Even in the design-driven decade of the 1970s, comfortable 70s couches were more than just cozy landing pads and conversation spots — they were home decor.
The trend was toward embracing relaxation and making home a haven, and plush cushions, overstuffed armrests, and inviting textures turned sofas into irresistible retreats from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
In living rooms everywhere, you could find sofas splashed with bright colors, covered in bold patterns, or shaped like something out of a sci-fi movie… but, surprisingly, there was also a lot of brown and beige — a neutral color trend that would continue into the 80s.
Whether you loved them soft and plush or most fondly remember the styles with wood accents, the focus on comfort has left a lasting impression, and these cozy characteristics continue to influence modern furniture design to this day.
Take a scroll through this roundup of photographs showcasing several dozen unforgettable vintage 70s couches, including some that fit into retro conversation pits.
Whether you lived through the disco decade or just appreciate the era’s eclectic style, this gallery is sure to stir memories — and maybe even inspire some modern-day decorating ideas.
Sectional sofas back & worth considering (1970)
Article from the Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania) March 20, 1970
Guess what’s coming back to the living room? Nobody has ventured an explanation of “why,” but the return of sectional sofas is worth considering.
That style of seating has not been offstage long enough to be forgotten by the under-25s. What gives new versions prominence is the furnishing potential for all interiors, big and small.
CAN BE SPACE-SAVER
Paradoxical as it may seem, two or three units in a single grouping can turn out to be a space-saver. Such an arrangement also results in a more congenial setting for conversation.
In the final analysis, too, less furniture is needed to complete a decor built around the multiple sofa scheme. One large cocktail table and one flexible lamp are the only other essentials.
Possibly the architectural trend to combined living rooms and dining areas has restored interest in sectional seating. Where no walls exist to separate one part of an interior from another, sofas assume the role of dividers.
Notice how the principle works in the photograph (above). The dining room is clearly defined as if by an invisible wall. Straight sofas fall naturally into right-angle placement.
However, there are curved and angled designs that form entertaining circles. Obviously, in those situations, the cocktail table is round, often with a Lazy Susan top.
DECOR NOT LIMITED
Sofa styles are contemporary, but that doesn’t limit total decor. Mood is established via print or solid-color upholstery fabrics, elegant velvets or homespun textures, not to bypass vinyls with the look of leather. Then other elements — table, lighting, accessories — are chosen accordingly.
Newest sectionals have come a long way from the ’40s, when they were sometimes better in theory than in style or use. More comfort and flexibility are in their favor now.
We’re thinking of designs whereby single units multiply into seating systems — as many or as few needed. Kipp Stewart has developed such a system for Directional Industries. Two basic pieces, arm-less or corner versions, combine as loveseats, longboy sofas or climb around the walls of a room.
Selig presents variations in a German import that looks like an old Pullman car seat. It can lead an independent existence, or in duplicate and triplicate go on to bigger seating assignments. The idea is fine for family rooms as well as living rooms, especially around a fireplace. Some we’ve seen are receptive to what are frequently called “conversation pits.”
Retro oak and plaid fabric Kroehler couches (1977)
Relax in the casual comfort of this Kroehler room group! The more you live with these casual contemporary pieces, the more you’ll appreciate their great looks, easy comfort, and the way they stand up to everyday living! The plaid Herculon olefin covers are stain and soil resistant with heavy oak posts accented by Brushed Brass tone trim. And how you’ll love sinking into the deep tufted, luxuriously thick cushioning…
6 different retro 70s style couch configurations
Hexagons in terracotta basketweave, Loose cushion add-ons in graph-paper plaid, Canvas modules with attached backs, Linear put-together in quilted canvas, Washable furniture in strip-off cotton, and Big scale seating with zig-zag stripes.
Brown Naugahyde leather-look vintage sofa with deep buttons
Retro futuristic style modular couch from the 1970s
Vintage yellow mid-century modern sofas
Enormous round puffy leather couch in buckskin color
Vintage vinyl or Naugahyde blue sofa around an inside fireplace table
Curved 70s couches: The Furthermore II
Button-tufted styling in Herculon olefin pile. Wedges unite allows you to design your own conversation pit.
Vintage Ethan Allen 70s couches with wood frames
Groovy retro patterned 70s sofa styles
Vintage 70s couches: Surround yourself… with the soft life
THIS IS ‘PLATEAU’ The new approach to the way you relax. It’s forever re-arrangeable, on any level, on the spur of your own moment.
