Surprising ’70s trend that’s making a massive comeback

Mar 21, 2021
Students from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York wearing a range of macrame designs. Source: Getty

While you might shudder to think of the macrame curtains, vests and barely-there knotted tops of the 1970s, the trend is back and better than ever!

The art of knotting rope into a variety of different patterns and shapes, was an essential in groovy, bohemian-style homes and no doubt one you remember well. The trend gained mass popularity during the ’70s when the knotted-rope art decorated most on-trend houses (and bodies). Popular items to make included wall hangings, shirts, bedspreads, jean shorts, tablecloths, draperies and plant hangers. The trend had fallen out of favour by the ’80s, but in the last couple of years has been growing again in popularity.


The word macramé is Spanish but is derived from an Arabic word migramah, thought to mean ‘striped towel’ or ’embroidered veil’.  Macrame is generally thought to originate with 13th century Arab weavers, who decorated the edges of curtains, veils and towels. By the late 17th century however, the trend was introduced in England, with Queen Mary II teaching the art to her ladies in-waiting. The art was also used by sailors on long voyages at sea, who wove and then traded their items throughout Asia and into the New World, helping the trend to gain worldwide popularity. Sailors often called the process ‘square knotting’ or ‘McNamara’s Lace’. In the Victorian era, homes were adorned with macrame table clothes, curtains and bedspreads.

The comeback

The ’70s trend has a massive surge in popularity since about 2018 – and while we hope we don’t see the macrame vest again any time soon – a lot of the on-trend items are ones you may have owned in the ’70s. While the trend often littered every surface of a home in the ’70s, experts suggest that this time around, less is more. The organic, earthy element of the rope complements modern interior designs – but it’s important to keep it minimalistic. Leave the macrame-covered decors in the ’70s and opt for just a sprinkling of the trend.

The trend is not only proving popular to buy, but also on sites like Pinterest where DIY instructions are making the craft even easier to master yourself. So, whether you’re wanting to get crafty or just keep up-to-date with decor trends, we’ve found a few ways you can incorporate macrame into your home without looking like its been there since the ’70s.

1. Plant holders

Large or small, indoor or outdoor, simple or majestic. Plant hangers can be one of the easiest to make yourself – or as elaborate as this gorgeous yellow multi-pot hanger, which if you’re a beginner at macrame, we don’t suggest tackling right away.

Outdoor plant hangers like this are a great way to add a bit of colour to a bare wall or fence. Or the simple, one-pot holders a great way to hang pots from banisters or fences to save space on crowded balconies.

2. Mirror holders

This modern take on the macrame trend is exactly the simplistic sprinkle your house needs. Paired with the frameless mirror and white rope, one or two of these dotted around the home will add just the right amount of the boho trend. Better yet – it’s simple enough to make yourself.

3. Shelves

These shelves are a beautiful way to brighten up a bare wall and add a little organic and statement feature to your space. If you are after a long-term DIY project, these elaborate macrame shelves are for you! If not, there’s plenty of options to buy similar shelves online, which requires a lot less work.

4. Wall hangings 

These wall hangings may be one of the most popular ways you’ll see macrame popping up in decors right now. There are many smaller options available, but they also make for the perfect statement bedroom or living room piece. These will require a bit more effort and time if you choose to make one, but there are a plethora of places selling them online. We recommend shopping around for the best price because they can fetch a pretty penny.

5. Macrame cushions and rugs

Cushions and rugs are a great way to incorporate the trend without making any massive styling decisions or changes to your home. A throw cushion, hallway rug or even table runner can add just the sprinkling you’re after without going too ’70s.

These are also an item better purchased than made, but can be found in most homewares stores and won’t cost you the earth. This is a great way to get on board with the trend, without forking out for an expensive wallhanging or spending hours creating something.

6. Fruit bowl

We love these sweet hanging fruit bowls! An easy way to incorporate just a dash of the macrame trend and tidy up those kitchen benches! Why leave it for just the kitchen? One or two of these hanging around the house won’t be overkill, and is a great way to store bathroom products, or wallets and keys by the front door.

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