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
"Hi would you know where I might be able to buy a Gplan footstool to go with 'The most comfortable chair in the world'?
I have tried GPlan vintage but they will only sell the leather upholstered. I wanted to have it upholstered myself to match the chair.
Thanks Caroline" Caroline Anthony 28/01/2014
I would start by looking on eBay, but you might need to be patient and wait for one to come along." steven 29/01/2014
"No mention of the Parker Knoll recliner that was big business during the 70s driven by extensive TV advertising. Very much a male purchase. £500 in the 70s!" Andrew Wighton 04/12/2014
"See my article on Parker Knoll." Steven 06/12/2014
"Hi there I am at a total loss to find a value for my late father's dining suite. It is made of teak and was bought approx. 1973. An oval table that extends to seat 6(?) sadly now only 5 chairs with original seats and quaker sytle backs. A sideboard with 3 drawers, one cupboard and drinks cupboard. I have no idea on this at all, can you help me?" emma warner 20/01/2015
"Hi I have an old parker knoll brown retro suite.3 1 1 .2 armchairs are rockers.what is this worth.some rates on it.can it be repaired" Pauline 11/09/2015
"please help, getting desperate, I have a beautifull large rosewood colour original Gplan dining table, I cant seem to sell it,for something that is in fashion all I get is too big, its not pine and will you take £5,it seats 6-8 closed, has central extension 6 original dining chairs and still has the sticker attached, thought to be 1970's or early 80's lovingly looked after,breaking my heart to sell but we move abroad in 6 weeks," carol drake 14/09/2015
"I have a vono sofa bed and would like to find more info. Any good sources to recommend or any sites which may have a list showing photos? Thanks" Steve Hancox 24/01/2016
"Hi I have a circular dining table, extendable, and 4 chairs original 1970's G-Plan along with sideboard, please see pics - I wish to sell on to either a furhiture restorer or buyer as both in very good condition - open to offers. (Live in North East of England).
Many thanks, Sally" Sally Hardman 04/11/2016
"We have a complete leather set in rosewood from the 70's. The furniture is is mint condition. I am looking to sell. Where do you recommend I list it. Thank you!" Deb 04/03/2017
"I HAVE A G-PLAN DRESSING TABLE AND UPHOLSTERED STOOL.
ALSO A NATHAN? TEAK SIDEBOARD AND COFFEE TABLE.
IN alton hampshire" JUNE THOMPSON 13/09/2018
"Hi - we have a 70's freestanding wall unit on casters - it has a sliding glass compartment - a drop down door compartment shelving and two sliding door cabinet underneath - need sell it - Dudley area. It has been painted, but would strip down back to wood." Ali Banner 16/02/2019
"Hi - I have a G Plan Montage 6 piece dining suite (table 4 chairs and buffet/sideboard unit)teak finish. The table extends to seat 6/8 Purchased in 1978 it is now too big for us - need to sell it - Wales /Shropshire border area." Kathleen Offord 12/06/2019