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Literally the Best Thing Ever: Interior Design From the ’60s and ’70s

Like, who IS this person who felt they needed large plastic broccolis sticking up from their floor?

The same stellar art teacher who let me be a hermit in the corner of the art classroom with a stack of old National Geographics also let me be a hermit with a book called Underground Interiors: Decorating for Alternative Life Styles. Published in 1972, it’s chockfull of photos and words about fascinating people and their fascinating homes. Just look at these scans!

The colors! The furnishings! The general feeling of being on a spaceship designed by the Lucky Charms leprechaun! It just really makes you wonder about the people who live in these spaces. Like, who IS this person who felt they needed large plastic broccolis sticking up from their floor? Imagine the outstanding way the owner of that rainbow-ceilinged room must have stroked their outstanding beard when they decided they needed an outstanding rainbow ceiling! Et cetera.

I spent most of class looking at Interiors and not making any actual art, but I think it was good research and brain food and life inspiration. At the end of the year, upon his retirement, my teacher let me keep the book, and I like looking at it now to fondly remember how lazy I was as a student but how I got a pretty good idea of who I wanted to be: someone who wouldn’t actually ever have the dedication to commit to such wonderful design schemes but who would definitely think of themselves as sort of interesting enough to maybe do so one day. Which makes me less Actual Interesting Person and more Jeff Goldblum at Creepy Paul Simon’s house in Annie Hall, but I’m totally OK with that too.

THE POINT OF ALL THIS: colors are pretty and I like them. ♦

30 Comments

  • caro nation June 12th, 2012 11:12 PM

    Tavi………. I am……. I am the only teenage girl I know who is obsessed with midcentury interior design (particularly Charles and Ray Eames)……AUGH.

    I highly recommend the book PAD: The Guide To Ultra Living. To quote some reviewer, it’s Martha Stewart on acid.

    • breakfastpixie June 13th, 2012 3:07 AM

      You’re not the only one ;) I mean, I’m 23 now, but I’ve been into 50s, 60s and 70s design since I was 13 or something. And I was an avid collector of 60s clothes in my teens. Oh yeah, I still love the 60s :)

      x
      Sabrina
      http://apixiesviewonfashion.com

    • love_soup April 6th, 2013 9:53 PM

      ME TOO… me too :(

  • Tyknos93 June 12th, 2012 11:13 PM

    Aww so pretty! You know what else is cool? Urban Explorers. There a whole tag on Flickr and the series forgotten Detroit is amazing.
    http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/index.html

    It makes me imagine these old buildings in their prime and what it would be like to live there.

    http://blazoningpens.blogspot.com/

    • taste test June 12th, 2012 11:37 PM

      URBEX IS THE BEST. and thank you for that link, those photos are gorgeous. I agree that sometimes when I see photos of old buildings it makes me sad. even though they’re beautiful as they are, they were clearly really nice places before they were abandoned too.

      you also have to think, though, that if people stayed in them and kept maintaining them, they probably would have unwittingly renovated & redecorated some of the best parts away. abandoned buildings, on the other hand, stay as they were left. they’re like architectural time capsules.

      if you’re into real time capsules, though, you gotta check out japanese urbex (haikyo). it’s mindblowing. japanese buildings are usually concrete, so they don’t rot like wood buildings, and when japanese buildings are abandoned, the owners leave everything behind. seriously.

      • Tyknos93 June 13th, 2012 3:42 PM

        That site is so cool! How do people get into those places???
        I agree, there is something very melancholy about it. Most of these buildings get stripped, demolished or horribly refurbished. I wish they could be restored!

        http://blazoningpens.blogspot.com/

  • katrinaexplainsitall June 12th, 2012 11:43 PM

    That third picture omg with the window above the door. that is my future room. It’s official.

    http://www.katrinaspice.blogspot.com

  • Erica June 13th, 2012 12:29 AM

    OMG yes! this is for reals the best thing ever like YES! i dont even know how to type speak cause i love this post.

  • lyrarose June 13th, 2012 12:34 AM

    tacky color schemes, usually without regard to color theory, ugh. The furniture is nice I guess if you’re counting the glass bubble chairs that hung from ceilings.

