Vintage Images of American Living Rooms, Family Rooms, and Dens From the 1950s

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The 1950s were a decade filled with exuberance, radiating a positive outlook from the United States triumphant post-war recovery. The emphasis of a 1950s 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 decor 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 decor 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. 1950s home decor is a now traditional style that maintains its popularity in a modern market with new materials and combinations.
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 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.
1950 Armstrong Living Room – Coral, dark green, gray, and maroon were a few of the favorite colors that popped up regularly during the early 1950s. This green, coral, and buff scheme has the linoleum floor, bamboo furniture, and barkcloth upholstery and drapes that we associate with the mid century.

1951 Coral & Gray Living Room – This room, published in American Home, focused on incorporating antiques with modern furnishings. The color scheme of black, white, gray, and coral is strong and surprisingly lively. We are particularly smitten with the lamps.

1953 Armstrong Living Room – This living room was described as a “mother-in-law” apartment. The color scheme of gray-finished wood cabinetry, olive green, turquoise, and shell pink is perfect 1950s traditional style. We think Mom would be right at home.

1953 Armstrong Living Room With Cork Floor – This living room was an ad for Armstrong cork, but we like the modern, mid-century aesthetic with the raised hearth and painted brick fireplace. Unlike some Armstrong ads where the flooring was not the best feature of the room, we really like the cork. It’s attractive, warm underfoot, and a great insulator and sound absorber.

1953 Modern Bungalow Living Room – This living room and dining room remodel is unique for its color, modern furnishings, and the respectful treatment of existing built-ins. Too often mid-century interior designers seemed to feel that taking out all reference to the past was necessary. This room incorporates new and old together successfully.

1953 Living Room With Reclaimed Brick Fireplace – This modern fireplace serves as both a structural element, focal point, and divider between the kitchen and living room with the dining ell off to the left. The squared brick and iron post construction is typical of many mid-century homes.

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