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Mid-century fashion, vintage pop culture and retro cool... from Expo 67 and beyond.

18 February 2011

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's
Fashion is a reflection of its time, the mirror of society.  Color has always played a pivotal role in fashion, and color trends can speak volumes about an era's social attitudes.

Kitchens are arguably one of the most important rooms of a home, the veritable nerve center of a household. The evolution of kitchen colors from the 1950's to the 70's is a fascinating one.

The 1950's: Pastel Pretty

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's
The post-war 1950's were a time of optimism and prosperity.  While women got a taste of working outside the home during World War II, they went back to their kitchens in the 1950's. Homes were modern and new; it was the birth of suburbia.

Pink was a predominant color in the 1950's.  While red is the color of passion and raw emotion, mixed with white it becomes pink, the color of nurturing.  Soft pinks ushered women back into the home, encouraging them to nurture their husbands and families.

Another important shade of the era was turquoise, a spiritual, healing color.  Turquoise in the 1950's kitchen was meant to encourage positive family relationships.

Yellow represents ego and intellect, and the light, buttery yellow associated with the period represented a need to evolve one's sense of self.

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

The 1960's: Transition and Change

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's
The prim-and-proper 1950's gave way to the far-out 1960's.

Contrary to her 50's counterpart, the 60's woman was getting out of the kitchen. 

Color exploded, echoing the anxiety and rebellion associated with the 1960's. A decade of change, the colors that emerged reflected the issues that concerned not only women, but society in general. Complimentary colors were thrown together in wild combinations.  The mainstreaming of drug culture and psychedelia resulted in bright patterns finding their way on curtains, tablecloths and wallpaper.

Red was at the forefront of these tumultuous times, representing emotional upheavel and rebellion.  A passionate color, 60's red was agitated and restless... it called to action!

Lime green is created by mixing green with yellow, and bright, lime greens were popular in the 60's.  Green is the color of relationships, especially those related to the heart.  Often used with yellow (the color of ego and intellect), the combination represented a renewed sense of self. 

Orange was an important hue, representing transition and change. Pink still had a nurturing quality, but brighter shades containing red undertones represented excess. Graphic black and white were used to intensify the colors around them.

Interesting to note, blue was significantly missing in the 1960's color palette. Blue is calming, it represents honesty, communication and relationships.  Were the times were too turbulent to appreciate blue...?

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

The 1970's: Harvest Gold and Beyond

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's
After the turmoil of the 1960's, the 70's were all about harmony.

The Vietnam War ended, peace was restored to university campuses and women began to feel that they could make a difference in the world.

As things began to settle, the chaotic colors of the previous decade gave way to muted tones.  Earth tones, particularly browns, offered a calm, grounding energy.  Contrary to the 1960's, colors were now working with each other, not against.

Avocado Green was an important color in the 70's.  Green is the color of harmony and relationships with self and/or others. Green helps establish foundations.  While the lime greens of the 60's were tinted with yellow (the color of ego), 70's Avocado Green was tinted with black (the color of humility).  Symbolically, the “ego” of the sixties was replaced by the humility of the 70's...

Another important hue of the decade was Harvest Gold.  A muted shade of yellow, it offered the same rich, grounding energy as the earth tones did.  Orange remained extremely popular, but the acidic hue of the 60's toned itself down for the 70's.  Wood and wood grains completed the look...

Fondue, anyone?

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Match Your Mood!

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's

Kitchen Colors of the 50's, 60's and 70's
For a time in the 1960's, refrigerators were being advertised as exciting machines that could fit effortlessly into modern lifestyles.  From French Provincial to Country... or a futuristic fridge for outer space!

The video below is a promotional film from 1968 for the Westinghouse Continental fridge, featuring a variety of fabulous and exotic door panels: Supreme WalnutRattan, Astro-Glo-Bronze, Surftex Black, etc.  And for the really adventurous, a system of do-it-yourself panels to Match Your Mood...

images: (1-5) plan59.com
(2-3-4-6-7-14) flickr.com
(8) curly-wurly.blogspot.com
(9-10-12) thekitchendesigner.org
(11-13) desiretoinspire.net
(15) kitschyliving.tumblr.com



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - another great post from a great blogger! Thanks for the research! Cheers, Michael

10:39 pm  
Anonymous Suzanna said...

Very cool, I love it! I also enjoyed reading about the colours and their associations.

9:54 am  
Blogger Jason Stockl said...

I loved our ultra-orange kitchen is Ste-Dorothee!

And our dishwasher with the changeable color panels... How cool was that?

I would have changed the colors every week...!

10:05 am  
Anonymous DC said...

Fabulous post Jason!


2:38 pm  
Anonymous Suzanna said...

And, remember how many times we had guests over for fondue?

9:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable post. I think this may be my all time favorite site. I relive my childhood in Ville St Laurent in the '70s. Your posts are always worth the wait.

1:57 pm  
Anonymous Jean E. said...

We live in a '70's-built home, and are thinking of fixing up our kitchen. Thanks for providing me with some great pics of kitchens! (Not that I'm not old enough to remember - but the details are hazy!) Those old kitchens were a lot more fun than than today's!

9:09 am  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

Wow... I just remembered we had those Do-it-yourself panels on our fridge... and it was Harvest Gold! just like the stove... ;)

10:22 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

So groovy! Loved baby sitting in the 60's/70's because every kitchen in the neighborhood had a different color scheme...loved the copper and pink one next door, and the artists down the street had a yellow, chocolate brown, with bright green countertops...I kid you not!

8:09 pm  
Anonymous Ultrawoman said...

I want the pink one!!!

10:06 pm  

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