16 Things in 70s Homes: Cringeworthy & Loved Come Back Items

The ’70s was a laid-back era of music and fun times. So it’s interesting to look back at how things were and how they have changed. 

What was popular in homes during the 1970s? We list 16 items; surprisingly, some are still around, although changed.

1.) Shag Carpeting

shag carpeting

Nothing says 1970’s more than shag carpet. So often used wall-to-wall in homes in bright colors such as orange and lime-green. Along with bathroom rugs and toilet covers.

People today do use shag carpeting, but most often with smaller rugs and neutral colors.

2.) Fur Furniture & Bedding

Fur chairs and bedding were used frequently to go along with the shag carpeting. We still see some of this material, just less often. Most commonly in Scandinavian interior design.

Fur is still used today, but sparingly. It ties in perfectly with other natural decors.

3.) Floor TVs

vintage TV

While TVs have not been removed from the home, how they’re incorporated into the decor has. 

The TVs in the 70s were so wide and heavy that they had to be placed on the floor or rolling carts. They became furniture. 

While the lightweight, thin TVs of today are easily hung on walls.

modern TV

4.) Wood Wall Paneling

home wood paneling on wall

Aside from the shag carpeting, nothing else dates a home as quickly as fake wood wall paneling. While wood can be a beautiful wall covering, these old panels are often one of the first things painted or removed during home remodeling projects. 

Bright-colored wall paneling brightens up a space and makes it look more modern.

5.) Floral Patterned Furniture

woman laying on old 70s floral couch

Floral-patterned furniture was trendy in the 70s. They were often covered in plastic to protect them from dirt and stains. 

Floral is still going today, but the designs and patterns have changed to be a bit more toned down. 

living room interior design
Designers today usually use throw pillows to make a statement, with the sofa monotone.

6.) Linoleum Flooring

1970s kitchen

Linoleum was popular in patterns and bright colors, and the material is still around today. Most commonly, made to look like wood. 

It is made in tiles and sheets that are relatively inexpensive and can last up to 35 years. 

Modern linoleum has come a long way.

7.) Wall Phones

old floral couch and wall phone.

No need for wall phones and a landline anymore. These days most everyone has a cell phone. However, the freedom that came from being disconnected, also had some downfalls, such as when your car broke down in the middle of nowhere. 

8.) Waterbeds

filling up a waterbed mattress.

The waterbed was patented in 1971 and became an instant success. 

The concept was to support the body without pressure points. The waving and sploshing water have given way to modern-day temperpedic mattresses. However, a small number of waterbeds are sold today.

9.) Typewriters

laptop and typewriter

We still have typewriters, just in the form of laptops and mobile phones. 

10.) Big Stereo Systems & Record Players

retro home stereo system

Stereo systems have become more compact over time. And record players, once vanished, are making a comeback. So there is something people are being drawn back to the analog nature of records.

11.) Bean Bags

family sitting on bean bag chairs

Although surprisingly comfortable, bean bags are less popular today than in the 1970s. But seem to be making a comeback. Our increasing use of screens/devices makes bean bags an excellent choice.

bean bag chair in living room

12.) Alarm Clocks

vintage clock radio

The clicking, rotating numbers on alarm clocks have also been replaced by cell phones.

13.) TV Dinner Trays

While we still eat while watching our favorite programs, the TV trays of the 70s are no longer around. Well, neither are the foil-trayed Swanson TV dinners. 

14.) Ferns

fern plant in old house

Not talking about people named Fern. However, it was a more popular name back then. The plants often were displayed on wooden stands. The more, the better. 

While ferns may not have the same love they did in the 70s, they are still popular houseplants. 

15.) Lava Lamps

lava lamps

Lava lamps were popular in the 70s and are starting to get popular again.

16.) Smaller Square Footage

Homes are 1,000 square feet larger today than in 1973. With the living space per person almost doubling. Do you think larger houses are a good or bad thing? What size is too large? 

What did you like most about homes in the 70s? What has gotten better or worse?

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.