The good, bad, and ugly of 1955 decorating ideas

The American Home magazine collection from 1955 has been a hoot so far. First there was the bad soup collection, then the green ruin they actually presented as a good idea, and now I have a smattering of miscellany that I’ve found in the bound collection. Not everything presented in the magazine is a bad idea. There are some pictures of kitchens that make me yearn with desire — a sort of “wow-I-love-that-kitchen-and-would-do-just-about-anything-to-have-one-like-it-today” sort of desire.

Youngstown kitchens always catch my eye, no matter what. Is there any kitchen that contains a more classic look?

Complete with boomerang cabinet pulls! (Remember that you can get a modern-day version of these pulls at Rejuvenation.)

I think what I love the most about these old kitchens is the color. Most modern day kitchens are bland and boring — oak cabinetry, oak table, some neutral-colored vinyl and Formica countertop. There are variations, I know, but when I think of most of the kitchens I’ve seen in recent years, they all seem so alike. Perhaps that was true back then, too — almost everyone had color-coordinated kitchens (yellow kitchens, blue kitchens, etc.) that it seemed that they all were decorated alike. Still, I love kitchens that were ultra color coordinated:
OK, maybe there’s a bit too much butterfly in this kitchen. (I noticed a strong trend for having butterflies in the kitchen. Note butterflies in the first picture, too.) Even with the butterflies, though, this kitchen is just cool, complete with a starburst clock. I’m not a big fan of powder blue, but I do like how you could even get appliances to match whatever color inspired you.

A couple of other pictures that caught my attention:
Subtle, ya think? Just in case your woman forgets where the dang stove is, you could lay a floor with a built-in path. That’ll teach her. No more excuses from you, young lady! Walk the path and make me some meatloaf!

Finally, here’s a decorating don’t. It’s OK to have a theme, such as the butterflies above. Seriously, though, it’s not OK to insert your theme into every field of vision available. There is such a thing as color overload:


This room makes me feel vaguely crazy. I’m not sure if it’s the excessive use of pineapples (are they pineapples? The more I look at the picture, I become increasingly unsure) or the heavy-handed use of yellow and brown tones. They tried to mix it up a bit by throwing a bit of purple in there, too, but even purple accents can’t save this room. I actually like the pattern of the couch, but when it’s paired with the “things” on the wall, it’s all too much.

More to come, and many more pages to read. (And miles to go before I sleep, of course.)

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2 Replies to “The good, bad, and ugly of 1955 decorating ideas”

    1. Connie, email American Chairs ( and see if they can help you. Their customer service is excellent and they have always responded promptly to my questions. They might know if that type of cracked ice is available.

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