15 Items From the 1980s That That Every Household Had

The 1970s were a groovy time. Looking back at the items that were part of everyday life back then is eye-opening.

We’re examining a few items found in nearly every home throughout the 70s.

From shag carpeting to lava lamps and everything in between, it’s time to walk down memory lane. 

1. Alarm Clocks

Alarm Clocks
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Before the entire population began using their smartphones as alarm clocks every morning, nearly every American home had an alarm clock in the 1970s. Hitting the snooze button meant physically smashing the button on your clock, which took so much effort, that it caused you to wake up sooner than you expected. I’m glad smartphones have taken the place of physical alarm clocks in 2024.

2. Bean Bag Chairs

Bean Bag Chairs
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Although they’re still found in many homes today, the ubiquitous bean bag chair rose to prominence in the 1970s. Its allure was obvious: Why sit in relatively uncomfortable wooden chairs when you can live a life of luxury by sprawling across a super-comfortable bean bag chair? These chairs were inexpensive, durable, and were an attractive alternative to traditional furniture regardless of your age. 

3. Waterbeds

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Arguably, nothing captures the essence of the 1970s more than waterbeds. At their peak popularity, nearly 20% of American homes contained at least one waterbed. Many satisfied users believed the bed’s structure and design helped with better and more restful sleep, but I can see right through their claims; everybody knows there wasn’t a cooler status symbol in the 70s than owning a waterbed. As someone who once spent a few nights sleeping in one, I can attest to their greatness. 

4. Fur-Covered Furniture

Fur Covered Furniture
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Sometimes, it’s easy to look back in time and wonder, “Why in the world did people do that?” Like shag carpeting, fur-covered furniture was a bizarre trend in the 70s. Who needs comfortable, durable, and modern cotton-based fabric when you can cover your couches, chairs, and other pieces in animal fur, right? In 2024, it’s rare to find fur-clad furniture, and for good reason: in retrospect, it was a terrible trend, and we’re better off without it. 

5. Record Collections

Record Collection
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For music lovers, living in the 1970s was a great time to be alive. Most homes boasted extensive record collections thanks to the emergence of countless legendary musical acts. People displayed their vinyl collections front and center in their homes, and impromptu listening sessions were typical at gatherings. I must admit, there’s a certain timelessness about a healthy record collection.

6. Wood Paneling

Wood Paneling
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Prospective home buyers looking to purchase a house originally built in the 1970s will add removing the wood paneling at the top of the list. This unique, outdoors-inspired design choice was interesting, to say the least. Back then, it was an inexpensive option to make your home’s interior more inviting, and countless homeowners furnished their walls in this fashion. 

7. Floral Patterns Everywhere

Floral Patterns
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Whether looking through old family pictures or watching a rerun of an iconic 1970s television show, one aspect of homes stands out: There were floral patterns everywhere! Kitchen walls? Floral patterns. Wallpaper in the bathroom? Floral patterns. Kitchen furniture padding? You guessed it: floral patterns. Blame it on the hippie culture at the time if you must, but men and women back then loved everything flower-related! 

8. Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum Flooring
Image Credit: Chiel1992 – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

When shopping for a new home in 2024, most prospective homebuyers look for luxury vinyl flooring or natural wood for their floors. However, in the 70s, linoleum flooring was considered state-of-the-art and was a no-brainer choice for floors. The advantages of linoleum were apparent. Not only was it relatively inexpensive, but it was also durable and stain-resistant. Sure, linoleum wasn’t terribly attrative, but it served a purpose for millions of growing families. 

9. TVs That Were Furniture

old model tv inside cabinet
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As a child, visiting my grandparents always felt like I was taking a trip back in time. Although they’re no longer with us, my grandparents seemingly did everything possible to keep their home firmly entrenched in the 1970s. One of my fondest memories is watching television on their gigantic cabinet TV. Although the screen was relatively tiny, it was mounted inside a giant piece of wooden furniture as large as my grandfather’s favorite chair. Comically oversized televisions were everywhere back then. 

10. Intercom Systems

Intercom Systems
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Somewhat bizarrely, many homes in the 1970s came equipped with an intercom system that ran throughout multiple rooms in the house. I don’t get the practical use for this amenity. It’s not like homes were massive back then. Couldn’t a person use their voice to deliver messages to their loved ones instead of an impractical electronic contraption? The ’70s were wild, man.

11. Shag Carpet

Shag Carpets
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Ah, shag carpet: the unquestioned, surefire hallmark of the 1970s. Your home wasn’t considered cool (or even fully furnished) unless you installed wall-to-wall shag carpeting. I never understood the obsession with shag carpeting. I never thought it was comfortable or even practical, plus it was challenging to clean. Nevertheless, it was a mainstay in many homes throughout the decade. 

12. Wall-Mounted Telephones

Wall Mounted Telephone
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In 2024, it’s rare to see landline telephones in homes since nearly everyone owns a cell phone. During the 70s, however, wall-mounted landline phones were the standard. I can’t imagine what it felt like to be physically tethered to a wall if you decided to make a phone call, but back then, doing so was a regular, accepted way of communicating. 

13. Oversized Stereo Equipment

Oversized Stereo Equipment
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

I distinctly remember gazing at my father’s prized stereo equipment as a child. I always wanted to own a set someday. Unfortunately, that never happened, thanks to the advent of modern audio technology, music streaming, and handheld devices that blow my dad’s old stereo equipment out of the water. Nevertheless, the impressive sight of a humongous stereo system in somebody’s home is a memory that will always remind me of the good old days. 

14. TV Dinner Trays

TV Dinner Trays
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Thanks to the glorious invention of the microwave, families in the 1970s ate more and more meals while sitting in the living room watching television instead of in the dining room or kitchen. As a result, nearly every household had plenty of TV dinner trays — compartmentalized plastic trays made eating more accessible in a casual environment. The unique plateware is still found in many homes today, and it reminds countless people of what it was like to watch The Partridge Family while enjoying a meal in the living room. 

15. Lava Lamps

Lava Lamps
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Although they’re still found today (usually in college dorms), lava lamps were very trendy in the 1970s. This unique, groovy light spiced up any room for an affordable price. The mesmerizing movement of the “lava” (a simple wax compound) was an essential aspect of every bedroom setting back in the day. I wonder how many people shared their first kiss under the inviting glow of a lava lamp?

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