Get the look: 1970s retro revival interior design and lighting


Glam rock! Disco! Outrageous colour combinations! 1970s retro is all about exuberant self-expression – but also warmth, conviviality and fun. Here’s how to get the look in your home – and why lighting is the key.

Glamming it up is back – and Pooky has a 70s-tastic new collection of retro revival lights to prove it. Time to dust off those Bowie LPs, wrap yourself in a bright pink feather boa and bring some serious fun back into your interior scheme…

1. Express yourself with layers of colour

One reason for the retro revival trend might be that, for quite a long time now, neutrals have dominated interior design: whites, beiges and greys, with perhaps  the odd colour pop for visual variety.

But 1970s style was all about liberation, exaggeration and exuberant self-expression. So even if you don’t love the classic 70s colours (think mustard, burgundy, burnt orange and lime green) you can take that spirit and apply it with the hues you do love. Think of it this way: rather than adding bits of colour to a neutral canvas, build up whole layers of vibrant colour and pattern and keep building, one on top of the other.

How to light it:
Marbled paper lampshades are a splendid way to bring pattern and colour into your room – as are unusual table lamps in resin or glass. But for a bona fide 70s blockbuster, how about a chandelier in pink glass?

pink oldfield
Larger Oldfield chandelier in pink glass

2. Warm, comforting materials

Spock chandelier in brass finish with clear acrylicAbove and top: the Spock chandelier - spectactular, and with a warm brass finish

The design schemes of the 1970s were warm, reassuring, with lots of soft and velvety textures. Go for wooden cabinetry – there are loads of fab secondhand midcentury pieces out there, from side tables to drinks cabinets to coffee tables, waiting to be picked up – and lots of lovely bronze or brushed brass to create the feel.

How to light it:
Buttery, antiqued brass wall lights are perfect to pair with wooden cabinets, leather seats and other warm materials. 

gustav wall lightGustav gustav wall light in aged brass and bronze finish

3. Gorgeous geometry

From ercol furniture to Arne Jacobsen’s egg chair, mid-century modernist designers put a lot of emphasis on geometrical beauty. In the 1970s designers built on this with more colour and curves. This could go a little crazy (check out Frank Gehry’s 1972 Wiggle Side Chair, for example), but by thinking about shape, line and curve when you furnish a room you can find a fun retro look that’s nonetheless stylish, elegant and timeless.

How to light it
Choose pendants and wall lights with curves that please your eye. The Tom chandelier is a real slice of elegant mid-century chic: we put a huge amount of work into its geometry: tight lines, sharp angles and, for contrast, six glowing glass balls.

Tom chandelier in black and brushed gold

4. Lay out and light spaces for conversation, intimacy and fun

Perhaps the archetypal 1970s interior innovation was the ‘conversation pit’, a recessed area for guests to lounge about on banquette sofas, drink Babychams and chat the night away:

conversation pitA classic 70s-style conversation pit. Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Now, you might not have a burning desire to dig a pit in the middle of your sitting room, but you can create that 70s vibe of conviviality, conversation and in other ways. Try rearranging your seating with face-to-face interaction in mind, and have plenty of soft mood lighting options so that your family and friends look beautiful and feel confident when they settle on the sofa.

How to light it:
A chandelier hung low over a dining table is the stylish way to create an intimate atmosphere, and is a conversation-starter in its own right...

asct chandelier
Ascot three armed chandelier in black

5. Disco balls!

True, Bowie, punk and Led Zep might have been cooler, but the 1970s was also the era of the disco…Which means guilt-free glitz and shameless showing off!

So if you’re a kitchen disco kind of household, why not make it official, with a big, glittery, glamorous ball chandelier? That’s next-level 70s retro…

xenon ball chandelierXenon ball chandelier in nickel and glass


Feeling inspired? Feast your eyes on Pooky's full 1970s-style retro revival lighting collection here.