Looking for sleek, classy, non-tacky interior design inspiration from the 1970's.
December 15, 2010 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Looking for sleek, classy, non-tacky interior design inspiration from the 1970's.

I am moving from a studio to an apartment with actual separate rooms soon(!) and am ecstatic at the thought of being able to create an actual design scheme (the fact that I've recently started an interior design program doesn't hurt either!)

I have a vague idea of what I want to go for but I can't quite fill it out in my head.

First, I finally inherited a piece of collector's art from my mom that I coveted for years; you can see it here*. (For anyone that doesn't know, Chez Panisse is a very hip, famous restaurant in Berkeley and basically the birth of California cuisine). Anyway, it's from 1973 so I kind of want to shoot for that.

Also, when I was little we had a really amazing giant arc lamp that was kind of 70's-ish too so I'd like to incorporate something like that as well (similar to this).

I think "1970's design" prompts horrible images in most people's heads, but I just know there is a way to make it look cool. I want to avoid the whole neon thing (I associate that more with 60's anyway but maybe it's just me)--going for more of a muted palette. I've tried to look to period films for inspiration--"Blow" had some good ideas, as did "Boogie Nights" (although I'm trying to avoid the whole Asian motif that was popular back then--nothing wrong with it, just not for me).

Design websites with an emphasis on the historical would be awesome (I've pored over my usual go-to blogs and such but haven't found anything yet)--as would pointing me in the direction of more 70's-era movies that maybe I haven't thought of/seen....Really, anything. I've tried Googling stuff but haven't had much luck. Thanks in advance--let me know if you need more info!

*This particular piece is actually sort of in the Arts & Crafts style, which followed, and was inspired by, the Art Noveau movement (my favorite!!) so if anyone can find something that melds A&C/AN AND the 1970's you will get 10,000 bonus points!!
posted by lovableiago to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The Arts & Crafts movement in design and architecture came before Art Nouveau, not after.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:14 PM on December 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your poster is not very 70s. Actually seems to have more in common with Frank Lloyd Wright designs and interiors, like this one and these examples.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:16 PM on December 15, 2010

Response by poster: Right, and FLW is associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. I agree it's not 1970's by definition (whatever that may be--I think that is what I am trying to figure out) but it is authentically FROM the 70's, so that's why I want to go that direction....
posted by lovableiago at 4:18 PM on December 15, 2010

Best answer: The set design at the beginning of the film adaption of Running With Scissors might be good inspiration. Here are some small photos, and there's a pirated clip on YouTube here. Kind of a well-edited, academic-artsy feel. The set designer used a lot of bright yellow, but you could use something more subtle easily.
posted by oinopaponton at 4:46 PM on December 15, 2010

"Mid Century Modern" doesn't fit your poster, but it fits the lamp. Try the Mid Century Modernist
posted by bitdamaged at 4:47 PM on December 15, 2010

woops link:

posted by bitdamaged at 4:48 PM on December 15, 2010

I have always liked Halston's house as far as 1970s design goes.
posted by Tchad at 4:55 PM on December 15, 2010

You definitely want a copy of The Apartment Book. I think I grok exactly what you are going for, and promise you will be thrilled by the chrome lamps, dark brown sofas, and great posters of "The Apartment Book." Quite wonderful. The dust jacket looks a bit unexciting but I promise it is crammed with lush photographs of retro goodness; I am a 70s kid and that stuff has a real hold over me, and I keep the book just to page through and get a nostalgia rush. It looks like there was a "New," updated version of the book; make sure you get the old one.

(On preview: it has lots of the aesthetic in Tchad's link. It even tells you how to cover stuff in grey ultrasuede and chrome automotive trim!)
posted by kmennie at 4:58 PM on December 15, 2010

Best answer: Check out the retro tag on Desire to Inspire. It's not all 70's but many of the pics are scans from 1970's interior design books/magazines.
posted by grapesaresour at 5:01 PM on December 15, 2010

Phaidon published a good biography of Halston that is full of high-end 1970's images like that - including both pics of his townhouse and the offices in the Olympic Towers.

There is a book called High Tech that was published from around 1978 to 1980-ish that is about the edgier late 1970's look that bleeds a bit into the 1980's. It is more industrial, but could help you bridge the looks.
posted by Tchad at 5:13 PM on December 15, 2010

I think the poster is more Charles Rennie Mackintosh/Glasgow style than arts and crafts maybe? Looks like Glasgow roses to me. If it were me I'd try to fudge the Glasgow style/art deco gap and I'd go 70s art deco revival with this, particularly with your lamp in mind - which is something that I thought I'd find much easier to find examples of on the interwebs than in fact I have. Where the 20s/30s and the 70s overlap (seems to me, wasn't around for either!) is in the love for the shiny and chromy and tubular and mirrored. Makes me think of Biba

So you'd be looking for Eileen Gray-type chrome things that would tie in with your lamp, but also you need to put quite a lot of texture into the room if you do want to keep it seventies-y - if sheepskin rugs strike terror into your heart you could have very furry cushions perhaps?
posted by calico at 5:23 PM on December 15, 2010

You might find inspiration in the design work of David Hicks. He was a designer in the sixties and seventies.
posted by Fairchild at 7:19 PM on December 15, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone! This is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.
posted by lovableiago at 8:00 PM on December 15, 2010

If you're still thinking 70's, I'd look to Woody Allen films for inspiration. His protagonists - and especially his female leads - always tend to live in fabulous New York apartments which are idiosyncratically decorated, either in the height of chic 70's design or a more proto-eclectic style which incorporates some of the cultural touchpoints of that period.

Interiors might be a good place to start, though it's a little later than your print.
posted by Sara C. at 9:14 PM on December 15, 2010

Your poster draws heavily from the Art Nouveau movement from turn of the century Europe. It had a huge resurgence in the late 60's-early 70's especially among those into the Arts And Crafts movement and Tolkien fans (they dug the lettering). That style is still prominent in old-hippie handouts like Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

(typed this on my phone, can't preview--wish me luck)
posted by sourwookie at 10:20 PM on December 15, 2010

Damn. Didn't make it to the end of your question. How embarrassing.
posted by sourwookie at 10:21 PM on December 15, 2010

You want to know more about David Lance Goines. He did all the posters for Chez Panisse.
posted by b33j at 11:45 PM on December 15, 2010

70s interior design always makes me think of the interior sets of sci-fi movies of that time period, like 2001 and Soylent Green (well, at least the rich people's apartments). Curvilinear furniture, lots of white, Arne Jacobsen (even though he designed most of this in the late 50s).

calico's link to the Biba post and talk of the 1970's Art Deco revival make me think of the movie Blade Runner's production design. It was made in the early 80s, but still retains some of that louche, dissipated space age style mixed with late 40s deco noir.
posted by clerestory at 12:17 AM on December 16, 2010

Unfinished dark wood
posted by clorox at 5:08 AM on December 16, 2010

Try grain edit, it's a design blog which is "focused on classic design work from the 1950s-1970s", I often find plenty of inspiration there.
posted by greenfelttip at 5:41 AM on December 16, 2010

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