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Rewind Design: Tips and Color Schemes For ‘70s and ‘80s Inspired Design

Design Trends

From Better Homes and Gardens to The Spruce, design industry insiders have highlighted 1970s and 1980s aesthetics as design trends for a while now. Move over Mad Men Mid-century design! It’s time to give all things funky, gaudy, and post-modern a 21st-century spin. With that in mind, and of course a little inspiration from some of our favorite Dunn-Edwards collaborators, we’re reflecting on the colors, textures, and materials ideal for cultivating a look that feels both familiar and new. Here are some helpful tips and color schemes for 1970s and 1980s inspired designs:

Moody 1970s Color Palette

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It’s hard to envision a 1970s-inspired color palette without oranges, greens, and yellows. With fall on the horizon, take a refined twist on these classic tones and give this ‘70s palette a moody makeover with Alameda Ochre (DET482); Navy Teal (DE5832); Dill Pickle (DE5573); and Sweet Potato (DE5201).

Rattan & Woven Materials

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Photo Credit: BETHANY NAUERT PHOTOGRAPHY


Take a page out of 6th and Detroit founder Michelle Qazi’s handbook and instantly lend ‘70s style to your space by layering in rattan or wicker furniture. Because these iconic vintage pieces are woven, they add texture and interest to a space and make it instantly identifiable with a 1970s vibe.

Tangy, Neon 1980s Color Palette

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Create a 1980s inspired color palette in your space by borrowing colors from Retrouvailles, one of our 2022 color + design trend stories. While Retrouvailles is all about upbeat, casual environments and a folkloric revival, many of these colors also bring to mind bright, fun-loving colors seen in everything from 1980s workout wear to Trapper Keeper school binders. We’ve curated a custom palette above with some tones from Retrouvailles and a few other 1980s-inspired faves.

Brass

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This material is no wallflower. Brass is bold and will always make a statement just like the any other key signature piece from a design era. This piece plays well in a design scheme of either decade. While it was often a key finishing for bedroom furniture of the 1980s, frequent Dunn-Edwards collaborator, Claire Thomas, actually curated a quintessentially 1970s-esque space with a touch of shag, a hint of brown, and a pinch of brass. Follow her lead and incorporate brass furniture of your own to rewind your design.

Looking for more era-specific design inspiration? Explore the world of cottagecore for a simpler, agrarian- inspired design aesthetic. Or explore historic architecture like the Bidwell Mansion, which helped inspired our Dunn-Edwards Then, Now, and Forever® collection.