Interior Design in the 1950s: 9 Steps to a 1950s Home
What comes to mind when you think of the 1950s? Elvis? The atomic bomb? Oversized cars and hoop skirts? While those are all valid images, the 1950s were also a time of great change in interior design. If you're looking to give your home a retro 50s feel, here are nine steps to get you started!
What was happening in the 1950s and how did this impact interiors?
The 1950s were a decade of immense change. After the Second World War, many families were moving out of crowded inner-city apartments and into newly built suburban homes. This shift had a profound impact on interior design. Suddenly, there was a need for furniture that was both stylish and functional. In response, many designers began experimenting with new materials and methods of production. As a result, the 1950s saw the rise of popular mid-century modern styles such as Danish Modern and Italian Modern.
These new styles emphasized simplicity and functionality, and they quickly became extremely popular with homeowners looking to update their interiors. In addition to furniture, the 1950s also saw an explosion in the popularity of home appliances. Refrigerators, dishwashers, and clothes washers were all becoming increasingly common in American homes, and their sleek design helped to further popularise the mid-century modern style. By the end of the decade, the look of American homes had been completely transformed.
9 steps to a 1950s interior
1. Embrace Mid-Century Modern design
The 1950s was a decade of change. The world was emerging from the devastation of World War II, and new technologies were transforming the way people lived. This was also a time of great experimentation in architecture and design. One style that emerged during this period was known as Mid-Century Modern. This style is characterized by clean lines, open spaces, and a focus on functionality. Mid-Century Modern homes are often recognised for their simple, stylish designs. If you are considering adding a Mid-Century Modern touch to your home, here are some tips to get you started.
First, take a cue from the past and embrace simplicity. Mid-Century Modern design is all about embracing the clean lines and uncluttered look of the 1950s. When incorporating this style into your home, focus on keeping things clean and minimal. Secondly, think about ways to bring the outdoors in. One of the hallmarks of Mid-Century Modern homes is their connection to nature. To create this feeling in your home, look for ways to bring in natural light and incorporate plants into your décor. Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment. The best way to get the Mid-Century Modern look is to experiment with different design elements until you find what works for you. So go ahead and have fun with it!
2. Choose 1950s-inspired wallpapers
Wallpaper is making a comeback in a big way, and there are plenty of retro-inspired designs to choose from. If you're looking to get that 1950s home look, damask and floral wallpaper patterns are the way to go. Damask wallpapers typically feature an ornate pattern, often with a metallic sheen. They're perfect for creating a glamorous look in any room.
Floral wallpapers, on the other hand, are perfect for adding a touch of femininity to any space. They also come in a wide range of colours and styles, so you can find the perfect design to suit your taste. Whichever style you choose, retro wallpapers are sure to add personality and style to your home.
3. Opt for Scandinavian ‘Earth Tones’ in your living room
In the 1950s, earth tones were all the rage in Scandinavian design. And it’s no wonder why – they bring a sense of calm and grounding to any space. If you’re looking to create a similar feeling in your living room, opt for furniture and accessories in earthy hues.
A camel-coloured sofa will anchor the room, while a mix of olive green, chocolate brown, and creamy white will add depth and dimension. Layer patterned rugs, throws, and pillows to add interest and texture. And don’t forget to bring in natural elements like wood accents and greenery to complete the look. With a few simple changes, you can turn your living room into a cosy oasis that feels straight out of the 1950s.
4. Prioritise comfort with furnishings
In the 1950s, comfort was king when it came to home furnishings. Blankets, rugs, and throws were used to create a cosy and inviting space. And while the function was important, the form was also a consideration. Furniture was often selected for its ability to create a feeling of warmth and relaxation. Sofa cushions were plump and comfortable, and chairs were designed with soft, curved lines. As a result, homes in the 1950s were both stylish and comfortable. Today, many people are rediscovering the appeal of this classic style. By incorporating furniture that prioritises comfort, they can create a space that is both beautiful and functional.
5. Pick furniture with tapered legs
When it comes to furniture, the 1950s were all about simplicity and functionality. Pieces were designed to be both stylish and practical, and tapered legs were a popular choice for many reasons.
First of all, they helped to give the furniture a light and airy look, which was perfect for small spaces. Secondly, they were easier to clean than other styles of the leg, as there were no nooks and crannies for dirt to collect. Finally, tapered legs also tended to be more stable than other types, meaning that furniture was less likely to tip over if bumped into. All of these factors made tapered legs a popular choice for 1950s furniture, and they can still be found in many homes today.
6. Design a 1950s home bar
The home bar is a timeless piece of furniture that has been gracing homes for centuries. In the 1950s, the home bar experienced a surge in popularity as Americans embraced the idea of entertaining at home. At the time, many homes were equipped with wet bars, which featured sinks and refrigerators for keeping drinks cold. But for those who wanted to take their entertaining to the next level, a home bar was the way to go.
A typical 1950s home bar was made of wood, with glass shelves and a mirrored backsplash. The bartender would stand behind the bar and mix drinks for guests, who would sit on barstools or in chairs around the perimeter of the room.
Today, home bars are still popular features in homes, and they have come a long way since their 1950s counterparts. Thanks to advances in technology, home bars can now be fully equipped with everything from wine refrigerators to kegerators. And while they may no longer be considered essential pieces of furniture, they continue to add sophistication and style to any home.
7. Choose pastel colours for your bathroom
The 1950s were a time of innocence and optimism, and this is reflected in the home décor of the era. Pastel colours were popular for both walls and furnishings, as they evoked a sense of comfort and tranquillity. Pink was a particularly popular choice for bathroom tiles, as it conveyed a sense of femininity and luxury. Today, pink tiles are often associated with retro design, and they can be used to create a vintage-inspired look in your bathroom. Whether you opt for pink floor tiles or pink wall tiles, this soft colour will help to create a soothing atmosphere in your space.
8. Inject colour into your kitchen with orange, blue or red
In the 1950s, home cooks had few options when it came to kitchen appliances. There were no microwaves or dishwashers, and refrigerators were not yet common. As a result, many kitchens were small and utilitarian, with little regard for style or decoration.
However, there was one element that could add a touch of personality to even the most basic kitchen: colour. Injecting a pop of colour into the kitchen was a popular way to brighten up the space and make it feel more inviting. The most popular colours were orange, blue and red, as these cheerful hues added a touch of fun to the otherwise mundane task of cooking. Today, we take for granted the many ways that we can customise our kitchens. But in the 1950s, a little bit of colour went a long way in making the kitchen feel like home.
9. Throw in a retro toaster or kettle
For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It's where we cook, eat, and socialize with family and friends. However, the kitchen can also be a place of stress and anxiety, particularly if it feels outdated or cramped. If you're planning a kitchen makeover, consider adding some retro appliances to give the space a vintage feel. Toasters and kettles from the 1950s are iconic pieces that can help to set the tone of the room. Plus, they're bound to start a conversation or two! Whether you're looking for a complete overhaul or just a few simple changes, adding some retro flair to your kitchen can make all the difference.
The 1950s were a time of great change, both socially and politically. And while the decade is often associated with conservatism and traditional values, it was also a time of great creativity and innovation. When it comes to interior design, the 1950s were a time of experimentation, as new materials and technologies became available. From pastel colours to home bars, the 1950s were a time of bold experimentation. So if you're looking to add a touch of vintage style to your home, consider incorporating some of these classic 1950s design elements.
Inspired by the history of interiors? Read more about interior design through the ages: