Accurate UK 1959 Bedroom

Mid-century inspired bedroom

Accurate UK 1959 Bedroom

But this room is a mess, it’s a riot of patterns and colours with nothing, it seems, to bind it altogether. Can this really be the way that rooms looked at the end of the 1950s?

Interior design, except for a few and perhaps more affluent households, was still in the development stage during the years after the Second World War. For most householders in the United Kingdom decorating consisted of going to a shop and looking at wallpaper, carpet or fabric and deciding on one to use with little consideration for the other elements in the room.

The post-war years produced, as may be expected, a feeling of optimism and excitement after the drab and horrific experiences of the 1940s. This optimism showed itself in the patterns and colours that were being produced. Householders, for the most part, were happy to choose strongly patterned wallpaper, fabric and carpets because it suited the mood of the time and made their houses look colourful and up-to-the-minute.

The idea of having an overall scheme for a room seems to have developed later and the room above is probably reminiscent of the way that most rooms would have looked at this time.

This is the same room that I have used elsewhere as an early 1950’s bedroom and it is fanciful to suppose that the occupant, perhaps an older daughter or other unmarried relative, has since found a partner. The room now has a double bed rather than a single, a much larger wardrobe with matching dressing table and a rather nice bow-fronted bedside table. In addition, the room is much lighter in feel and, despite the jumble of colours and patterns, much more homely.

Further down the age scale, at this time in the late 1950s, teenagers had appeared and were beginning to exert their influence both in terms of money and pressure on their parents to change the character of rooms, in particular bedrooms. Into the 1960s this would have the effect of changing the role of a bedroom from simply a room in which to sleep to a room designed to double as a sitting and eating room.

Interestingly, this room still has a net curtain at the window and nets would continue to be a feature of rooms throughout the mid-century. It was not until much later that younger householders began to remove nets. Even today in the United Kingdom it is possible to see net curtains at windows.

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

1950’s Restrained Wallpaper

wallpaper

1950’s restrained wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Restrained Wallpaper swatch in alternative colour

Mid-century wallpapers tended to be quite restrained compared to what was to come in the following decade and for many people they bore more than a passing resemblance to pre-war designs.

However, change was in progress and this decade saw some radical designs by new and upcoming designers as they began to push the boundaries of what was considered appropriate and normal. However, much of this design was deemed too advanced to be put into production for general use and, for most households in the United Kingdom, the 1950’s walls were clad with muted and unadventurous motifs and colours.

This particular design for a bedroom is, I think, the sort of wallpaper that may well have been chosen to redecorate a room for the new decade. Teenagers had yet to be invented and bedrooms were seen solely as rooms in which to sleep rather than rooms which could double as a sitting room. One further factor that stifled modern design was a lack of new and exciting furniture. In Britain, rationing continued during the first part of the 1950s and thereafter, although rationing ceased and incomes were beginning to rise, there was a period of catching up before people were able to fully furnish their homes and enjoy the fruits of their labours. Most people would have been more concerned with the look of the downstairs rooms rather than rooms use only for sleeping.

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

1950’s Furnishing Fabric

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Furnishing Fabric

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Furnishing Fabric

Work is proceeding well on the 1950’s rooms with the bedroom and dining areas almost complete and work now in progress on the living room.

The image above displays the fabric that will be used for the living room sofa and has been developed to resemble, I hope, the type of textile that would have been available to a furniture manufacturer at that time.

Research in books and on the internet seems to show that fabric was mostly plain at this time although I am not sure this was the case. Before the war, furniture was very soberly patterned using in many cases a rather non-descript and non-confrontational floral. The reason for this was partly fashion and partly, I believe, because rooms were created darker with both less natural and less artificial light. After the war, rooms began to have larger and less cluttered windows and there appears to have been a definite trend for letting in as much light into as possible. Advances in lightbulb technology also meant that 100 watt bulbs were relatively cheap and so rooms were also quite light at night.

Because rooms became brighter and because of the optimism and general euphoria of the 1950s, furniture in general tended to become lighter in both colour and design. As the decade changed to the 1960s, furnishings began to use more interesting and less usual colours, for example, a very light grey was used – a trend that still exists today. These colours made people more conscious of the decorations in the room and, with the new interest in DIY, this led to interior design being within the scope of every household.

To foreshadow this trend, I have created a non-complex – all right, simple – pattern that creates a striped effect on the furniture. I have used quite a light colour which, as you will see later, looks good and correct in the living room.

I always keep notes of the colours I use for patterns although occasionally if I change colours I can forget to update them. However, this time I am confident that my notes are accurate so the background is graphite with the circles being middle brown, Congo brown, mid Brunswick Green, marble green and finally dark Admiralty grey. This seems a lot of colours for very little effect although it does create what I think is a pleasant, engaging and attractive striped design.

