25 Bold Examples of 70s Maximalism

The 1970s were a tumultuous time. We were breaking free from the stuffy traditions of the past and blazing our own trail, embracing boldness and excess in all aspects of life. That included our home decor. Home decor was all about 70s maximalism – think big, bold, and over-the-top, with daring patterns that were anything but conventional. This revolutionary style broke all the rules and set the stage for today’s maximalist trend.

So, are you ready to take a walk on the wild side and explore 25 of the best examples of 70s maximalism? Buckle up because some designs are still too daring for your home!

1

Let’s Take that Wallpaper Up to the Ceiling!

70s maximalism - wallpaper going up to the ceiling

The 70s were a time of excess in all things, including using patterns. This geometric print might be ok in small doses, but here it’s being used on the pillow shame, the chair cushions, the wall, and to the top of the pitched roof of the ceiling.

We’ll see lots of the “one pattern, many uses” look in this post, but this one gives off a little “cabin in the woods” energy. Love the built-in desk, though!

2

A Little Bit Floral, A Little Bit Mod

70s bedroom - pink floral curtains with pink solid sheets and pink and black geometric pattern

This bedroom still needs to figure out the vibe it’s going for. The bold geometric print and bright solid pink just don’t fit with the dainty florals of the curtains and pillow shams. The dark red rug is another – interesting – choice. And I’m not sold on the “no bedspread” look. There’s a reason that trend didn’t catch on.

3

Redrum

70s bedroom decorated entirely in red and gold

Now, here’s a bedroom that’s figured out its vibe! And that vibe is murder. If you’ve ever longed to sleep in a room awash in blood, here’s your inspiration piece.

Another excellent example of the 70s attitude of “love this pattern, so I’m going to use it everywhere,” this bedroom features a flocked velvet pattern on the headboard, bedspread, walls, chair, and curtains. We can’t see the ceiling in this photo, but I will bet it’s red.

4

Definitely Not Haunted

70s bed room decorated entirely in black and white print

Don’t you want to spend the night in this cozy bedroom? The black and white paisley print is lovely, and someone sure adores it, right? They loved it enough to spend hours stapling it to the walls and covering the bed and the bedside chair. I find it restful, not creepy at all. And it would be soothing to sleep under the watchful eye of this lovely portrait of a woman who is definitely not a ghost.

5

This is BANANAS

70s bedroom decorated with black and white checked pattern and yellow solid fabric

This room is so close to being a room that could be used today. Still, using the same pattern on most of the furnishings broken up only by the bold yellow and the oddly formal furniture makes the room feel too sterile and flat. The caption in my decorating book said this was a room for a teenager. I don’t recall knowing many teenagers in the 70s with business phones, complete with message lights, in their bedrooms. Lucky kid!  

6

Your Aunt’s Bedroom

70s bedroom decorated in blue floral pattern

We all had a relative with this exact bedroom in the 70s, didn’t we? She knew how to sew, got a deal on some fabric, and went to town using it. For. Every. Single. Thing. The curtains. The blinds. The chairs. The cushions. The bedspread.

Your relative grew up during the Depression, and she knew how to make a dollar stretch. I bet she made great pie too.

7

Mix and Match Taken a Bit Too Far

70s dining room decorated in mixed blue patterns

If there was one defining element of 70s design trends, it was enthusiasm. When we embraced a trend, we went all the way. The opposite of the “one pattern, everywhere” design trend would be the “no pattern the same, anywhere” trend, and this dining room is a textbook example of the aesthetic. Why reuse just one pattern when you can make yourself dizzy with five different patterns?

I actually don’t hate this dining room. It has a sweet feel to it. In fact, I’d add a patterned tablecloth. Let’s take this as far as we can, people!

8

All the Trends in One Room

70s sitting room decorated in green patterns and textures

This room has a lot going on, but it’s not just patterns this time. This time, we’re throwing in all the 70s design trends. Flocked velvet wall covering in a bright color? Check. Bold print couch? Gotcha. Shag carpeting? Gotta have that. Room divider? Really should have a vaguely Asian style, but you tried. Glass and brass accent piece? Wouldn’t be a 70s room without one. Giant plant? Of course!