Surround yourself with deep, soft, comfortable velvet. Even cabinets, platforms and bookcases are upholstered in full velvet. It’s right now…in every Roche Bobois store.
Beautiful Moroccon-style sofas on three sides of a cozy nook
Old Kroehler Avant sectional couch from 1972
A super retro sueded sectional sofa from the 1970s
3-sided sunken conversation pit sofa from Drexel
Two vintage 70s sofas in neutral tones with armrest storage
The Playpen is not for everyone (Grandmother will not approve)
It’s for people who lead their lives their own way — in style and comfort. People who are glad they’re grown-up.
Superbly constructed for extra softness with cushion-within-a-cushion seats and plump, wedge-shaped backs, this Selig original takes up no more space than a standard sofa, table and pair of chairs.
Designed for easy living, the Playpen can be arranged and rearranged to suit any mood. The armless chairs, corner sections and ottomans with casters recombine beautifully to create sofas, loveseats, sectional, or individual seating.
Separately, or together, the ten pieces look as good as they feel. And will stay good looking because they’re treated with SCOTCHGARD Velvet Protector, which means that watery and oily stains can be blotted away. Deep stains can be spot cleaned easily, leaving the fabric smooth and fresh looking.
Covered in plush 100% cotton velvet, the Playpen comes in thirteen lucky colors. Look for it at fine stores near you.
Off-white linen-effect L-shaped sectional sofa
Vintage 70s couch with five angles and funky retro pattern
Big brown and beige couch from the 1970s
Vintage sofas and seating areas from the 70s
Cozy boho-style DIY sofa area
Three-sided conversation pit-style 70s couch
Conversation square in magenta and red
A dark, rich room that invites ease and pleasure, an environment that transcends tradition reveals this bright concept: decorating with light.
Lamps, strategically placed in the dark, play on kinetic light sculptures: terracotta-lacquered tables connect magenta-covered banquettes to form an accommodating square.
On tabletops. chunky collections of crystal shapes gleam like stalagmites in a cavern. By interior designer Barbara D’Arcy, at Bloomingdale’s.
Retro sectional sleeper sofas from the 70s
The Wedge vintage 70s sofa – semi-circle
Vintage ’70s curved sectional couch: Sears modular seating
Cozy patterned retro corner sofas from the 70s
Huge retro patterned couch seat from 1974
Mobilia Lounge sectional sofa from Roche Bobois
You can do anything with this great modular seating system. Infinitely re-arrangeable anytime for quiet living… or a full-scale ball. Come indulge your fantasy your own way.
Large sofa that covers a room on 2 sides from the 70s
Two vintage 70s couches, plus a transparent plastic chair
1970s couches: Modern minimalist modular sofa blocks
Puffy retro sofa configuration in dual-level living room
Modern built-in sofa seating area from the seventies
Retro modular sofa nook with foam pieces
Geometric modular couch (1978)
“Larsen’s World,” a fresh collection of geometries… combines with seating forms of the Flair-Hibriten Division of Bernhardt Furniture. Also: Furniture-to-go, Rattan sectionals in tropic cotton print, Knock-down in corded cotton velvet & chintz-covered cushions and dark rattan.
Modern metal sofa frames with black & white cushions
Modernist-style simple sectional sofa design with low back
Brown 70s sectional couch
Mod sectional sofa pieces in red
Built-in couch for a cozy living room corner
A break with tradition: Half-circle sofa seating (1975)
Large semi-circular seating unit — these more cohesive shapes visually expand space better than an arrangement of different chairs and sofas.
Semi-circle plush beige settee
Green on white lattice-style pattern 70s couches
Floral sofa cushions and base with matching coffee table
Black & white checkerboard pattern wallpaper & vintage 70s couches
Selig’s couch and loveseat with crescent arms & horizontal velvet stripes (1975)
Moroccan-style living room
Green couch along the walls, with both green and white pillows, and white leather poufs
Traditional brown leather vintage sofa with deep buttons
Green velour 70s couches
Couches and pillows are placed on a thick green shag carpet
Bohemian-style room with pillowed sofas and patterned wallpaper
Vintage curved ’70s couch
The sofa fabric matches the curtains and the wallpaper on the ceiling.