The Decade That Taste Forgot: Lavish And Luxe Interiors Of The 1970s

Published July 6, 2017
Updated September 12, 2019
Fireplace Hottub Hybrid
Tom Jones Pool
Clear Bathtub
Chamberlain Dinner Table
The Decade That Taste Forgot: Lavish And Luxe Interiors Of The 1970s
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To neo-bohemian Millennials hooked on "the Brooklyn look", the matchy-matchy maximalism and unhinged hedonism of 1970s luxury interior design must look as fussy in its forethought and dusty in its formalism as the century-old trappings of Downton Abbey or other binge-worthy period pablum.

These hypothetical hipsters aren't wrong: The 1970s was an age of bold-but-earthy patterns, inspired by the nascent environmental movement; cartoonishly decadent and overwrought entertaining areas of marble, brass, fur, and shag; and impossibly busy "op-art" textiles and wallpaper.

But the era's high- and low-end interiors, as Minneapolis Star Tribune humorist and author of Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes From the Horrible '70s James Lileks argues, were just a product of the time:

"This is what happens when Dad drinks, Mom floats in a Valium haze, the kids slump down to the den with the bong and the decorator has such a desperate coke habit he simply must convince half the town to put up reflective wall paper."

And in order to experience the best that the so-called "decade that taste forgot" has to offer, it helps to see what the fabulously wealthy tastemakers of the time were doing with their interiors.

The gallery above aims to gather a collection of high-end 1970s interiors emblematic of an era of absurdly bold choices soon tempered by the garish iciness of the 1980s. Like that decade's cool remedy to what came before, the brash aesthetic of the 1970s wasn't created in a vacuum, as David Netto and Tom Delavan write in The New York Times Style Magazine:

"In contrast to the pared-down discipline of mid-century style, the '70s were sensual and decadent. People were unafraid to take risks. The furniture was made for hanging out, lounging or sex — activities infinitely more tempting than what was going on in the places where postwar design made its mark: schools, offices and hospitals. Imagine trying to make out on a Barcelona Chair."

For more from the 1970s, check out the decade's most absurd menswear ads as well as some of the era's most unbelievable cocaine ads.

Kellen Perry
Kellen Perry is a veteran writer on topics including television, history, music, art, video games, and food. His work has also appeared on Grunge, Ranker, and Looper.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Perry, Kellen. "The Decade That Taste Forgot: Lavish And Luxe Interiors Of The 1970s.", July 6, 2017, Accessed May 18, 2024.