I am shocked, however, by the picture over the sofa, which doesn’t go with the rest of the room. This room is crying out for a giant colorful abstract art piece. I guess they didn’t want to cover up that lovely wall covering.

9

Nature Inspired, But Also, Not

70s bedroom decorated with bright green paint and bright green prints

Nature was a big inspiration for this room, but it was interpreted in the most 70s home decor way possible. In this room, being inspired by nature meant something other than using earth tones or soothing vistas. It meant incorporating bright green prints, shag carpeting that felt like grass, rattan furniture, and, of course, elephants.

I think this is a guest bedroom, so I guess that’s a day bed? Let me know in the comments if you know anything about this piece!

10

Playboy Mansion in the Suburbs

70s bedroom with pink wallpaper and fur bedspread

One of the most fun elements of 70s maximalism is that even the most proper homes frequently seemed to have some trashy Playboy mansion design elements. Take this bedroom, for example – it’s the perfect example of the uniquely 70s aesthetic. From the pink-flocked velvet wall coverings to the shaggy pink carpeting and white fur bedspread, this room screams strip mall bordello, and yet, it could have been your friend’s mom’s bedroom.

You have to admit; there’s something undeniably fun and adventurous about embracing this home decor style.

11

Why, Yes, that is a Vinyl Bedspread

70s bedroom with blue vinyl bedspread

Here’s another secretly sexy bedroom. This couple went out and about their daily lives looking like regular folks, and meanwhile, they came home every night to a bedroom decorated in vinyl. What other secrets did they have?

12

It was … a Different Time

70s bedroom with pink lace

I found this picture in the April 1972 Better Homes & Gardens. This is a bedroom a Florida mother designed for her six-year-old daughter. I’m trying to come up with words to describe the room, so I’ll use the words of perhaps the very first Florida woman: “It’s an old custom–pink for girls and blue for boys–and in our family, it still works.”

Perhaps the six-year-old daughter did her schoolwork at the very business-like desk with the pink phone with multiple phone lines.

13

The Ultimate Bachelor Pad

70s bachelor pad living room

The polar opposite of our shocking pink little girl’s room must be this living room for a swinging 70s bachelor pad. It’s filled with manly patterns in manly colors using manly textures. I can picture our swinging bachelor sitting in his dressing gown with his brandy snifter on the couch. Stay back, ladies!

14

Swinging Victoria

70s victorian style room

I wouldn’t want this look in my dining room, but I greatly respect this 70s take on classic Victorian Decor. You’ve got your dainty elements and floral patterns of classic Victoriana. However, the color scheme is pure 70s earth tones with rust and gold predominating. You knew what the year was as soon as you entered this dining room.

15

Fainting Room

70s cabbage rose alcove

This little nook is another 70s take on Victorian decor. It’s become a cozy niche for napping and, perhaps, catching up with your favorite Edgar Allan Poe short story.

This is a classic example of 70s maximalism in action. The giant floral print would be effective in small doses, but used here, it makes the viewer feel claustrophobic.

Looking at this, I feel like a character in the classic Poe short story “The Cask of Amontillado.”

16

This Literally Hurts My Eyes

70s small checkerboard pattern

Did you know that some people suffer from a condition known as “oscillopsia” where small tight patterns (like a very close checkerboard pattern used all over a room) appear to shimmer and vibrate? The condition can even bring on migraines.

If you suspect you might have this condition, try looking at this picture, and you’ll know. Can you imagine having this in your home? It does make me feel slightly nauseous.

17

Could Have Done More

70s print bedroom

This time I’m criticizing the effort for not going far enough. You’ve got the fabric on the walls, the bed, and the curtains. Then, you brought in the complementary material in the chair.

But then you stopped? Commit to the effort! I want to see those beds covered in pillows with the fabric from the chair! I want to see a shag carpet on the floor! We can work in a fur throw somehow. Step up the effort!

