They're Baaack: 7 Retro Design Features

It is true that everything rolls round again. I occasionally wore my mother’s old poodle skirts when I was in high school and, well, we’ve seen the Flashdance look on the middle schoolers.

There are some things that act as symbols of an age’s misguided choices, a shorthand for awful style. Avocado appliances instantly bring to mind ’70s suburbia. And not in a good way. But even those things that wind up as the butt of jokes about decoration delusions are able to make a comeback. And even things you’re pleased to see (eternally, you thought) could have a rebirth which makes them beautiful. At the ’80s Eichlers were considered cheap and boxy. Now they are classic treasures.

Here are seven style throwbacks which have made a triumphant return.

Shag Rugs

You might not go wall to wall green shag anymore, but a long-fiber shag is definitely in. This grass-green area rug is a stylish nod to the abomination of the ’70s.

Jodie Rosen Design

A superbly textured neutral shag is hot, stylish and modern in this area. No Brady Bunch here.

Rupal Mamtani

Wood Paneling

Not too long ago wood paneling has been a automatic rip-down. It had been dark and obsolete and cried “1970s rec room” Not so fast. Wood-paneled accent partitions are back. But this time they are lighter, often horizontal and real.

Jagoda Architecture

A horizontal wood accent wall.


The Malm Lancer that is freestanding fireplace. We had this in yellow. What I wouldn’t give for one now.

Wallpaper Collective

Rotary Phones

What was once an obsolete piece of technology is presently a retro design statement.

Palmerston Design Consultants

The old-fashioned kitchen-wall rotary phone looks charming and classic within this diverse white room.

Designer Wallcoverings And Fabrics

Madison Humphrey Dog Flocked Velvet Wallpaper

Flocked Wallpaper

Flocked wallpaper was the provenance of Elvis, Vegas and brothels. Tacky, tacky, tacky. Today’s new and frequently ironic designs have brought it all back. And actually, what is so wrong about a little velvety texture on the walls?

Graham & Brown

Marcel Wanders Forest Muses Wallpaper – $160

A flocked damask. This would look amazing in an accent wall in a modern bedroom.

Studio Marcelo Brito

Rattan, Baby

Remember the rattan fan-back chair? Well, it’s back.

And so are other groovy wicker and rattan iterations, such as these swinging chairs.

Applegate Tran Interiors

Avocado Green

Call it wasabi green if you want, but we know the truth. Avocado is back. Maybe not for appliances, but these kitchen cupboards are becoming awfully close.

Amy Lau Design

Avocado green and yellow in a guest room — very throwback and very modern.

kimberly peck architect


Again, what was once a rec room staple is currently a living room attribute. I can see why: They are so simple to move and so squishily comfy.

A white sheepskin beanbag in a modern diverse Eichler. Very posh.

More: Tour a Groovy ’70s Retro Pad in L.A.

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