As the living room set is still under construction I have shown the pattern on a sofa and chair in my standard furniture set. As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

Procedural Carpet

carpetTest03_1000

Procedural Carpet

I’ve been making carpets over the weekend, intending to try to create a simple carpet that I can easily recolour and to an extend re-pattern to suit whatever room I am using.

Like most people in 3D, I create carpets by using an image that is a pattern and this is a relatively quick and easy way to do it. However, it not then possible to easily change the style or the colour without creating a new image, all of which takes time and means that I end up with vast libraries of the same pattern but in different hues.

This pattern, however, is created using the mathematics of the 3D program (Cinema 3D) and can be recoloured easily and, to an extent, re-patterned. The result, as you can see, is a reasonable carpet texture although the scope to use different patterns is more limited that I had thought.

This exercise was sparked, in part, by a decision to look at some new texture creation software, Substance Designer. This program creates a vast variety of procedural textures using plug-in nodes. It’s a good system but there is a learning curve cost and most of the textures I have seen are more suited to games rather to retro architecture.   And so, after some thought, I think I have decided to stick to image textures and simply accept that I will have to enlarge my library!

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

1950’s bedspread

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s bedspread

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s bedspread Swatch

As the 1950s progressed, patterns began to take their place once again in the various rooms of the house which had hitherto suffered from the plainness and drabness of wartime.

One place where there was immediately space for patterns was in the bedroom and so, as well as some nice new curtains, I have added a new bedspread.

This design is in keeping with the 1950s in colour and style although the motif is my own. The background is chestnut and the householder has chosen this to go with the curtains and to provide a large area of colour to make the bed look warm since there is no heating source in the bedroom. For many people, this was a time of cold bedrooms but warm hot water bottles!

To provide some variety and to allow me to show other features of the 1950s, I wanted to create a night-time scene and so I have added a table light to allow the occupant to read at night-time before going to sleep. A book and spectacle case was already there along with the ever-present ashtray (something rarely seen in bedrooms these days).

I have not included a swatch for this image since it is not, in fact, a real pattern, it not being designed to have a repeat.

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

1950’s Mask Bedroom Curtains

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Mask Bedroom Curtains

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Mask Bedroom Curtains Swatch

I have been busy producing curtain patterns so that I have some choice when it comes to creating the final images for the various rooms involved in the mid-century 1950s project.

This design, it is called masks, is my own creation although I think it is the sort of motif that could have been used early mid-century and I have tried to produce a repeat pattern that looks like the type of curtaining which could have been purchased off-the-shelf at that time. The colour is Post-Office red for the background whilst the motif uses magnolia for the fill and for the stroke. These are both colours that would have been available, and would certainly have been used, in the late 1950s.

The room is my new 1950’s bedroom set. It is designed to recreate the sort of bedroom that would have been available in the United Kingdom in the middle to late years of that decade. As you can see, it is quite sparsely furnished since furniture was not that easy to buy new and, following the war, there was not a ready supply available second hand.

The wardrobe is perhaps an older piece that may well have been produced before or during the war whilst the dressing table and matching chest of drawers (which you will see later) are intended to represent 1950’s design. The bed, likewise, is perhaps an old item manufactured before or during the war and probably handed down since this would have been the bedroom of an unmarried son or daughter, or possibly a single adult. Following the war there were a great number of people who had lost loved ones and were on their own. For this reason, and partly because of the shortage of housing, a great number of people lived in extended families – something that does not seem to happen today.

As you can see, the carpets are what we would now call rugs covering the boarded floor. Fitted carpet was certainly available, now that tufted carpet had been created, although, once again, new carpet was quite expensive. It is perhaps a little later that all the rooms in a house would have had fitted carpet.

Since I want this room to look, to an extent, generic I have not included a lot of personal items and, indeed, the kind of personal items found in bedrooms today would not have been found in rooms of the 1950s. With the possible exception of transistor radios, which would have been available in the late 1950s, there was no entertainment other than perhaps a book and therefore bedrooms were places in which you slept.

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

1950’s Dining Room Curtains

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Dining Room Curtains

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950’s Dining Room Curtains Swatch

Work is progressing well on the four 1950s rooms that I am presently creating, so well that I unable to turn my attention to textures for the curtains.

As you would expect, I have a library of books about the mid-century decades in the UK and several of these books show patterns for curtains. However, there is a tendency, both in written work and on the internet, to show the type of patterns that were at the leading-edge of design rather than those that may have been chosen by the average householder. Whilst this is not a problem, it does give people the impression that the 1950s looked different to the way that it in fact did.

Whilst I want to use the best of mid-century design I also want to be true to the period and to the way that the majority of people would have decorated their houses. The curtain pattern that I have used is the type of pattern that I think a normal British householder would have chosen. The same applies to the selection of colours in the room and also, to the furniture and furnishing used within the room.

Since I know a lot of people are interested in the colours that I use, the background to the curtain pattern is clover leaf, while the colours used are Post-Office red, lovely Montella and for the strokes, off-white, mimosa and brass. All of these colours are taken from the British Standard Colour chart for the time.

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.