Furniture from the seventies was bigger and chunkier than furniture from the 60s. Teak was still the favourite wood throughout the decade, although pine was getting an increasingly strong middle class following. Autumn colours were in vogue: browns, beiges and oatmeal. Striped upholstery fabric was popular.
The seventies had its share of fads. Chrome plated tubular steel furniture had a brief period of being the latest thing. Towards the end of the decade, cane and rattan furniture started to gain a small following. Both this and pine were much bigger in the following two decades.
The seventies was still a decade when modern was the favourite look. There was little attempt to recreate the past, although in a decade of contradictions, reproduction furniture had a growing niche following.
Teak with a new look
All furniture in the 70s had a chunkier feel to that of the 60s. The public's love affair with teak showed no sign of ending. This dining set (left) is from 1971. It shows the increasing trend for storage furniture. This was an innovation in the 50s and 60s, but this type of furniture became standard in many homes in the 70s.
Arm chairs and sofas in the 70s were fatter. The colours of autumn were the colours of choice. Browns, golds and oatmeals were popular. The typical 70s chair had large padded sausage-shaped arms.
People wanting a modern look chose chrome plated tubular steel in the 70s. At the beginning of the decade chairs like these (left) were the height of fashion. By the end of the 70s they were available in every discount warehouse.
Pine furniture in the 70s
In complete contrast to tubular steel, pine had a country cottage homeliness, which tuned in well with the seventies' interest in ancient crafts and discovering the lost past.
Pine furniture was a niche market in the 60s. Terence Conran introduced pine in the first Habitat shops in 1964. His "Summa" range was available by mail order and in some exclusive shops even before then.
Ercol was one of the first of the major manufacturers to introduce a pine range.
In the seventies, the popularity of pine steadily grew. Even then it still had a mainly middle class following. The pine dresser, right, became a must-have accessory for every aspiring middle class housewife by the end of the 70s.
By Steven Braggs