Why '70s Interior Home Design Will Make A Huge Comeback In 2023, According To Experts

While aesthetics like white bathrooms and rustic wooden beams will be deemed acceptable for the foreseeable future, an explosion of character and funk is making its way back into the zeitgeist of home décor. Homeowners and buyers seem to be moving on from the overly clean, curated, and cottagecore looks of the last few years (per The New York Times) and heading into another nostalgic direction that emphasizes color, individuality, and, you guessed it, groove.

Yes, the 1970s aesthetic is coming back in full force, with these designs evoking the fun, sensual, and downright cool vibe that defined the decade. Thus, being on-trend in today's home design market is reflecting the moods and imagery that best represent yourself, and not shying away from color, organic materials, and dynamic forms. In an exclusive interview with House Digest, designers Rachel Waldron and Kelly Kuehn provide the expert insight into what is to come and how our world has affected this '70s phenomenon.

Return to color

Avocado-green, funky earth tones, and pops of sunset orange — these are the types of colors that drive the aesthetics of the 1970s. Unlike the neutrals, warm whites, and soft hues of the last five years or so, this is a radical departure from what has defined home décor previously. For the last few years, the pandemic encouraged comfort, a naturalistic and farmhouse retreat sensibility, and muted tones that were soothing to the senses. Essentially, home design was sustained around choices that would be non-bothersome to people occupying their homes at all hours of the day.

Interior designer Kelly Kuehn details to House Digest that "[t]he current earth tones color palette is expanding from cream, tans, and grays to muted versions of '70s shades like avocado green, rust, browns, and mustard colors." Thus, the transition away from neutrals is a resurgence of the '70s with a bit more subtlety; we're revisiting these colors while keeping modern-eye sensibilities in mind.

Change of materials

After a time of seclusion, caution, and privacy, sentiments of glamour, celebration, and a funky reverence for the natural world have reentered American life in full force. As designer Kelly Kuehn asserts, "Organic materials like wicker, rattan, and twine were everywhere in decorative items, sofas, chairs, coffee tables, and end tables. Now homeowners are bringing in '70s textures with wicker back chairs around their dining tables, and placing storage baskets woven with twine in their kitchens and bathrooms."

This is a considerable change from a lot of the comfortable and simple designs that have been prevalent previously. White bedding, anything that is too sleek looking, will register as more sterile rather than minimal and comfortable. When predictability returns to everyday living, therein lies an opportunity for spontaneity and a derivation from the norm to emerge in home design. Materials like velvet and looped yarn will offer textures and fresh moods to bring something different to spaces.

Balance of form

Designer Rachel Waldron points out that a lot of current styles and aesthetics were simply natural evolutions or luxurious upgrades of the foundations laid by the 1970s. "Rather than using shag carpets, we simply moved to fluffy rugs," Waldron explains. "We still want that feeling, just not the negatives that follow. We brought modern expectations of quality, replacing plastic laminate counters with sintered stone, quartz, and porcelain slabs. We've removed the sunken living rooms in an effort to be more accessible." This is a wonderful encapsulation of the home design trend to come, as this new 1970s revival will be about offering something different from what has come before, but also being mindful of modern home design.

Since dramatic glass walls, all-white kitchens, and wide oak wood floors are some of the prevailing elements that this 1970s revival is stepping into, it's helpful for homeowners to be mindful of what their current residence has. Creating a space that's a bit moodier and interesting will encourage homeowners to take time to think about what changes to implement without betraying what made the house desirable in the first place. Because this is such a drastic departure from what came before, these changes will require their own checks and balances.

Psychedelic revival

Interior designer Rachel Waldron tells House Digest, "Teens guide fashion, and people in their 40s through 60s are typically those who can afford design services and therefore guide those trends." Thus, it would make sense that this newly packaged form of design nostalgia would stem from those who were born in and grew up around the time of this original aesthetic. Combining these details with a newfound sense of adventure going into 2023 makes this the perfect time for the 70s revival to dominate.

Home design is cyclical on some level, and the psychedelic revival of the last couple of years is tremendously influencing culture. Substances like LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA are now being recognized as mainstream sources of mental health treatment. Psychedelic bands Tame Impala and Beach House are prevalent in rock music. With cultural influences like these, it's unsurprising that this progressive and free-thinking sensibility would make its way into our personal spaces.

Repurposing the old

Vintage is back in a big way. In a time when we're becoming increasingly more ecologically conscious, it makes sense that homeowners might be revisiting elements and pieces from the 1970s. Kelly Kuehn notes, "Animals like owls and roosters and graphic florals were featured prominently in whimsical crafts like hanging wall macramé, figurines, dishes, and bold floral graphic wallpaper. Certainly, wallpaper is surging back in a big way; homeowners are using big leafy prints to help bring the outside feeling inside."

During the pandemic, the attempt to bring the outdoors indoors was done by focusing on lots of natural light and neutral tones found in nature. But now, these flourishes will translate into more overt expressions, like tropical prints, distinct browns, and funkier earth tones found in landscapes like forests, deserts, and mountains. Eclectic and personal is the new style, and we are excited to see what 2023 holds in this regard.