31 5 / 2012
Through the years, kitchen styles have changed quite a bit. We’ve gone from a bright and colorful kitchen, to a more modern and sleeker look. There are even styles that have come and gone like the kitchen island or bottom drawer freezer. Today we are going to take a look at the style of the 1950s kitchen to let you see how different it is from today’s kitchen.
In America in the 1950s, almost all women were stay-at-home mothers or homemakers. So the kitchen style of the ‘50s was developed around the atmosphere of women constantly going in and out of their kitchens. Everything in the kitchen was in a convenient and organized location. There was even a washer and dryer in most kitchens because at the time, there was the assumption that a mother would need to do laundry while she was cooking or cleaning. There was also usually an eat-in bar area or small kitchen table in most kitchens so that women could easily feed their families without having to move out of the kitchen. Although only 4% of the population had them by the end of the 1950s, dishwashers were developed so that women could spend less time washing dishes, and more time with family. The dishwashers were not normally placed on the floor either, like they are today. Most dishwashers were installed high enough off the floor so that one would not have to bend down far to take dishes in and out of it. “Roto-tray automatic” dishwashers were also created for cleaner and more convenient washing.Television sets also became more popular in kitchens as the percentage of Americans with televisions rose from 20% in 1950 to 88% in 1960. Refrigerators changed in the 1950s as well. Although some families stuck with the smaller refrigerators, advertisements for larger refrigerators like the foodarama became more prevalent. Another appliance that improved was the range. Electric ranges developed into gas ranges for faster cooking.
Another interesting feature of the 1950s kitchen was its overall look and appeal. In the beginning of the 1950s, kitchens were brightly colored. Some were green and yellow, some blue and green, and some were even pink! Not only were the walls or cabinets, and sometimes the floors brightly painted, some of the kitchen appliances also varied in colors. Even the 1950s dining chairs were splashed with color. The chairs tended to be tulip chairs, although some people had booths at their dining tables. Lots of cabinet space was another feature in the 1950s kitchen. Some families began to add drawers into their cabinets to add more space. Colorful single-basin sinks were a popular item in the 1950s kitchen, as well. Not until the late ‘50s did kitchens begin to have double-basin sinks.
As the 1950s continued and it got closer to the ‘60s, kitchens began to change a little into a more “outdoorsy” feel. The linoleum kitchen tile seemed to turn to a more neutral color like beige, black, or white. Kitchen cabinets were normally made out of birchwood and were colored in less bright colors like pale yellows, greens, and brown. Some kitchen countertops were made out of steel so that hot pans could be set on them and not leave a mark. A copper lining was added to some of the appliances as well, like the range, for a more brassy look.
Although, kitchens changed a lot during the 1950s, one thing stayed the same; kitchens were the center for everything a woman during that time was presumed to need. This will change as the decades progress, and you will see the difference it makes as we continue our journey into the kitchens of America by the decade on “Retro Thursdays.”
The above picture is from http://retrorenovation.com/. This is a kitchen from 1953. Notice the bright colors, the television, the laundry area, and the little sitting area.
The above picture is from http://retrorenovation.com/.This is a kitchen from 1956. Notice the “outdoorsy” look and feel to it. The dishwasher on the left is off the floor. Also notice the single basin sink and the little sitting area on the bottom left.
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