SoCal-based blogger, Anita Yokota. “Add mid-century modern furniture along with the fun pops of color and pattern… this trend would be fun in a kitchen.”

Subtly embrace cliches by honing in on one design element—like all-over gridded tile or cheetah-print wallpaper. Whatever you decide to do, do it wholeheartedly.

green velvet bedroom Pin It
photography by Cody Guilfoyle and Aaron Bengochea

Matchy-Matchy Rooms

Mixing-and-matching is fun, but so too is matching-and-matching. Nothing screams bold design quite like a room where every surface is the same. Tavia Forbes of the Atlanta-based firm Forbes + Masters suggests coordinating your wallpaper with your window treatments is a solid place to start. “A fun plaid or a modern geometric is a great way to bring back this 70’s trend,” notes the designer. Unsurprisingly, Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow also approves of powerful, one-note rooms.

gallery wall living room Pin It
photography by Heidi’s Bridge

Clever Tech Camouflage

“I find that when I design rooms, I’m always trying to hide the TV. In the 1950s and 1960s, TVs, radios and record players were incorporated into furniture pieces. I would love to see electronics reimagined for today in a way that fits in with the rest of the room decor,” shares Kahi Lee, one of the designers on TLC’s “Trading Spaces.”

While chic, tech-friendly furniture is hard to come by, there are ways to cleverly incorporate your electronics into your space, without compromising style. Don’t want your television to be the sole focal point of the living room? In this Philadelphia home, a stunning gallery wall discreetly disguises the set. What was once a boring black box is a part of a larger, artful statement.


See more throwback trends we can’t quit: 

This ’80s Bathroom Trend is Making a Comeback

Patchwork So Cool, Even Grandma Would Be Jealous

This Old School Beauty Staple Is Trending Again

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