1950s-style kitchen tables

Written by amie martin
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1950s-style kitchen tables
The 1950s diner booth inspires today's retro breakfast nook. (Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Mid-century and 1950s design is increasingly popular in the 21st-century, and the kitchen is no exception. The post-war 1950s was a time when the kitchen truly became the heart of the home. In addition to meals, the kitchen was a gathering spot and centre of other family activities, so seating of various kinds was vital.

Dinette Set

The dinette set is the 1950s version of today's kitchen table. In previous decades, the meal was prepared in the kitchen and served in the dining room, but as more families gathered in the kitchen for meals during the 1950s, the kitchen table became known as the mini dining room table, or "dinette" set.

Dinette tabletops were made of Formica, which was available in the vibrant array of colours and patterns of 1950s kitchen counter tops and appliances, with chrome trim and legs. Generally seating four to six people, the chairs also had chrome trim and legs with vinyl seat cushions and backs to match the Formica tabletop.

Pub Set

The 1950s pub set, also known as a cafe set, is currently known as a bistro set and sat much higher than a traditional table. The pub set was used in smaller kitchens with little dinette space and comfortably sat two to three people, although four could be seated in larger spaces. The pub set brought the feeling of the popular 1950s diner and soda shop to the home kitchen and encouraged gathering and meals, even if the kitchen didn't accommodate traditional seating. Other than its height, the pub set was designed with the same 1950s Formica top, chrome trim and legs, and the seating -- stools -- also had chrome trim and legs with vinyl seat cushions, but no back.

Diner Booth

Today's breakfast nook is a modern version of the 1950s diner booth. Many 1950s kitchens mimicked the popular diner and soda shop hangouts of the time to encourage the youth to stay home during the post-war era but give them the same "hangout" feeling. Ideally nestled in a corner of the kitchen by a window, the diner booth utilised the same Formica top with chrome trim and legs as the dinette table, but instead of movable chairs, cushioned vinyl-covered benches anchored the table in a fixed "L" or "U" shape or had two separate benches on opposite sides of the tabletop.

Kitchen Island

In the 21st century, the kitchen island is on many wish lists, and it was borne in the 1950s to accommodate the increased activity and need for counter space. Though the island was not designed specifically as a table for seating, 1950s kitchens with a pub set had an easy conversion by using its pub stools at the island and using it as a table for quick meals, or pub stools were purchased specifically for this alternative purpose.

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