Homes in the 1950s are surprisingly bold and charismatic, given the modest stereotype about the time period. Also known as the "atomic age," the 1950's were a time of emotional discomfort and financial success in the U.S. While there was often "a car in every garage," a lot of trouble, as always, lurked within that fake comfort. The color scheme from the era shows that kind of distress in some ways. While 1950's colors for a house were often sensible -- beige siding and dark red shudders -- the range of colors in interiors and exteriors made it a very bright and, at times, audacious color period.
Chartreuse, olive, pea green, mint and dark hunter green were all common interior and exterior house colors. Chartreuse, a similar color to pale green, is ideal for an interior house renovation in a 1950's style. Home exteriors often had a green trim around the front of the house, dark green shutters or the top or bottom of the house's siding was painted green. Inside the home, living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms were often painted green, which brought warmth to a room, while cool colors like gray or blue kept the room "chilly."
Beige is the standard 1950's color for a house. Exteriors were often painted beige to create continuity within a suburban neighborhood sprawl. The ABC production designer for the TV series "Desperate Housewives," Tom Walsh, searched for an ideal 1950's style neighborhood as inspiration for the set. The areas he found in Southern California, he said, were "too beige." Instead of looking at home designs, he looked at 1950's advertising for colors that were louder, or "spicier," and would attract attention. Home decoration advertisements in the 1950s showed off daring, creative color combinations for home exteriors and interiors, such as Robin's egg blue, yellow, cream and peach.
Rose colored paints were often used on a home's exterior. Because the 1950's style was to be creative, but still compatible with the color scheme in the neighborhood, homeowners chose to have the top or bottom half of the house painted rose and the other half painted a more neutral color, like brown or beige.
A cherry red color often shows up in 1950's kitchens and bathrooms. The cherry red color was often used as an accent color, a color that makes a room "pop" with the rest of the room's more neutral colors. Bright red paint appears in tiled kitchen floors, borders around cupboards, or inside cupboards and shelves.
- Historic House Colors: 1950's
- Retro Renovation: 1950s and 60s paint colors --- from Sears' classic Harmony House collection Read more: 1950s and 60s paint colors --- from Sears' classic Harmony House collection; Pam Kueber; Jan. 2008
- Hirshfields: ABC's "Desperate Housewives": The Paint Colors of Wisteria Lane; Christiana Guppy; 2006
- Historic House Colors: Fan Deck
- Flickr: American Vintage Home: 1950's Kitchens- Youngstown Series
- Photo Credit Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images
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