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10 Tips to Decorate a Modern Home with 1950s Furniture

1950s Furniture

When you dress up your home with 1950s decor and furniture, you bring a retro sense of style that will elevate your look. With the right touches, you can create a look that blends aspects of old and new — even in the most modern home. But how do you know where to begin?

Read on to learn 10 tips that can help you spice up a modern home with 1950s furniture!

1. Clean Lines Should Be Everywhere in 1950s Furniture

When it comes to 1950s furniture, clean lines are the dominant feature. Furniture from this time prioritizes functionality and clean design over fussy detailing. The end result looks sleek, clean, and sometimes even curvaceous. And this look will blend right in with a modern home.

If you're hoping to achieve a 1950s style in your furniture, embrace the Scandinavian and Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. The Mid-Century Modern style was popular in the 1950s, and it has seen a resurgence in popularity today. Its minimalistic appearance is the perfect way to add a retro touch to your living space. 

Populate your living room with sofas and chairs that reflect this look. The clean lines of the legs and cushions will help your room look large and open. And the subtle style will complement the architectural lines in any modern home!

2. Make Geometry Central to Your Design

Another way to introduce retro furniture into your home is to use designs that were popular at the time for inspiration. And when you're looking at 1950s designs, geometry is key. From hexagons to ovals, shapes can be front and center in your furniture choices.

Toss a few plaid throw pillows on your curved sofa. And rest your feet on a hexagonal ottoman after a long day at work. Focus on choosing furniture pieces that show off a geometric shape for a clean design.

Another option is to look for ways to add geometric touches through the patterns in your wallpaper or the paintings on your walls. But avoid getting too busy with how many shapes you introduce since you'll want to retain a cleaner overall look. Place an angular sofa in a neutral color against a backdrop of wavy wallpaper for an exciting combination.

3. Weave Wood into Your Decor

Wood is a common feature in 1950s decor — and it's a great way to introduce a retro touch to your home. In a modern home with concrete floors or sharp lines, a few touches of wood can add a nice sense of warmth. And your furniture is the perfect place to introduce it.

Woods like teak, beechwood, and maple were common in retro furniture. Lighter colors paired with pastel or bold cushions made for memorable kitchen chairs in the 1950s. You can bring this sensibility to your own kitchen, office, or dining room.

Opt for beechwood chairs for a clean and sturdy sense of style. The clean design of the Mid-Century Modern legs will show off the natural beauty of the wood. Keep the wood stains lighter if you want your style to be as close to a Scandinavian-inspired look as you can get.

4. Retro Chairs Can Spice Up a Living Room

If you own a bulky sofa or some ragged wing chairs, consider upgrading them with furniture that nods to the past. 1950s chairs or tables will make any living space look refined without skimping on comfort. Plus any piece of 1950s furniture will spice up a contemporary space.

In a living room, velvet wing chairs would pair well with a slate coffee table or modern sofa for a vintage look. The fabric's shimmer will catch the light and add an unexpected note of texture to your space. Try pairing matching chairs in deep blue with an orange sofa for a bold and futuristic aesthetic.

Textiles featuring fruit in bold colors or interlocking abstract shapes are another effective way to craft a vintage look in your modern space. Introduce textiles into reupholstered vintage furniture or drapery.

Add some laminate end tables on either side of a Mid-Century sofa in mint green, and you'll achieve a vintage style that will impress your guests. You don't have to ditch all of your modern furniture, though. Just find ways to weave in a few vintage pieces to build an inviting space.

5. Mix Up 1950s Patterns and Textures

If you're looking for 1950s retro furniture, keep your eyes open for vintage patterns and textures — and don't be afraid to mix and match them. You don't have to restrict the patterns and fun textures to your furniture, either. Look to your walls, throws, rugs, and pillows as places where you can make a retro statement in a modern space.

Intense and even dizzying patterns were a fixture in the 1950s. To complement your modern space, find wallpaper that makes you feel as if you're looking through a kaleidoscope. While you won't want to cover an entire room in a wallpaper like this, you can create an accent wall or use a bedspread to build a focal point through the pattern.

Wallpapers with floral patterns and knotty pine paneling are other ways to build texture and pattern into your space. Whether you play up the presence of woodgrain in your kitchen cabinets or intensify a powder room with some floral wallpaper, you can add a 1950s flavor. Or try redoing your dining room chairs in a bold floral pattern.

Another place to add some patterns? Your floor. You can bring in an unexpected look by going retro with linoleum flooring. 

A pattern featuring squares within squares is the perfect nod to Josef Albers, whose minimalist artwork was a force in the 1950s. Alternatively, you could try zigzags in bold and contrasting colors to make your kitchen a showpiece.

6. Make Your Kitchen into a Diner with Retro Furniture

Have you ever thought about turning your kitchen into a diner? For the ultimate decor makeover with a 1950s twist, consider making this change. From retro diner chairs to a dazzling Formica countertop, you can mix this style into your modern home.

