The 1950s was a time of post-war exuberance and kitchens often seemed to reflect the mood of the era: colourful and virbant. In the 21st century there is increased demand for decorating with a 1950s inspired look or restoring 1950s elements, like kitchens. Countertops are an important starting point for any 1950s kitchen restoration or renovation as there were distinct styles of countertops popular in the middle of the 20th century.
Formica, a popular brand of laminate, is often associated with the 1950s but many brands of laminate carry products reminiscent of the era. Laminate countertops consist of a plastic coated synthetic, adhered to particle board. Laminate is available in many colours and patterns. When shopping for '50s style laminate look for bright colors popular during the time, like aqua, red, pale pink and yellow. One laminate pattern, called boomerang, stands out as having a recognizably vintage style.
Metal or Square-Edged Laminate
Modern styles of laminate countertops look different than those popular during the 1950s. Contemporary laminate countertops have laminate that typically wraps around the edge of the counter, creating a seamless look and sometimes disguising the fact that the countertop is made from laminate. 1950s countertops were trimmed with silver metal edging or squared off with a square edge profile. In either case, the effect was more angular and should be recreated for an authentic 1950s look.
Tile countertops were also popular in the 1950s. Like laminate, the materials are still available today but the style distinguishes modern tiles from tile used in 1950s kitchens. To achieve a vintage-inspired look, select colors popular during the era: black, white, red, aqua, pale pink or yellow. A checkerboard pattern is an authentically 1950s look and can help make newly-purchased tile look retro.
Butcher Block Countertops
Less common than tile or laminate, butcher block countertops were also in some 1950s kitchens. A classic countertop, butcher block requires no staining or painting which means that it can be difficult to date the era of a butcher block counter. It requires only mineral oil as a finish. Butcher block is not traditionally associated with 1950s and has less of the kitsch factor of laminate and checkerboard tile.
- Photo Credit George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
Metal Edging for Countertops
Frequent impacts from chairs, bags, people and pets leave countertop edges highly vulnerable to damage. Metal edging not only protects against ugly...
How to Update Laminate Countertops
Many homeowners live with dated laminate countertops because they are concerned updating them will be too expensive. Luckily, two inexpensive options are...
How to Clean and Shine a 50s Formica Table
Formica has been a tabletop choice for decades. Formica is made of laminate that resembles the natural look of wood or stone....
Laminate Countertop Metal Trim Installation
Trimming your laminate countertops offers a change of pace from the norm, while at the same time giving your counters a retro...
Vintage '50s Flooring Styles
In the 1950s, modernism became fashionable and interior design incorporated abstract and geometric patterns and interesting color combinations. A popular look for...
Kitchen Colors of the 1930s, 1940s & 1950s
Since the start of the 20th century, dozens, if not hundreds, of labor-saving appliances and devices have been invented solely for use...
Appropriate Countertops for the 1950s Kitchen
Arguably more vibrant than the modern 21st-century kitchen, where stainless steel reigns, the signatures of 1950s kitchen countertops are bright colors and...
Retro Kitchen Cabinets & Countertop Ideas
Some people want to add personality to their kitchens with retro style and décor. This type of decorating theme is often easily...