COLOURS The three main colour trends in the 19 50s were pastel, modern and Scandinavian and the most popular pastel colours were pink, turquoise, mint green, pale yellow and blue. Modern colours were clean and bright and included vibrant yellow, electric blue, orange, red, black and white. The desired result with a modern colour scheme was to create a marked contrast between colours . The Scandinavian colour scheme was sophisticated and heavily influenced by nature. The Scandinavian colour palette included shades of brown, cream, grey and green. For the first time ever in the 1950s paint colours were available in any possible hue. Black, white and red were also a very popular colour scheme.
FABRICS Bold designs such as stars, stripes, checks and polka dots came into vogue alongside atomic graphics inspired by space and science like planets and galaxies . All these designs were printed on wallpaper, tablecloths, curtains and furniture fabrics. Fabrics with fruit, flowers and abstract designs were also very common. A heavy, tight-woven cotton fabric called “bark cloth” became available in a range of modern designs but also incorporating floral and tropical prints, and was used for furnishings like curtains, drapery and upholstery.
FURNITURE Furniture styles ranged from comfortable upholstered traditional furniture to Scandinavian with light-coloured woods and clean lines, to organic shapes or space age. Chrome and vinyl chairs paired with chrome-legged tables with Formica tops were both fashionable and durable. Laminated plywood furniture with very clean lines, bent into comfortable curved furniture (known now as “Eames” style, because of the remarkable influence of designer Charles Eames with his revolutionary designs). With an emphasis on entertaining home bars also became an important feature in the decoration scheme . Home owners now had a lot more leisure time, necessitating picnic and outdoor furniture as well as grills and all the accessories to accompany it.
FLOORING In the 1950s linoleum flooring was restyled by manufacturers like Armstrong and became more colorful and dynamic. It was manufactured in bright, trendy colours and patterns and was promoted for use in nearly every room in the house. Linoleum tiles were placed into patterns by alternating colours - Black and white and red and white checkered floors became very popular and hardwood was still a popular choice for a flooring material. Wall to wall carpet was something new and became available in a wide range of colours and textures.
DECOR ACCESSORIES Atomic age motifs were printed on glassware and fabrics, there were sunburst and atomic clocks made of metal and wood. Plastic was used as a material for accessories for the first time. A 19 50s kitchen was filled with chrome appliances, pastel plastic, enamel or stainless steel canisters and bread bins. Colourful Melamine and melmac dishware and bowls, as well as Tupperware storage containers became very fashionable and lamps were no longer just for practical purposes, but became interior decorating statements with dynamic shapes that were sculptural, as well as geometric and abstract. These lamps were topped with fiberglass parchment or fabric shades in solids, atomic or geometric patterns.