1950s Style Wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950s Style Wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950s Style Wallpaper Swatch

The 1950s produced some very innovative wallpaper from the talented designers that were beginning to emerge from the United Kingdom and from elsewhere in Europe.

For the average British homeowner, however, wallcovering tended to be much more traditional and people, perhaps unsurprisingly, choose similar types of wallpaper to that which would have been in use pre-war. This is another way of saying that it took time for the new designs and ideas to be generally accepted.

This design uses colours that would have been available in the palette of the 1950s designer although the motif is purely my own. I do like to think, however, that it is the type of motif could well have been produced at the time.

I have applied it to the wall of a room that I have used before and I think it gives a good idea of the way that a room would have looked decorated with a modern and up-to-the-minute wallpaper. The furnishings in the room, although not specifically intended to be 1950s, are the type of furniture frequently seen mid-century.

In order to provide a comparison, I have shown the swatch with a very light silver background, the motif colours being Post-Office red and chocolate.

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

1950s Lounge Curtain Fabric

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950s Lounge Curtain Fabric

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

1950s Lounge Curtain Fabric Swatch

Developing my 1950s theme and as a companion to the mid-century wallpaper that I showed yesterday and the day before, this is a surface design for a textile shown here as curtaining.

Floral patterns pre-war tended to be quite complex and this complexity began to unravel during the early mid-century period. This followed a general trend in art to make elements much simpler and to strip away any excess ornamentation.

The background to this textile is Atlantic blue while the motif is in either Post-Office red or alternatively canary yellow. The motif is stylised and the design is a simple one without any excess ornamentation and without any extra colouring. The effect is to produce a strong pattern that would have caught the eye of a visitor. In keeping with the trend of the 1950s the room also has a strongly patterned wallpaper. I have moved the camera a little closer to the wall so that the wallpaper is not quite so obvious.

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

Again 1950s Lounge Wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

Again 1950s Lounge Wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

Again 1950s Lounge Wallpaper Swatch

This is another 1950s living room wallpaper which is, in its way, quite different from the pattern that I posted yesterday and yet it, too, represents the best of that decade.

This is based on the sort of floral patterns that were appearing early in the 1950s and which were based themselves on patterns that had appeared before the war. I have a hatred of floral patterns which is a purely personal thing and for that reason I tend not to produce many but it would be wrong not to show that they were used, and used in quantity.

The overall effect of floral patterns, in my opinion, is to appear as background and that is exactly what this pattern, to me at least, seems to do. However, it is a pleasant effect and a wallpaper that even today I would be able to live with.

As ever, you can also see larger versions of this along with a colour variation which is well worth seeing and, of course, my other designs and patterns on my fabulous and ever-growing Flickr page which is here.

Late 1950s Lounge Wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

Late 1950s Lounge Wallpaper

Mid-century inspired 3D texture

Late 1950s Lounge Wallpaper Swatch

The post-war years began on a mixed note since most people, overjoyed at the end of warfare, were not sure where ideas of design were going.

Initially people must have begun by picking up where they had left off pre-war and I am sure that old stock would have been dusted off and sold first. But, once the 1950s got going, there was a great interest in new design, prompted particularly by various government initiatives.

Towards the end of the 1950s research indicates that most people bought furnishings for their home which were patterned and these patterns were very often much bolder than I had realised. In addition, the way that people thought about interior design was quite different. Rather than produce on paper or in their heads a theme, furnishings were bought simply because they were liked. On the one hand, this meant that rooms could be decorated piecemeal but that also meant that, to modern eyes, rooms looked something of a jumble with patterns mixed together.

In keeping with this idea, today’s wallpaper is a very bright, bold design in colours that stand out and look cheerful and optimistic. The effect is to create a room which definitely does have a colourful and interesting look to it.

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.

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.