18

This is True Commitment

70s purple bedroom

Interestingly, some of the most over-the-top examples of 70s maximalism I’ve seen are bedroom ideas. I suppose we feel most free to express who we truly are in our bedroom.

This bedroom has tons of personality. The giant patterned canopy matches the carpeting and wallpaper, and the white accent pieces lighten up the heavy use of purple.

I’m assuming this is a teenager’s room because it features something I would have killed for as a teen: their very own princess phone! So jealous.

19

No Notes

70s orange wallpaper bedroom

I wouldn’t change a thing about this room. The wallpaper is – chef’s kiss, and the bed and rug are wisely kept neutral not to overwhelm the wallpaper.

You can’t quite see the chair in this picture, but it looks like a mid-century modern piece we would all kill to have in our homes today, just like the cube coffee table.
I even like the picture on the wall; it perfectly fits the room’s vibe. 10/10.

20

Sunny Days

70s sunny yellow bedroom

I love when you can look at a room and picture who it belongs to. I imagine the woman who uses this room is a short, stylish 70-year-old woman with a severe bob haircut and an incredibly chic wardrobe. She loves the arts (hence the paintings and accessories).

She uses this room as her office for the various charities she supports. She spends her days corresponding with multiple people at her writing desk. And she has a bright and sunny personality, so she needs a happy room like this to match her mood. I’m in love with her, and I love this room.

21

This Kitchen Feels Like Home

70s kitchen with bamboo furniture

Every detail in this breakfast nook has been designed to feel welcoming and homey. I’m not usually a fan of carpet in the kitchen, but it works here with the curtains and the bench cushions. Can’t you picture sitting at the table after dinner and having a heart-to-heart with your mom with some coffee and a piece of pie?

22

This Room is Fire

70s red mural living room

This room is the epitome of 70s pop art maximalist decor, with its bold use of color and graphic patterns. Every element in this room is designed to make a statement, from the striking orange shag carpet to the space-age style lamp.

But the real showstopper is the fiery wavy mural on the wall, a true pop art masterpiece. This maximalist wonderland is the ultimate choice if you’re looking for a room that captures the daring and expressive spirit of the 70s.

23

When Compromise Goes Too Far

70s blue bedroom with shag carpeting

I found this picture in the April 1971 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. The caption described the room as a way to please both the masculine and feminine sensibilities of the man and wife this bedroom was designed for. The pattern of the bedspread and shades pleased the man and the woman, so that was the featured element.

The wall color and the leather chair were the masculine elements, and the shag carpeting and the fur throw were the feminine elements because they were soft, get it? The 70s were all about those gender roles.

24

When Too Much is Just Right

70s red and blue living room

In the 1970s, expressing yourself with eclectic maximalism was the way to go. The bigger and bolder, the better. These days, we might want to balance the giant red and blue patterned sectional that dominates this room with neutral decor elements. But not in the 70s! Instead, the homeowner added a striped red and blue wallpaper that complements the sectional. The atomic age lighting elements, red lacquered furniture, and shag rug add even more boldness to the space.

24

Thanks for Stopping By, Have a Seat on the Bed

70s living room with bed on a chain

This picture came from House & Gardens Complete Guide to Interior Decoration, a book full of unique room designs, including this classic example of the 70s “Playboy mansion in the suburbs” style: a bed hanging from chains, covered in chains, fur, in the living room. I don’t know why that didn’t catch on more widely.

Other than the fur-covered bed in the middle of the room, this is a pretty conventional room that–with a few updates–would be considered quite stylish today. I would personally kill for those built-in bookshelves and those large art pieces.

From shag carpets and space-age lamps to bold patterns and vibrant colors, the 70s was about making a statement and expressing oneself through interior design. While some of these maximalist designs may not be for everyone, they can inspire us to be more daring and playful in our own homes. So, which of these designs would you incorporate ino your own decor? Let us know in the comments!

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