Floor Coverings in the 1950s

Written by amie martin
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Floor Coverings in the 1950s
Mid-century flooring signatures include vibrant colours, geometric patterns and complementary "flecks." (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

During the 1950s, people turned their attention from the war back to the home. While frugality was still in play, many households also celebrated in the resurging economy with home improvements and even new home constructions. Flooring was essential and distinctive, and many of the 1950s flooring trends are still seen today.


Black and white are signature 1950s flooring colours and were usually seen in a checkerboard pattern, though black was also often used as an accent to a predominantly white floor. After the war, manufacturers introduced an array of colours to flooring materials to stimulate new purchases: kitchens often used vibrant colours such as patriotic reds and blues as well as the more daring turquoise and flamingo pink while bathrooms, bedrooms and living rooms predominantly used more muted, but nonetheless vivid, colours such as aqua, classic pink, robin's egg blue and yellow.


The post-war 1950s were not only colourful, they were futuristic -- at least for the time. In addition to the classic black and white checkerboard, "atomic" and "boomerang" patterns featured complementary and juxtaposing colours in geometric shapes. "Flecks" of colour were also common in 1950s flooring; a turquoise linoleum floor, for instance, was often infused with flecks of other favourite colours of the time, such as pink, blue and yellow. Tile floors often featured a predominant colour (usually white) with a coloured geometric pattern in repetition around the room or larger areas of the flooring.


Many existing 1950s homes still had some original wood flooring. As homes were remodelled or new homes built, the focus in materials turned to the newer linoleum, vinyl and tiles which were newly available in the wide array of colours and patterns of the time and were especially common in high-spill areas such as the kitchen and bathroom because they were also easy to clean. While area rugs covered some of the "old" hardwood flooring, wall-to-wall "shag" (long pile) carpeting was increasingly found in the living rooms and bedrooms of 1950s homes.

Modern Retro Application

If you have a mid-century home with carpeting, you have considered pulling it up, and chances are there is wood flooring underneath. The vintage hardwood flooring many desire today was considered colonial and old during this decade and was often covered up with carpeting -- a luxurious trend of the time. Or if you're a fan of the 1950s look and feel, choose a checkerboard floor pattern in either the signature black and white of the time or juxtaposing vibrant colours, which also echo the vibrancy of 1950s home decor.

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