The Vintage Home #13: Funky Places to Sit

You get the feeling, when looking at pictures of 1970s homes and fashion, that designers took a deep bong hit and let'r rip.  Sometimes you ended up with something special and innovative.... other times you ended up with something laughably horrible.  "Conservative" and "Traditional" were not in their vocabulary.  Even the chairs were wild.

And that's where this post comes in.  Let's have a look at the various wild and and wonderful places people put their asses in the seventies (wait, that doesn't sound right). You know what I mean.

Yes, this chair is exactly what it looks like: a cardboard box with rubber balls wrapped in plastic. I imagine this contraption wouldn't last through an episode of "Chico and the Man" before collapsing upon itself, releasing an embarrassing spray of blue and pink bouncy balls. Remember the plastic wrap your grandma covered her sofas with? Remember the butt sweat from sitting on that Saran wrap? This is chair is ten times worse.

For some reason this man seems proud of his uncomfortable looking flake board creations. Nice arm rests - that's gonna leave a mark.

I've got no beef with this contraption, except that it's not a seat, it's a freaking tree swing.  I'm guessing this couple twirled around and around before this picture was taken.  Good move to use the feet to anchor; bad move to have a red drink whilst sitting on a Sit-n-Spin.

This one doesn't look half bad... or am I being swayed by the Suzanne Somers lookalike?

These chairs are a roundhouse kick in the eyeballs.  This once cozy family den is now a place where hardcore porn and big ass glass bongs are not only permitted at 1:00 in the afternoon, but expected.

I'm not sure how I feel about these seating apparatuses; I just know I would feel like douche sitting in them.

This would be the perfect chair...... for people with severe scoliosis.

After the DEA started cracking down on marijuana and the smoky haze began to lift from the populace, I wonder if the Boomers just looked at their living rooms and thought "WTF happened?"

Sure, I've been ragging on the funky decor, but, truth be told, I'd give everything I own in the world to live a day in that dude's shoes.  Seventies couches were literally engineered to accommodate frequent and vigorous lovemaking.  The amount of DNA on that "couch" boggles the mind.

Leave it to the seventies to make a hemorrhoids pillow cool and hip.

A porch swing in the living room? Sure, I don't see why not.  When living rooms were for reading, talking and relaxing it sort of makes sense.  Nowadays, it wouldn't work well to be swinging whilst watching your  bigass flat screen.

I'm cool with the chair (and the miniskirt); however, I'm not sure how functional that typewriter stand is going to be.  It's not like she can pick it up like an iPad and sit in her lap.  Curious.

Why didn't my parents have anything cool like this? This is the infamous conversation pit, generally referred to as the "convo pit".  I'd love to see this come back.

In reality, this is what living rooms actually looked like.  The homes that had all the funky stuff generally didn't have kids.  Given that I was in grade school during the seventies, I didn't get many invites to the homes of cool hipsters.  Thus, nearly every living room I saw was a variation on the picture above.

I would be remiss not to mention the two most iconic of 70s seats: the egg chair and the bean bag chair.  I won't dwell on those, though - they deserve special posts of their own.  Instead, have a look at a few more funky seventies seats before you go.


  1. Fun stuff. The 70s were so freaking weird, but at least there was some character back then. Not always great character, but still. And the sunken living room there reminded me of Laverne & Shirley when they moved to California and Oooohed at their "sunken living" room, basically a step down from the doorway.

  2. I associate this era with butterfly chairs, but that's only because my family had one in the living room. I hasten to add, it was probably the only wild or far-out item of furniture we had, but it was chosen for comfort rather than style. My lifelong childhood dream of someday owning an egg chair remains unfulfilled...

  3. AnonymousJune 20, 2011

    I love this post!! The tackier the better!!

  4. Yes, I want a convo pit!

  5. When my older brother was moving out, he got a book with plans for building your own furniture out of basically 2x4s and plywood. It was ugly, weighed a ton, and was uncomfortable as hell, but at the time it seemed cool and modern. Later, when I had to help him move that portable lumber yard from apartment to apartment, I really hated that stuff.

  6. I've GOT to get to my Mom's and scan some of her pics of our house in the 70s. We had some pretty interesting furniture.

  7. " I just know I would feel like douche sitting in them."
    Well said :)

    And I want a drop floor area for a convo pit of John lennon's sleep space in Help!

  8. @Maura, YES! I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking it! that whole house in "Help!" was awesome. Amanda wants it O_O

    It's weird the two sides of the seventies interior design: on the one hand there's low-key casual...I guess you could call it hippie look and on the other hand there is this ultra-modern space-age thing going on so you have plush throwpillows and rigid chairs.
    Does anybody know if the concept of ergonomics were around in the seventies?

  9. AnonymousJune 21, 2011

    @Amanda, I bet the concept of ergonomics was born out of this furniture. I mean, if you grew up sitting on a bean bag chair or a pile of balloons or heap of pillows on the floor, you probably started to experience lower back problems early on.

    I love sunken areas and want a pillowed porch swing for my living room.

  10. I'm with you....the convo pit needs to make a comeback!

  11. Groovy post! Totally digging that yellow kitchen set! I've always been a fan of the convo pit too and wish they could make a comeback.

  12. AnonymousJune 27, 2011

    What's interesting to me, and there's probably a book waiting to be written on this topic, is the gap between "high-style" and mass-market. It's when some of the high-end ideas filter down to the inexpensive mass-market that we see their de-evolution, and the humorous pretense becomes all-too evident. This post has a lot of that watered-down high-style on a DIY budget aspect.

  13. Frank BoothOctober 20, 2012

    My brother and I got those inflatable lounge chairs for Christmas sometime in the early 70s. We used them in the lake. One of the weirdest fads back during my high school/college days in the 70s was people taking those huge power company cable spools and making dining and coffee tables out of them. They worked out pretty well for breaking a pound down into ounces.

  14. Love these posts!

    Convo pit - hell yes, they need to bring these back!

    I also want that porch swing in the living room - heck, I want that living room :D

    That last living room set - AACK - that was what the 'tv room' looked like in my childhood home in Chicago XP Our living room had the nice sofas with plastic covering...