Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Friday, November 5, 2010 5:33 PM EDT
Maybe it's the cold rolling in that makes me blog the '70s today, because that fabulously vapid decade will forever be cast in a warm glow for me...(I was but a babe then, so no real idea what I'm talking about.)
No matter. I know the '70s are not known for being a decade of elegance (sorry about the photo but nothing says elegance like a naked Burt), but in our post-modern times, where everything is referential and ironic, the bawdy ugliness of the '70s has become the ultimate boon of style.
The key is not to over-do it. Use '70s decor as you would salt and pepper: just enough to show you have a sense of humour, but not so much that no one is laughing with you... The easiest way to do this is with colour -- namely orange, pea-soup green and brown -- as well as with saucy tactile materials, the names of which as soon as you say out loud, you know could not have come out of any other era: corduroy and velour.
Here are 5 ways colour and texture can stir up some '70s in your decor...
Many of the pieces featured in this living room are indeed '70s icons, but they're counterbalanced and hence updated with stripped down walls -- no crazy metallic wallpaper -- and tone-on-tone colour scheme. Though, of course, the tone-on-tone conveniently welcomes a beige velour sofa in that super '70s shape, with those brown velour throw pillows -- I give that sofa at least two lounging Burts out of five (not too terribly campy.)
I don't actually know how an 'aristocrat' lives, but those ceilings and windows make me think old money. Something else to note is how this subtly differs from the style directly above -- here, though all the furniture shapes represented can be traced back to the '70s, they're all from different 'looks'. There's the granny chair on the left, the Asian glam side table, the modern teak dinning set and of course, the gorgeous burnt orange settee. Though eclectic, the overall effect is still '70s-esque. Only, for rich people. I give this one, one reclining Burt (he wouldn't be happy here.)
...that the world has moved on. I mean, this would totally be unacceptable if not for the masterful downplaying of the overall effect. It's almost too literal an interpretation, but then, it's like the designer pulled the 'intense' right out of it. And who couldn't love that avocado wide wale corduroy? I give this one 4 1/2 lounging Burts out of 5 -- 5, and you've officially lost the irony. (Not sure what a half-Burt may look like...)
Fyi, this is the best sofa ever. They're not ubiquitous, but they're around. Scour Kijiji, Craigslist, and your local thrift shops, and maybe you'll be lucky to find someone who didn't know they had the best sofa ever, so they gave it away. It's brown corduroy, it's got a polished brass frame and it's modular. Burt LOVES this sofa. Off the charts.
To everything there is a Euro version. Here is an example of seemingly all the elements of a '70s lounger -- the colours, the wide wale corduroy, the low, box-cushion form -- but made all 'funky' and 'modern' by uber-upscale Euro sofa house, Roche Bobois. I like it, but not sure if Burt does... Though he can't put his finger on why.
All kidding aside, the '70s are very much in right now. Got any velour, corduroy or pea-soup green and burnt orange? Will you be looking for some?
How do you feel about this trend? On a scale of 1 to 5 Burts, 5 meaning you really, really like it, let us know!