1950s Contemporary Style Homes

Written by ali mcculloch
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1950s Contemporary Style Homes
A pastel colour scheme typifies the 1950s. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The 1950s produced many innovative furniture designers who worked with modern shapes and materials to create simple pieces that are still relevant today. It's still possible to find original pieces in vintage shops, and furniture manufacturers are producing reissues of the original designs with which to furnish a contemporary home.

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Many 1950s designers are still hugely popular for contemporary interiors. The 1950s style is typified by materials like plastic and bent plywood and simple, elegant shapes with minimal adornment. Inspired by the Bauhaus, 1950s designers looked for their designs to be fit for purpose, rather than overly decorative. Designers to look out for are Arne Jacobsen, famous for the Ant chair that still makes a great dining chair today, and Charles and Ray Eames, whose lounge chair and fibreglass rockers are typical 1950s furniture designs that would look great in a contemporary interior.


Textiles in the 1950s typically feature simplified motifs, inspired by the art nouveau movement and the modern atomica trend. Look for designs that feature stylised leaf and plant motifs, and use them as cushions in a contemporary interior. Lucienne Day is a good name to look out for in textile design from the '50s. Bouclé was popular in the '50s, so use it as an upholstery fabric in a contemporary interior.


Use 1950s-inspired accessories to bring a touch of mid-century style to a contemporary home. Look for sunburst or atomica-inspired clocks, and tripod lamps designed by names such as Eames and George Nelson. Fornasetti designed wonderful découpage-style accessories in the '50s, including plates and magazine racks. Murano glass ducks were popular ornaments and are collectable today. A Bakelite telephone would complete the look.

Colour Schemes

Sugary pinks, pale teal blues and mustard yellow were all in fashion in the '50s, and adopting an ice cream colour palette is a great way of bringing '50s style into a contemporary home. Don't slavishly recreate the mid-century colour scheme, but use one or two of the colours as highlights in a neutral colour palette, or use more muted, pastel, versions of the colours to contemporize the '50s colour scheme.

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