The 1950s saw the emergence of tv dinners and other ways of making dinner prep a lot easier. As a result, kitchen decor took on a new look. Chrome was the popular material of the time for its futuristic look, and the format of the kitchen changed, too.

Chrome-legged tables and vinyl-backed chairs are easy ways to bring a 1950s look to your kitchen. The lines are rounded and the colors can be bold. They'll pair well with a shiny, retro refrigerator or some gleaming new appliances on your kitchen counter.

You'll be able to introduce retro kitchen chairs or stools that will add a touch of the 1950s to your space. An eat-in kitchen with a diner-like counter will become a fun place to gather with your loved ones and talk about the day. And the clean, curvy lines will be the perfect complement to the contemporary look of your cabinets or flooring.

7. Light Fixtures Can Be Works of Art

Another way to create a 1950s style? Focus on the lights in your home. Lighting wasn't just a necessity in the 1950s — it became a way to show your personal style.

When you start thinking of lamps and lighting scenarios as works of art, you can find ways to accessorize and make your home sparkle. And you can find lighting options that reflect either the Mid-Century Modern style's clean lines or a playful, science-inspired look that also was popular at the time.

If you like biomorphic shapes and glossy surfaces, look for lamps inspired by the Atomic Age. You can get a lamp for your end table that might not even look like a lamp — and it will be the perfect conversation starter. You also can find hanging lights that feature spokes of light emerging from a central orb, or simple shapes reminiscent of space ships.

But if a more understated vibe is your preference, you can embrace the clean lines in your lighting choices. Look for simple drum shapes for your shades, and stick with neutral colors. You'll be referencing the Scandinavian style and find the ideal complement for modern furniture.

Lighting can go a long way toward illuminating a room — and showing off everything inside it. A vintage light fixture in your kitchen can spotlight retro vinyl chairs or a vintage chrome table. And a stunning lamp in your living room can provide a wonderful ambiance during a cocktail party.

8. Don't Overlook Your Walls When You're Adding 1950s Furniture

Walls set off your furniture, so don't forget to consider adjusting them to complement your retro dinette set or wingchair. You can dress up — or dress down — your walls to achieve the perfect 1950s look.

To achieve the right style, your options range from bold and dazzling wallpaper to a more stripped-down look. As a surprising option, you could even slap some flat white paint onto your walls to achieve a 1950s style.

Why go with white? White was a popular choice for walls in the 1950s because it showed off the bold colors of the furniture and fixtures. It also highlights the striking silhouettes of Scandinavian-style furniture.

You could move in the other direction and try some wallpaper with textures like woodgrain or the popular boomerang style. You don't need to cover your entire family room in something so bold. Try using an accent wall as a way to add a pop of intensity without overwhelming your furniture.

9. Choose the Right Colors for a 1950s Look

When you're looking at 1950s colors, you can keep things more muted with pastels or neutrals — or notch things up with bold primaries. Any of these options will be a great way to reference some vintage style in your living quarters. 

For the ultimate bold look, try some sofa pillows in primary colors and striking patterns. Or go with retro chairs in bold colors that will punch up your kitchen. Try variations on yellow, like mustard, for a true 1950s vibe that looks modern.

For a more subdued look in keeping with the Scandinavian style, choose warm grays and browns. You'll create a soothing space that will show off the natural qualities of your materials. 

While the color schemes of 1950s furniture could vary, another approach favored colors like turquoise, pink, and yellow. Retile your bathroom in pink or yellow subway tile and put up bold and ornate wallpaper to complete the look. Or go with light blue, which was a frequent choice for furniture and fixtures in 1950s kitchens. 

10. Add a Space Age Touch

It's not just the big pieces of furniture and flooring that define the 1950s style. The wall art and decorative items can go a long toward creating a unique style. And the 1950s style found inspiration in the scientific achievements of the time.

The 1950s were defined by the Atomic Age and Space Age. America emerged from World War II with a new sense of hope and prosperity — and a lot of interest in scientific advances and space. This interest influenced the design and decor of the decade.

What does Space Age design look like? It's sleek, asymmetrical, and bold. And it makes anyone looking at it think of science and space.

You can add this sense of style to any modern space easily. Try adding some artwork that reflects a bold and organic look. Go with large paintings that reflect the punchy style of the time, or try a sunburst mirror to fill a larger wall.

And don't be afraid to mix and match different looks. Some retro diner chairs in your kitchen would look great with a biomorphic lamp hanging above the table.

Add Retro Furniture to Your Home

Adding 1950s furniture to a modern home can produce a unique look that will set your living space apart from the rest. You'll get the sophistication of clean lines and the liveliness of bold colors and patterns all at once. And you'll have fun mixing it up in the process!

Finding the right chairs and tables can elevate your dining experience. When you're ready to upgrade your style, contact us and we can help.

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