1950s interior design styles
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11 Ways to Incorporate 1950s Interior Design Styles Today

Step back in time and discover the iconic 1950s interior design styles that defined a post-war era filled with optimism, innovation, and unmistakable flair. From sunburst wall art to atomic light fixtures, this article explores the essential elements that made ’50s decor a timeless classic. Prepare to infuse your modern home with some retro charm!

1950s Interior Design Styles

1. Geometric Wallpapers

Geometric Wallpapers

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In the 1950s, geometric patterns weren’t just a design choice; they were a lifestyle statement. From the Sputnik-inspired motifs to simple, angular forms, geometric designs captured the ethos of an era teeming with innovation and technological advancement.

How to Incorporate:

Don’t hold back on bringing the allure of geometric design into your home. Choose a feature wall — perhaps in your living room or even a bedroom — to adorn with geometric wallpaper. For a genuinely authentic 1950s flair, opt for colors like teal, mustard, or even red and black combinations.

If you want a truly iconic geometric pattern, look for designs inspired by the “Memphis Group,” an Italian design and architecture group that was influenced by 1950s geometry.

Notable Patterns:

A few standout designs to consider would be the quintessential ‘Harlequin’ diamonds, labyrinthine spirals, or even tessellating shapes that give a nod to the era’s fascination with complexity and detail.

2. Mid-Century Modern Accent Chairs

Modern Accent

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Mid-Century Modernism emerged as one of the most defining movements of 1950s interior design, blending organic forms with clean lines and functionality. Designers like Charles and Ray Eames or Hans Wegner became household names, each contributing iconic chair designs that have transcended time.

How to Incorporate:

A Mid-Century Modern chair can serve as a centerpiece in your living room or a stylish functional piece in your study or home office. When choosing a chair, pay close attention to the materials: genuine leather, molded plywood, and high-quality metals like stainless steel were commonly used. Pair your chair with a shag rug or a geometric coffee table to complete the look.

Iconic Models:

Consider the Eames Lounge Chair, known for its luxury and comfort, or Wegner’s Wishbone Chair, which combines simplicity and comfort with its Y-shaped back and natural wood frame.

3. Kitschy Wall Clocks

Kitschy Wall

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While the 1950s had its share of sophisticated and minimalist designs, the era also embraced kitsch — decor items that were quirky, colorful, and full of character. Wall clocks were no exception. From starburst patterns to exotic themes and even whimsical designs like animals or celestial bodies, the 1950s were rife with unique timekeeping choices.

How to Incorporate:

Position a kitschy wall clock where it can serve as a conversation starter — like in your kitchen or above a dining room sideboard. Vibrant colors like teal, pink, and burnt orange can be perfect for these quirky pieces.

Unique Types:

If you want to capture the quintessence of 1950s kitsch, consider acquiring a Sunburst clock with its rays emanating outward, or the Kit-Cat Klock with its rolling eyes and swinging tail. These are not just clocks but pieces of art that encapsulate the lighthearted spirit of the era.

4. Sunburst Wall Art

Wall Art

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Sunburst wall art was an emblematic motif of the 1950s, often found adorning living rooms, dining areas, and even hallways. This design, influenced by the fascination with the Space Age, encapsulated the era’s optimism and was often made from materials like brass, wood, or even wrought iron.

How to Incorporate:

Sunburst wall art can be an impressive focal point in any room. Position it above a fireplace, behind a dining set, or as the centerpiece in your living room to make a striking statement.


The sunburst often represented a new dawn or the unbounded optimism associated with space exploration. Materials like brass or gold-toned metals symbolized luxury and the era’s forward-thinking spirit.

5. Tiki Bar Essentials

Bar Essentials

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The 1950s saw a surge in popularity for Tiki culture, influenced by both post-WWII fascination with the South Pacific and the era’s love for escapism. Tiki decor was a collection of exotic, island-inspired items ranging from bamboo furniture to Polynesian masks.

How to Incorporate:

To add a dash of Tiki decor to your home, consider including bamboo furniture, tropical fabrics, and exotic, colorful accessories. It’s all about creating an atmosphere that evokes the carefree island lifestyle.

Escapism Aspect:

Tiki decor was not just about aesthetics; it represented an escape from the daily grind, allowing people to recreate a mini vacation spot right in their homes. Tiki bars, complete with thatch roofs and tropical drinks, were a common way people embraced this style.

6. Boomerang Coffee Table

Coffee Table

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The boomerang coffee table, often crafted from teak or another high-quality wood, was a fixture in many 1950s living rooms. Its asymmetrical shape and smooth lines captured the era’s emphasis on futuristic designs and functional art.

How to Incorporate:

Place a boomerang coffee table in your living room, preferably in a setting that complements its unique shape — perhaps with a sectional or an arrangement of mid-century modern chairs.

Form Meets Function:

The boomerang table was more than a style statement. Its curvilinear shape was designed to facilitate conversation, often fitting snugly within an array of seating options, making it as functional as it was stylish.

7. Formica Countertops


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Formica was the go-to material for kitchen countertops in the 1950s. Not only was it durable and easy to clean, but it also came in an array of colors and patterns, including the popular boomerang pattern.

