Elements of 1960's Retro Decorating Style

March 28, 2018 | By 246@dmin | Filed in: Uncategorized.

The Sixties were a time of terrible change, both technologically and socially. The space race was on and the American culture was focused on Sputnik, the Cold War and jet airplanes that were able to transport people faster than ever before.

American culture was also focused on a younger generation that was busy rebelling against long-established traditions. This rebellion had a huge impact on fashion, music and home decor. Everything became more dynamic, graphic and colorful. London was also a major influence on design and trends, especially with their most famous export, The Beatles. In 1964, the first discotheque opened in LA and quickly caught across the country. The high-tech metallic and mirrored look of the discos influenced home and office interior design. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the hippie culture with travel to India and Morocco introduced the "ethnic" look. The words "Peace" and "Love" were seen everywhere as both graphic symbols and as a mantra of a generation. Life in the 60s focused on self-expression and home decor was just the place for people to make their individual statement.

Colors of the 1960s decor are:

Colors were inspired by nature. Green, gold, orange and yellow were very popular and could be found on everything from clothes, home decor and even cars. But in the 60s colors were pumped up to vibrant hues. Psychedelic colors played off one another for maximum impact. Combinations such as fuchsia pink and orange tangerine were placed side-by-side. Bright and metallic vinyl wallpapers are used. Contrasts in black and white were also popular. The desired effect was to create a maximum impact for a striking, provocative look.

Tie-dye, psychedelic, paisley and floral fabrics were popular. The more colorful the fabrics, the better, seen with larger size, stylized flowers and brighter colors than ever before. Neon colors created a very modern look. The hippie look consists of ethnic prints like Indian fabrics made of cotton. Indian saris were used as bedspreads, curtains and wall hangings.

Flat pack furniture, "S" and pod-shaped chairs made of space age shapes and materials were the look. Furniture was made of metal, glass, wood and PVC and sometimes combinations of these. New technologies allowed furniture to be made from molded plastic and formed into organic or space age shapes. A lot of furniture was designed to be disposable and temporary. Open shelving in the Danish style was often used as room separators. Styles were fun and witty overall. Homes were now being built with casual family rooms or dens in addition to having just a formal living room. The TV became the focal point of the family room. TV trays were designed so that dinner could be where the family gathered in front of the television.

The popular flooring trend of the 60s was shag rugs. Also brightly textured rugs and rugs made in India and Morocco. No-wax vinyl floors were coming into vogue, replacing harder to care for linoleum.

Decor Accessories
Accessories were decorated with popular design elements like Siamese cats, mushrooms, roosters, daisies and owls. Copper and other metals were very popular. Pop art inspired by comic books and popular culture (think Andy Warhol and his "Campbell's Soup" painting). Modern art with geometric shapes and vibrant colors decorated homes, as well as psychedelic prints and op art. This look was referred to as "Mod". Posters became an accepted, inexpensive way to decorate. Lighting was exciting with lava lamps and fiber optics. The hippie look created a contrast to the modern techno look, with more muted colors and ethnic patterns. Hanging beads and leather fringe added to the hippie look.

New Technologies
Satellites allowed for transatlantic television, which contributed to Europe's (esp. Great Britain's) influence on American culture. Lucite and colored plastics were used for furniture and home accessories. Tupperware, although it was around since 1946, was in almost every home and was available in an array of colors. There was an emphasis on entertaining, and a multitude of kitchen appliances were created to make gatherings easier and more comfortable. Some of these appliances include electric coffee pots, electric skillets, toaster ovens and fondue pots. Electric ranges had been around since 1882, but were becoming more popular in kitchens in the 1960s.

Overall Look
The overall look of the 60's was clean and open. Modernism and abstract expressionism began to hold hold in the 1960s. The traditional past was rejected and new trends and points of view were celebrated. Design became a means of provoking emotion and reaction. In addition, Minimalism, as a form of Modernism, reduced design to only the most essential elements. In contrast, the "flower power" and Hippie movements were more decorative and ethnic in nature.

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