  • Adrienne June 13th, 2012 12:47 AM

    I love this so much! More inspiration for decorating my room… which is sort of a mess now haha!

    http://theaverageasiangirl.blogspot.com

  • ToriLynne June 13th, 2012 1:48 AM

    Wowowowow!! I just love this! Future house will be this.
    xo, Tori
    http://daisiesandpixiedust.blogspot.com/

  • mayaautumn June 13th, 2012 2:52 AM

    ah nice stuff!

    • mayaautumn June 13th, 2012 2:55 AM

      huh? where did the rest of my comment go?
      oh well it was meant to say:
      i recently got a book on sixties style from the school library which features LOADS of cool interior design…it’s probably due back now, so thanks for reminding me.

      http://cottonmixblog.blogspot.com

  • Sonja June 13th, 2012 2:55 AM

    i need to borrow that book.

  • SpencerBowie June 13th, 2012 3:26 AM

    I love old furniture layouts and designs! The color pallets and paint schemes are so inspirational!

    I just want to lay on my lip shaped couch with a cocktail on a plastic hand coffee table under an original Andy Warhol of myself he gave me as a birthday gift. I just picked up Aladdin Sane by David Bowie and, in the middle of Lady Grinning Soul, I get a call from Liza to come right over to Studio 54. I say I simply couldn’t handle it tonight and start to try on the purchases I made at Big Biba!

    Life is good.

  • chloelrd June 13th, 2012 5:15 AM

    THIS POST IS EVERYTHING!!!!!! ANNIE HALL + 60′S/70′S DESIGN!? YES PLS!

    Thank you Tavi!

  • oharnoldlayne June 13th, 2012 8:52 AM

    I need this room http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2yizqYDuV1qcrbe9o1_500.jpg

    And I like the giant broccoli.

  • Lucy23 June 13th, 2012 9:06 AM

    OH MY GOD Tavi are you reading my mind??
    This is like, an ongoing joke between my mom and I. Like seriously.
    We were looking at apartments in NYC and there was this one that was like stepping back into the 70′s. There was a waterfall-wall thing, a huge blue couch that was designed in like a wave form, something that appeared to be an altar made of tupperware and a HUGE round portal lined with mirrors that led to the kitchen. It was like being insane.

    (Also, the bathroom mirror frame was made out of hundreds of pink feathers, but that was actually kind of neat)

  • Nomi June 13th, 2012 10:48 AM

    unf i love interior design of all ages. thanks so much for this article and to everyone who provided links in the comments ^_^

  • -alexandra- June 13th, 2012 11:26 AM

    Hey Tavi, this is neat-o!

    It sort of reminds of something that would be on your blog instead of Rookie, though. Still pretty cool.

  • katie_o June 13th, 2012 11:38 AM

    Tavi, I seriously thought I was the only person in the entire world who liked 60s and 70s home decor! I love this post ahhhhhh

  • teenager June 13th, 2012 2:26 PM

    you’ve hit the target of my depths of my heart, Tavi!!

    http://interstellarsuburbia.wordpress.com/

  • DrewNotBarrymore June 13th, 2012 4:48 PM

    This is beautiful! I love it. ^_^ Thank you, Tavi! <3
    Love,
    Drew

  • Emily Condon June 13th, 2012 7:18 PM

    I want to live in all those rooms so, so much.

  • BETHH June 15th, 2012 12:39 AM

    I found a 60′s interior design book at a yard sale once and I skipped off with a huge smile on my face because I’d never had the chance to explore an entire book dedicated to this stuff. I’d just watch “That 70′s Show” or “A Clockwork Orange” over and over to look at all the funky sets and vintage couches. Glad to know I have yet another shared interest with you, Rookie<3

  • kerrry June 18th, 2012 10:05 PM

    SOOO GOOOOD!!! more interior design posts plz!

  • elaineg159 June 27th, 2012 9:59 PM

    Its so colorful. I love the color combination you use. Better use also some A-19 Lighting too.

    Enjoy!

  • Livvy Brockhurst April 6th, 2013 2:15 PM

    My dad lived in a house in the late 70′s that had golden-brown and white shag carpet wallpaper. I just wish I’d been there to see it.