The 1950’s were a decade filled with exuberance, radiating a positive outlook from the United States triumphant post-war recovery. The emphasis of a ’50s household was on comfort and leisure, with the decade being a prosperous time for most middle class families. More and more families were flocking to the suburbs, abandoning their city slicker lifestyles for a cozy home in a neighborhood and a big backyard for Fido. And because there was more time allocated for recreation and relaxation, interior design and décor became vibrant and fun.
In modern households, the future was near, with dynamic designs influenced by space exploration, science, and new technologies. These clean designs with Scandinavian influence took on a persona of their own, shaping into what we now know as Mid-Century Modern design. Mid-Century décor introduced innovative furniture and room composition, while maintaining a unique air of futurism combined with the classic All-American appeal. Pastel colors and patterned dishware made for cozy kitchens, while colorful walls and furniture in living rooms made for the perfect place to settle down and watch the tube.
1950’s home décor is a now traditional style that maintains its popularity in a modern market with new materials and combinations.
In the 1950s, there were three popular color trends; pastel, Scandinavian, and modern.
Pastel color schemes were huge in 1950s décor, with popular colors being pink, mint green, turquoise, pale yellow, and blue. Kitchens and bathrooms were the two most notable room types for pastel color decoration. Kitchens were abundant with pastel cabinets, floors, tables, and chairs, while ’50s bathrooms were notoriously tiled in pastel and accented in dark accessories.
For those who were sophisticated and influenced heavily by nature, Scandinavian color schemes were a popular choice in the ’50s. Shades of gray, brown, cream, and gray were at the top of the color palette, and a fashionable decision for a muted living room theme.
Modern color schemes were desired by those looking to create a marked contrast between colors, popular mostly in living rooms and kitchens. These color schemes were bright and clean, typically including red, orange, vibrant yellow, electric blue, black and white.
Furniture of the 1950s varied, ranging from traditional upholstered furniture to space age, futuristic shaped pieces. Vinyl dining chairs and chrome-legged tables with Formica tops were considered fashionable additions to kitchens and dining rooms. Laminated plywood furniture with clean lines (made famous by revolutionary designer Charles Eames) dominated living rooms, and home bars became an important staple of the living space now that an emphasis was placed on entertaining.
Outdoor furniture came hand-in-hand with more leisure time, with a new necessity placed on outdoor furniture and picnic gear.
Linoleum was considered a utilitarian flooring product since its introduction, but was recycled by manufacturers in the ’50s to be made available in bright, trendy patterns and colors. Once a lackluster option, linoleum was now promoted for nearly every room in the house. Black-and-white checkered floors were extremely popular.
Hardwood maintained to be a popular flooring material throughout the decade. Carpets were already a well-known staple in homes, but the fresh introduction of installed wall-to-wall carpeting in a wide range of textures and colors was a game changer for many.
Fabrics with flowers, fruit, and abstract designs were everywhere in the 1950s, as well as bold designs like stripes, checks, stars, and polka dots. Atomic graphics that were inspired by science and space travel, like galaxies, planets, and the notorious “Boomerang” pattern began popping up ubiquitously. All of these patterns could be found on drapery, upholstery, tablecloths, and wallpapers.
Lamps became décor in the 1950s, no longer used for just practical purposes and instead seen as interior decorating statements. Dynamic shapes (poodles, cats) as well as abstract atomic sculptures were topped with fiberglass parchment or printed fabric shades.
Atomic age motifs were everywhere, appearing on glassware, fabrics, and clocks made of metal and wood. Plastic was used as a material for accessories for the very first time, quickly rising to popularity.
’50s kitchens were filled with pastel plastics, enamel-coated canisters, and colorful Melamine dishware and bowls.
Technology of the 1950s was groundbreaking to consumers, aimed at creating more enjoyable leisure time by minimizing tasks like housework and kitchen cleanup.
Households with a budget for new technology installed new shiny refrigerators, double ovens, and revolutionary washer and dryers. The introduction of these groundbreaking appliances made the kitchen a significantly happier place for the eternally busy homemaker.
The setup of the modern living room was also forever changed with the introduction of a television and turntable in nearly every American household.
Got a flair for the 1950s? Modern homes can easily be retro-fied with the introduction of a few ’50s staples. Add some vintage flair to your living room with a few Mid-Century inspired design pieces, or add a retro minibar to always quench the thirst of visiting guests.
Want a retro appliance without the hassle of a retro refrigeration system? Modern kitchens will benefit from the addition of a Big Chill appliance, with the charm of a vintage accessory but the amenities of contemporary appliance.