April 12, 2011

A great 1950s example of decorating a dual purpose room

Day 102 of Vintage 365

While definitely vividly hued and inviting, there's nothing (save perhaps for those cheerful candy cane-esque chairs) that really sets this living-slash-dinning room from 1955 apart from what many similar rooms of the era looked like, and that is precisely why I like it.

This modest sized corner looks homey and cosy. It's lived in and filled with various decor elements, but stops effectively short of being needlessly busy. Instead of being a grandly designed living room or dining room all on its own, this dual purpose room is one that many apartment, condo, and small house owners are very familiar with: the joint dining and living room (in fact, I'm sitting in exactly such as room in my apartment as I type this post).

It can be a challenge to furnish and attractively decorate such a room, as you need to serve at least two functions yet not have it seem either under or over designed. In my humble abode we use the back of the couch as a natural divider between the dinning area (with it's lovely mahogany wood table and chairs) and the living area, which houses the TV, couch, love seat, coffee table and a pretty dark burgundy hued rug (that matches that curtains running across the windows on both halves of the room).

As my husband is keen on pointing out, there isn't a lot of space in this part of the house, however we both agree it doesn't seem cluttered at all (in fact, I think it could use with a few more adornments, but I'm equally content with how it is for the time being) - and I get that same feeling when I look at this cheery 1950s Modern Living Room (which hails from Miss Retro Modern's enjoyable Flickr stream), with it's punchy bursts of lipstick red, cool snowflake white, and creamy pea soup green rugs and sofa.

This strikes me as a young person or couple's room, created as many are with an array of different practical items (table and chairs, shelves, seating, etc) that don't clash, yet also don't seem as though they were purposely purchased to all match perfectly.

They're real and honest. Exactly the sort of pieces and colours I'd imagine many younger folks of the era adorning their homes proudly with - and which still serve as home decor inspiration for people of all ages and house size today.


  1. It's nice to see the mixture of wood tones! You don't see that too often and I get stuck when decorating on thinking it must all be "blonde" or "dark" wood. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love it! We have a 1920s house and our bedroom was added on in 1959. It has big built in closets with built in dressers. Viva la 50s!

  3. This is so interesting! I've been giving a lot of thought to this kind of apartment space lately, as I am in a few months moving out of a place with a not-so-well-arranged multipurpose room and will surely be moving someplace where I have to construct another one (though perhaps I'll be able to afford a regular-sized kitchen perhaps? Eh, Montreal rent control? Eh?)

    I tend toward a more ramshackle approach usually (the "throw all the bright colors into the living room and see whether any of them clash" school of home decor) but it's so true that tying things together, like you pointed out, doesn't mean everything needs to match up perfectly as long as there are some common themes (colors, etc). Maybe I'll be a bit more ambitious this time with my room coordination...

  4. I want those red and white chairs. I will dream about them. I will scheme to recreate them. Oh no, your post has unleashed a monster... with good taste! Loved it.