Vintage '50s flooring styles

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Vintage '50s flooring styles
Black-and-white flooring was popular in the 1950s. (Marmor Floor image by Sundaysdinner from Fotolia.com)

In the 1950s, modernism became fashionable and interior design incorporated abstract patterns, geometric patterns and interesting colour combinations. A popular look for a home was the American Diner style, with black-and-white floor tiles and bubblegum colours. The sleek designer look, with modernistic furniture and textiles, was also popular. Flooring was often very colourful and patterned, and many people covered walls and ceilings with wallpaper in matching colours and patterns.

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Floor construction

Until the 1950s, most houses had timber floors, but with the improvement of materials such as vinyl and synthetic carpet fibres, other types of flooring became common. Vinyl tiles or carpets were often laid over a concrete floor surface. Interior decorators and homeowners often updated wooden floors by covering them with carpet or vinyl tiles.

Colours

The colour palette changed throughout the 1950s. At first, grey, maroon or burgundy and green colour schemes were popular for interior design and flooring. Later in the decade, people started to embrace brighter pinks with contrasting black and white. Pastel colours were popular for kitchen interiors and a kitchen with pink floor tiles and matching cabinets was very fashionable. Other popular pastel colours were yellow and aquamarine.

Patterns

1950s homeowners would often opt for a checkerboard vinyl floor in red and white, black and white or yellow and white. Brown floors with a bright yellow block pattern were also popular. Striped candy-cane patterns were often used in kitchens. Flooring companies like Armstrong and Goodyear sold speckled floor tiles in a wide colour range, including greys, browns and greens. Floor tiles were often laid in diagonal, geometrical patterns, inspired by Aztec art.

Materials

Rolled linoleum flooring was popular in North America. Vinyl tiles were an inexpensive flooring choice and were often made from asbestos, which was considered a durable material at the time. Cork floor tiles originated in the 1950s, and Armstrong offered many cork flooring designs. Cotton rugs were often used, either for the whole floor surface or scatter rugs. The 1950s also saw the creation of an innovative design: a reversible cotton rug, tufted and looped on both sides to allow double use and longer wear.

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