Any millennial has likely been indoctrinated by their parents on the horrors of 70’s fashion and design sensibilities. “Could those parachute pants be any more hideous?” or “That yellow wallpaper has to go” were common expressions from 70’s children who wanted to make sure their sense of cool was not passed down to their millennial children.
However, now that their grandchildren are starting to make their mark in the world, those outlandish 70’s trends are not so outlandish anymore. We are starting to see bold textures, earthy tones, and intriguing geometric patterns popping up for a generation who wants to make their own declaration on what a home should be.
Nowhere is this seen more prominently than in the return of Barbiecore. The plastic princess was in her early days in the 70’s and has remained a cultural icon throughout the decades. As she nears her 60th birthday, modern homeowners are finding new and creative ways to employ pinks and frills to capture Barbie’s ephemeral sense of style.
For more on this reemergence, keep reading for a detailed breakdown on the current Barbiecore trend and other tastes of the 70’s in modern real estate.
Barbicore Design Themes
Your Tik Tok obsessed teenager may think that the current Barbie mania is in response to the upcoming 2023 film “Barbie,” inspired by many of the Barbie themes and fashion trends found on the wildly popular Tik Tok channel.
While Hollywood undoubtedly has a way of bringing trends to the forefront of public attention, homeowners have been trying to create their own Barbie-inspired dreamhouse for the better part of 60 years.
This combination of forces between exploding media attention and nostalgic design sensibilities make 2023 the perfect time for a full-scale return to Barbiecore. With homeowners looking for ways to go retro and add unique touches of character to their homes, the Barbiecore theme brings a strong dose of the 70’s to the modern real estate market. Some features to look for in a Barbie-inspired home include:
- Positively pink – you do not have to go with the gaudy bubblegum pink made popular by Barbie to get your home blushing. In fact, Sherwin Williams’ Redend Point is a great option for the walls and backsplash, contrasting nicely with more traditional pink tints on linens and drapery
- Cloud-like accents – it would be apt to say that “fluffy” is one of the central tenets of the Barbiecore theme. Frilly edges on bed linens and tasseled towels and lampshades are great ways to add these cloudy accents
- Colorful decor – Barbie could be described as a bit “extra” or “material.” Colorful posters with travel destinations and artwork depicting urban lifestyle are wonderful touches to make the Barbicore theme complete
In the modern area of sprawling suburbia and manufactured homes, some of the coziness of “home” has waned. Turning back the clock to the 70’s, homes are using texture in creative ways to add warmth and character to their spaces. Some ways to accomplish this include:
- A white shiplap accent wall, a heated shower floor, and woven wicker baskets in the master bathroom
- Contrasting furniture fabrics, such as velvet and rattan, in living spaces
- Exposed stone facades and floating wooden shelves
All in all, what may have been viewed as “unrefined” by modern sensibilities is making a major comeback as the zany style of the 70’s is being revitalized.
Like textures, tones are also trending as a means of adding warmth to contemporary homes. While it may not be a complete throwback to the 70’s-style brown furniture and dandelion yellow walls, homeowners fresh off of the COVID-19 pandemic are looking for natural, earthy tones that can help blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces.
Brownish shades, forest greens, stone grays, and beiges are increasing in popularity on walls, furniture, and window treatments alike. In addition, plants and other biophilic elements are being strategically placed throughout interiors to add another earthy aspect, creating a calming influence that makes homeowners want to stay at home.
Multi Use Spaces
There is something inherently nonconformist about the 70’s. From flowery shirts to bell-bottom pants, outlandish hairstyles to statement spectacles, the 70’s were a decade of expression and pushing the boundaries. People in the 70’s cared less about what other people thought and more about being themselves.
While this trend has definitely come full-circle on a social level as we head toward 2023, some of the psychology can be seen in the realm of interior design. No longer is the kitchen just the kitchen or the living room just the living room. Designers are pushing the boundaries of what they can do with design, employing creative means of turning these previously “stiff” areas into multi-use spaces. Walls are being knocked down in kitchens, replaced by half-wall bars adorned with hand-crafted stools. Sunken living rooms with deep, low-slung furniture are returning to the forefront of design. Sliding pocket doors and room dividers are popping up in place of hinged doors, providing softer transitions between areas of the home.
We would not be talking about the 70’s without making note of patterns and geometric shapes at the heart of design sensibilities. While you do not have to go as far as mimicking the tacky wallpaper in your great aunt’s guest bedroom, there are definitely a multitude of ways in which patterns are prevailing in modern homes. From hexagon acoustic panels in home offices to alternating tiles on the shower walls, shapes are being used in a variety of ways in modern homes, decidedly moving from tacky to tasteful as we approach the new year.
Coming Around Again: Barbiecore and 70’s Design Trends
What goes around, comes around. The decade once mocked for its outlandish sense of style is making its way back into popular culture. From Barbiecore to new ways of using browns and geometric patterns, look for a reemergence of 70’s trends in real estate as we enter 2023.
Lisa Thompkins is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. She works closely in the Home Improvement and Real Estate fields and has a background in Interior Design. When not writing, Lisa enjoys spending her time out on the lake with her friends and family. Lisa’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource launching in Fall 2022.