Interior design trends are often inspired by cinema, and the big movie of the moment, ‘My Week with Marilyn’, is certainly a great inspiration. Set in 1950s Britain, but with a bit of obligatory Hollywood glitz and glamour, ‘My Week with Marilyn’ explores the tense interaction between Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the making of The Prince and the Showgirl.
A New Generation
The 1950s saw a big shift in interior design trends. In fact, the 1950s marked the beginning of the UK’s obsession with interior design. Before then, most living rooms were quite drab and utilitarian, but in the 1950s that changed, as young homeowners looked to make a statement about their identities, and decorate their homes in a bolder, brighter way than previous generations.
The 1950s are marked by bold, bright patterns, stylized furnishings, and abstract prints. Metal tube furniture and futuristic, high tech designs were all popular in the 50s. The booming post-war economy meant that people had more disposable income, and were interested in spending it on expressing themselves through the decoration of their homes.
The Modern Version of 50s Style
If you look at photographs of true 1950s design, you’ll find that the bold colours, Lucienne Day prints, and tripod tables were used sparingly. The modern version of the 50s look is an exaggerated, overstated one – almost “50’s on Steroids”. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however.
Authentic 1950s furniture is quite difficult to find. The revival of that style has meant that antiques are in high demand. Fortunately, 1950’s style furniture is easy to find, with many high street store producing stylized lamps, tables, chairs, and other key items.
Getting the 1950s Look in Your Home
The 1950s look is easy to replicate. Start with oak doors and tiled floor accented by a blue or earthy coloured rug. From there, opt for white walls, and stylized furniture. Bright, bold colours are the order of the day. For an authentic look, don’t go overboard on the geometric patterns. A few simple shapes and contrasting colours is a better choice than an overly busy print.
For a modern twist on the 1950s look, why not add a touch of luxury to your interior, perhaps borrowing from Marilyn’s trademark dress to create a glamorous set of curtains, or using her accessories as inspiration for some decorative accents – for example, using her purse as inspiration for a bold, orange leather footrest,
The look of the 1950s was both optimistic and practical, and it’s understandable that the current generation of designers is inspired to re-visit the 50s during a time when the British economy is struggling. National pride, and a desire for simpler times, can both be satisfied by the simple, charming styles of that era.
Decorating in the 50s style doesn’t have to be expensive. Cheap and cheerful oak doors, a lick of paint, and some brightly coloured, stylized accessories can help to give most rooms a taste of the 50s, without you needing to throw out your existing furniture.