Popular Vintage Home Decor from the Early 1960s


Welcome back to the March Virtual Book Club. Our book this month is “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

I’m fascinated by the 60s home decor, the fashion, and the roles of women of that era. That is my inspiration for this post.

While the book addresses complex social issues, it also sheds light on the lives of families in the south during the early 60s.

The #1 New York Times Bestseller was made into an Academy Award Winning Movie.

It’s one of my favorites.

flowers, cards and an ashtray on a card table for bridge club

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Home Decor in the ’50s and Early ’60s

In the aftermath of World War II, there was an economic boom. New homes were popping up everywhere. Families could afford to buy new furnishing for their home décor.

Having been born in the late 50s, I don’t remember that time but surely the remnants of it. My parent’s living room screamed mid-century modern design.

We had blonde furniture made of ash, maple, or birch. The wood on the furniture was light but the fabric was bold colors. For some reason, the table lamps on the side tables stick out in my mind. I remember them being to be too big for the room. The scale was just wrong. They were gold, orange, and white stripes.

We had a record cabinet that was very popular in the 50s and 60s. Our family also had a TV. It was a monstrously big cabinet with a small black-and-white screen.

I recall the little things like the metal magazine racks with the latest issue of Better Homes & Garden inside.

It’s a vintage style that is back and more popular than ever. Light furniture with clean lines is a throwback to mid-century modern style with a Scandinavian style twist.

It’s a sleeker look than back in the 50s and 60s. Our youngest daughter Emma has this vibe (with a little boho) in her city apartment.

Kitchens of the 50s & 60s

A modern kitchen in the 50s & 60s would have had kitchen cabinets made of wood or metal. Formica countertops were all the rage. The floors were typically linoleum.

Kitchens ran the gamut from white cabinets to natural wood, pastel colors such as soft pink to bold colors like candy apple red.

The kitchen decor consisted of the latest modern appliances. Mixmasters, percolators, and, toasters.

picture of a vintage percolator

Vintage Style

The Kitchens in “The Help”

In the movie “The Help” they show the maids in the Leefolt kitchen at the beginning of the movie.

Elizabeth Leefolt was hosting the bridge club in her family room that featured wood paneling.

Elizabeth’s kitchen was wood with white appliances. She had a little 1/2 circle flip-up countertop extension which was a very popular thing in mid-century modern homes.

Hilly had a very traditional home and her kitchen was turquoise. In fact, her whole home was a lot of turquoise and pink.

Sketter and Celia Rae Foote both lived in Antebellum-type homes and both of the kitchens in their homes were vintage decor from a past era. I noticed Hoosier cabinets in both.

A look that might have been in Skeeter or Celia’s Older Antebellum Homes

All of the homes had floral wallpaper which was a popular choice in the 50s and 60s.

“The Help”

The Help is a historical fiction novel by American author Kathryn Stockett and published by Penguin Books in 2009. The story is about black women working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the early 1960s.

Retro Renovation

It’s becoming popular to recreate some of the looks from bygone eras. Vintage home accessories and vintage furniture are in high demand.

Kitchen manufacturers and furniture manufacturers are creating the decorative elements that people are wanting. SMEG is a great example of the retro appliances of this era.

What I’ve noticed about current interior design is that the lines of today’s retro pieces have clean designs and natural materials.

Women in the 50s and 60s

The women of that era seemed like decorative pieces to me as well. They wore a dress and pearls even when they were cleaning. Their dresses were bright colors, polka dots, and florals.

Most women in that era were groomed to grow up and get married, become housewives, and have kids.

The women of “The Help” were no different except for Sketter who went to college and was single.

Black women of that time period in the south were many times maids and household help.

Bridge Club

Bridge Club in those days are equivalent to the modern book club.

vintage china, crystal, and silver for a ladies luncheoned

The women wore dresses as opposed to lululemon workout wear. They went to the beauty parlor to get their hair done.

I read that a proper bridge club had card tables with tablecloths on them and a napkin and ashtray at each place setting.

I had fun setting up my home to invite friends over to play cards. On Saturday you’ll see the food that I made for a ladies’ luncheon.

Peace and Love,

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  1. Such a fabulous post Lynn! I loved reading and seeing what your home was like! What an adorable little girl you were. I am fascinated that your family was so hip and with it. We had the overly big lamps but we didn’t have the cool furniture. I think my parents didn’t have a lot of money at that time so maybe that is why. Then again, my mom has never really liked following any trends and she thinks I am nuts that I do!!! Hahaha!!!

    1. My mom grew up on a farm and I think moving to the suburbs in a different state was a big deal for her so my Dad let her get whatever she wanted. 🙂

  2. Lynn- Oh my gosh! This is a fabulous post. I love the photos you shared. They are so cute. Your descriptions of the decor are spot on. How about that pink ash tray??? Ha!

    1. When I saw that pink ashtray – I didn’t even look at the price tag. In the movie “The Help” they all smoked.

  3. I love everything about this! I bet this was so much fun to put together!

    1. It was fun but a stretch for photographs. I had to dig deep into the archives!

  4. What a fun post! I was born in 1959 and I enjoyed the trip down memory lane. We had some very cool “modern” furniture that I wish I had today!

    1. I wish we had kept some of my parent’s furniture too! Same with my grandparent’s furniture.

  5. What a fun and education post-Lynn. Loved reading all about the decor of this era. I too, can remember some of those very large over sized lamps. I really enjoyed your family photos, so cute.

    1. Our book club posts are always fun. It’s stretching our creative muscles. We aren’t sure if we have it all figured out but we ae getting there.

  6. Such a fun post, Lynn. I sure miss you. Hugs to you, my friend.

    1. Hi Renae –
      It was such an interesting book to draw inspiration from. While the subject matter of the book is heavy, the retrospect of the era and what we could take from it design wise and food wise was vast.

  7. Hey Lynn, This is such an interesting post! Loved seeing your family pics! I saw the movie and loved it, but I bet the book was even better! I’m enjoying your book club posts!

    1. It’s one of my favorite movies. I was having a hard time with original photography with that style so I decided to show my original vintage family!!!

  8. Loved your post Lynn! Those silver forks are gorgeous! I have hopes of replacing my stainless everyday silverware with pieces like those!

    1. I got that silver for $35 at a vintage market in Michigan. I use it all the time now and I don’t typically even polish it. I actually love the look of it tarnished. 🙂