'50s Countertops

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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.

Laminate Countertops

  • 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

  • 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.

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  • Photo Credit George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images
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