The 1950’s were an iconic time in American history. The end of World War II brought countless changes to society that made for an exhilarating period, full of progress and discovery. The end of rationing and the booming economy gave rise to a wave of consumers eager to have fun and express themselves.
Art, fashion, and interior design all took on new elements and design styles, many of which are still popular today. The vibrancy and elegant simplicity of the 50’s aesthetic are what makes it so attractive, even 65 years later. Thankfully, many manufacturers today have taken to the task of making modern products that capture the look and feel of the 50’s. Take a look below to see a few, and maybe get some ideas for retro-inspired designs of your own.
1. Old-School Appliance
Appliances are easily one of the most noticeable features of any kitchen. So choosing one with a retro flair is a guaranteed way to catch your guest’s attention. Big Chill is just one of several excellent brands who offer modern day appliances with a 50’s design style. Whether you want a retro fridge, dishwasher, stove, or even a whole set, do some shopping and find out what manufacturers and products work best for you.
Selecting the right color for your space is critical. Before you choose, make sure to decide whether you prefer your appliances to be an accent or a compliment to the rest of your kitchen. Either way, it is certain to become a conversation piece. Not many people expect to see modern homes with perfectly functional appliances that look like they fell out of a time machine.
2. Vintage Metal Sign
If you’re looking for something that’s a little less involved than getting new appliances, but like the idea of retro products that still compliment the design of modern homes, take a look at some vintage tin signs.
The weathering on these signs adds character and implies the history of a piece that has survived the elements. This takes the artwork to a new level, giving you two components to appreciate in one design.
Another great thing about metal signs is how much variety there is in the artwork printed on them. Depending on your interests or aesthetic preferences, you can look for whatever you want – retro beer ads, gas company logos, car manufacturers, or anything else you might be interested in. Stores that specialize in 50’s memorabilia like Nostalgiaville USA are good places to shop around and see what options are available.
3. Rotary Wall Phone
There’s something to be said for retro-inspired pieces that function like they’re brand new. People love interacting with unique or quirky items from the past – especially old technology. Rotary phones are instantly recognizable and are an iconic part of American history.
Considering how far phones have come since the 1950’s, this piece is sure to draw the attention of anyone who lays eyes on it. As if the beautiful design wasn’t enough on its own, some companies like Old Phone Works, sell real 1950’s telephones that have been repaired and refurbished so that they work and look just like new. A real 1950’s rotary phone that actually functions is just too cool, and whoever is lucky enough to use yours will be sure to agree. Be sure to find exactly which color, trim, and style you think will look best in your home.
4. Retro Gas Pump
The retro gas pump is probably the most iconic and jaw-dropping piece of 50’s culture you could ever have in your house. Although they don’t actually pump gas, the level of detail and craftsmanship put into these pieces is phenomenal. Gas Pump Heaven is one of several great websites dedicated to creating vintage gas pumps from scratch. Shop around online and explore the wide range of manufacturers and the customization options they each provide.
You could opt for one of the classic gasoline brands pumps from the 50’s, or get creative and customize the color, artwork, and body style of your pump. Some stores even have the option to make the pumps into taps for serving beer and other drinks, as well as options for pumps with TV screens or shelves. Make sure to explore all your possibilities and consider the space you intend to put it before making your purchase.
5. Neon Sign
Bursting back onto the scene after the economically depressive period of World War II, neon signs flourished in the 50’s. They became a hallmark of the era due to the sheer volume that was used by businesses and shops. Advertising literally everything, these attention-grabbing, hand-made works of art can come in virtually any form.
Everything from diners to barbers to beer companies and cars has neon signs crafted in their likeness, so you can express your aesthetic taste or your favorite brand without limitation. And, with online shops like Garage Art and others, you can look at dozens of choices before you buy. The uniqueness of having a neon sign in your house, basement, garage, or wherever is sure to capture the eye of any of your guests and add vibrant energy to the space.
For those looking to add an unmissable and instantly recognizable splash of 50’s culture or design, these are an excellent choice.
Written by Margaret Brown
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