Flowered 1950s Wallcovering

Mid-century inspired pattern

Flowered 1950s Wallcovering

Mid-century inspired pattern

Flowered 1950s Wallcovering Swatch

For the majority of people in the UK, the mid-century 1950s decade passed pleasantly enough; wages were rising, employment was readily available and slowly the country was getting back to normal.

So far as interior design was concerned, tastes tended to be less than adventurous with most modern people happy to create rooms that were clean, airy and had a light, uncluttered look. Some very creative and inspiring wallpaper was being designed, but for the most part homeowners were being conservative. The wallpaper shown here is, I think, typical of the type of paper that was being purchased during at least the later years of that decade.

My notes tell me that the background is lovely buttermilk while the motif is red with a chocolate stroke. These, of course, are very mid-century colours from the British Standard in use at the time.

The effect on the room is to create something rather bland and easy-on-the-eye but I think it was the sort of look that people wanted. All over the United Kingdom modern, well-constructed homes were being built that offered clean lines and open space and this decoration suited those rooms perfectly. Against the drab backdrop of war, which was still not far from people’s minds, this must have seemed the best way to create and enjoy the new decade.

If you would like to see larger versions of these designs and my other work then you can do so on my Flickr page, a link to which is here

Three Decades

Mid-century inspired pattern

Three Decades – the 1950s

Mid-century inspired pattern

Three Decades – 1960s and 1970s

Just a pattern today as this is both a mid-century design process and also an ongoing development process and hopefully there will be some similar further patterns that will appear here in the future.

Since I am presently looking at the 1950s mid-century period, the principal image above is a pattern designed for that period and intended primarily as a fabric design. However, it might be possible for it to be used as wallpaper if you accept that it is quite dark.

The exciting part is that I have also produced this as it would have looked a decade later in the 1960s. Here you will see the red background and also, I hope, appreciate the excitement and contrast that was spiralling around in that hectic and innovative period. Not content with that, I have designed it as it could have been created a further decade later in the 1970s (or even perhaps as a modern design today).

This was an interesting, and in its own way a very useful project since it did enable me to compare both styles and designs as well as colouring for the different decades and to stretch my mind and my thinking a little.

If you would like to see larger versions of these designs and my other work then you can do so on my Flickr page, a link to 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.