How to Incorporate:

If you’re looking to give your kitchen a ’50s makeover, a Formica countertop is a must. Choose colors that were popular during the era, like pastel blues, pinks, and yellows, or go for the iconic boomerang pattern.


Formica represented the era’s love for materials that were both functional and stylish. Its versatility allowed homeowners to experiment with kitchen designs in a way that hadn’t been possible before, marking a shift in how kitchens were both used and perceived.

8. Pastel Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen Appliances

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The 1950s saw a shift from the utilitarian, monotone appliances of previous decades to more vibrant, pastel-colored versions. From refrigerators to toasters, appliances in shades like mint green, soft pink, and baby blue became household staples.

How to Incorporate:

Replace or accessorize your existing kitchen appliances with pastel options. Even if you can’t invest in larger appliances like refrigerators or ovens, smaller pastel appliances like blenders, toasters, or coffee makers can add a touch of ’50s flair.

Consumer Revolution:

The use of color in appliances was not just a design trend but a reflection of the era’s burgeoning consumer culture. Manufacturers began to understand that appliances could be both functional and aesthetic, aligning them with the broader themes of 1950s interior design.

9. Atomic Age Light Fixtures

Light Fixtures

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The Atomic Age left an indelible imprint on 1950s design, including light fixtures. Shapes mimicking atoms, molecules, or celestial bodies were particularly popular, often crafted from materials like brass, glass, or even early plastics.

How to Incorporate:

Consider installing an atomic light fixture as a statement piece in your home. Whether it’s a chandelier for your dining room, a pendant light for your kitchen, or even a table lamp, these fixtures can become conversation pieces that resonate with the spirit of the 1950s.

Science and Style:

The atomic motifs in these light fixtures often had concentric circles or rod-like structures extending out, mimicking the structure of atoms. These were not merely decorative but represented the era’s enthusiasm for scientific advancement.

10. Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl Flooring

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Vinyl flooring was another ubiquitous feature of 1950s homes. This affordable, durable material often mimicked more expensive options like hardwood or tile but came in patterns and colors that were distinctly modern.

How to Incorporate:

Consider installing vinyl flooring in high-traffic areas of your home, like the kitchen or bathroom. Keep an eye out for characteristic ’50s designs like checkerboard patterns or even flecked designs, which were all the rage during that time.

Key Patterns:

Checkerboard flooring is the most iconic but don’t overlook other options like the speckled or marbleized patterns. These also add a dose of authentic ’50s style to your interiors.

11. Floral Patterns

Floral Patterns

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Floral patterns were a staple in 1950s decor, appearing on everything from wallpaper to upholstery to curtains. These weren’t the subdued, delicate florals of earlier eras but bold, graphic representations often in vibrant colors.

How to Incorporate:

Floral patterns can bring life to any room but are particularly suited for bedrooms and bathrooms where you can go big with floral wallpaper or keep it subtle with floral towels or bedding.

Visual Impact:

Bold, oversized floral designs encapsulated the optimism and joie de vivre of the era. The choice of colors — often bright pinks, reds, and greens — also reflected the vibrant spirit of the 1950s.

Bonus: Popular Colors of the 1950s

Popular Colors

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The 1950s were a colorful era in more ways than one. From fashion to automobiles, and certainly in interior design, vibrant hues and pastel shades were all the rage. The color palette of this decade reflected the optimism, economic prosperity, and cultural shifts that were taking place.

1. Muted Pastels

Soft, muted pastels were everywhere in the 1950s. Think shades of pink, baby blue, mint green, and buttery yellow. These colors often adorned kitchens, bathrooms, and children’s bedrooms, creating a soothing and cheerful atmosphere.

2. Bold Primaries

On the opposite end of the spectrum were the bold, primary colors: bright reds, vivid blues, and sunshine yellows. These often served as accent colors, providing a vibrant contrast against more neutral backgrounds or softer hues.

3. Earthy Tones

While pastels and primaries were predominant, earthy tones like avocado green and harvest gold gained prominence towards the latter part of the decade, setting the stage for the color trends of the 1960s. These shades were often found in more formal spaces like living rooms and dining rooms.

4. Monochrome Schemes

Black and white color schemes were a classic choice for more minimalist or modern interiors. This was especially popular in tiled bathrooms and kitchens, often punctuated with a splash of color through accessories or appliances.

5. Context and Symbolism

The color choices of the 1950s were deeply rooted in the cultural and social dynamics of the time. Pastels represented the domestic bliss and optimism of post-war America, while bold colors symbolized the country’s newfound confidence. Earthy tones hinted at a growing awareness of natural elements and a subtle shift towards more organic forms, which would become more prominent in the following decades.

6. Incorporating 1950s Colors Today

If you’re looking to infuse some ’50s flair into your home, consider incorporating these colors through paint, textiles, or accessories. A pastel-colored kitchen, a living room with bold, primary-colored accents, or a bathroom with classic black-and-white tiling can instantly transport you back to this iconic era.


Rediscover the charm and elegance of the 1950s through these decor ideas. Give your home a stylish blast from the past!

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.