Retina-burning color schemes, shag carpeting you could lose a small child in, and wall art with demonic influence... Such was the decor of the 70s. Here at The Thrift Shop Romantic, I always say you can learn a lot from the past. And in this case, it's sort of like learning from the lessons of World War II-- we need to understand what happened, so it never, ever happens again.
To be honest, the books that I'm about to show you did have some fairly liveable rooms in them. Rooms with, perhaps, trendy colors of the time, or with a distinctive 70s feel to them, but they were still rooms that were comfortable. Practical. The Everyhouse.
Then there are the ones I'll highlight today.
Open up the Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, and one of the first lessons you get is on color...
This is what chicken pox would look like if it were interpreted as a living room. The book tells us:
"Warm colors, the tangy tones of sun and earth, bring vitality and light to shadowy rooms. Red, yellow and orange, set against subtle wood and grass cloth sufraces, make this room bright, alive and exciting."
I'm not exactly sure where the grass cloth surfaces are here, but maybe it's just the vibrating glare that's caused me to miss them. All I see is a color scheme which makes a McDonald's play area look "restrained" and "understated." Note the lonely animal print pillow on the couch, echoing the circles in the wall art. It's like a poor leopard kitten got lost in the middle of the Mojave desert at sunset. And it's frightened.
Next we have our first example of questionable artwork...
The book reads as follows:
"Mushroom stools alternate lively hues in this scheme. When you choose cool colors like this, it's a good idea to warm them a bit with a touch of color from the sunny side of the spectrum."
Which is apparently where the malevolent, man-eating lion yarn-art in argyle comes in. Somehow the sly, hungry look on its face doesn't convey "sun" and warm good cheer to me.
Note how the narrowness of the ledge makes it impossible for it to be used for actual.. oh... sitting. Or leaning... And the stools are so high up under it, you probably couldn't get your legs under the ledge, anyway. Impractical AND mystifying.... just what the modern 70s woman looks for in decor!
Well, let's move onto the kiddies' room.
Here the caption reads:
"For the nursery set, but especially for the mother, this room is delightfully fresh."Fresh, and already inhabited by trolls, it seems. Look- there's one now, coming to steal the baby away to their daisy-covered mound!...
Look at the expression on that doll's face. Any child growing up in this room is going to need serious therapy. And possibly allergy shots. I wonder what the color of that fabric is, "Pollen 109"? And dig that kelly green paint on the antique rocker. Yes, indeed, the Victorians were really big on woodwork the color of a billiard table, let me tell ya.
Well, maybe you're looking for new ideas for a zingy livingroom scheme. How about bringing your guests here?...
This room has it all. Orange, hot pink, lime green, florals and stripes... Won't your best chums Alice and Peggy just think this is to DIE FOR? Especially that wall art! Let's get a closer look at that, shall we?
Nothing says cutting-edge decor and good taste like a cartoon marker drawing of a sad, sad child. It's just one of those pieces that you never get tired of looking at.
And then there's this example of a den.
The caption urges us to look at the "striking window treatment," but me, I can't take my eyes off that carpet of dried tobbaccy. You can't even see where the chair meets the floor, the weeds are so high. Wait a moment, I'll get my push mower and be right back.
Ah, but even more treasures await in Creative Decorating on a Budget:
This book is after my own heart-- demonstrating creative ways to make your home look expensive without spending a lot of money. And how do they suggest we do that? Well, one way is here...
In the section "Furniture Flair at a Fraction of the Cost," they tell us the secret to the, er, successful room above:
"For table-top, cut a 60-inch circle out of a table tennis top: use leftover wood for shelf of serving buffet. Set table top on a 2-foot chimney flue liner and support with iron brackets. Cover laminated plastic."
Okay, so let me get this straight. You can't afford a table. So you buy a TABLE-TENNIS TABLE and cut a huge circle out of it. And also buy a chimney flue liner. And brackets. So, er, HOW is this cheaper?
Presumably if you already have a table tennis table, little Timmy and Susie are going to be pretty disappointed when they decide to renact Chris Everett or John McInroe's last match, and they're missing a giant sphere out of the center. And I'd be taking bets on who the first guest would be to fall off those wicker tuffets. I'm putting my money on Great-Aunt Celia after her third Pink Squirrel.
Lastly, we have a hand-made headboard, designed to bring us many nights of restful slumber...
Okay, I'm not resting. Is it just me or does this headboard look... violent? Like eventually there will be heads on those pikes?
Well, with visions of the Elizabethan justice system, that pretty much wraps up this Sunday's post.
- If you haven't already, check out last Treasure Box Wednesday, and some goodies from Ireland...
- And if ya have an extra moment, you might also get a laugh from the humor post on my other blog, Of Cabbages and Kings, where I relay the tale of a trip to Canada, and how I ended up surrounded by Mounties and with only one shoe. Click here for that.
Happy Spring to you, my friends! See you again soon.