If you suddenly found yourself back in 1966, you’d see homes filled with a unique blend of styles, colours, and designs. The 1960s was a time when interior designers revisited older styles, not for nostalgia, but because they added value to how people lived.
Designers at that time appreciated good design from the past while also looking ahead to the future. This was different from many designers today who focus more on current trends.
The mid-1960s had its own special design rules. People mixed colors and patterns in new ways, and elegant furniture could share a room with rustic, textured walls. Here’s a glimpse into some of those 1960s design trends:
1. The Victorian Fillip
A few things can be as sexy in a room as the elegant curves of one good piece of Victorian furniture. Delightfully out of context, an elegant old roll arm sofa covered in white velvet sits calmly amid the most straight-lined of mid-twentieth-century furniture.
2. Moorish Complexity
The fascinating complexity of pattern the ancient Moors were fond of cut a swathe in this garden room. The vinyl tile is in four different colours and laid right up and over the pool. The antique grillwork is screening the glass doors. The iron bosses stud the plastic-surfaced bank of closets like a Sultans front door. In sympathy with the Morrocan tradition: quiet legless, floor hugging chairs covered with lush, plushy fabric.
3. Lowered Levels
Closer-to-the-floor furniture became an apt and remedial answer to low-ceiling rooms. In this below-eye-level arrangement. All the table that hugs the floor includes flat poufs and backrests, rise to normal-height seats with low chair backs. Cubes between chairs can be sat on or topped with marble slabs. They can even cradle a record player kept dustless with a plastic bubble.
4. Mirror Magic
A mirrored wall makes a room look bigger and brighter, especially if it has a fancy Venetian mirror like this one. Another cool trick is to use a single light color mixed with white. It makes the room feel fresh and clean. You can also use three-fold screens in the corners instead of over-curtains to enhance the look.
5. Pattern Medleys
Paisley, blown up to proportions it never knew in a shawl, makes the most dashing of pick-me-ups for this Kitchen. Reflecting a 1960s trend towards combining patterns, the next-door dining room is dressed in the same colours (but with less abandon) in a wallpaper patterned with stripes and circles and door-hung, accordion-fold shade printed to match.
6. Nineteenth Century design, 1960s colours
Nineteenth-Century furniture surrounded by a spate of bright colours was a coming idea that appealed to people who liked antiques but disliked fustiness. In the mid-60s “parlour” styled after the nineteenth century. A vibrant rug, vivid walls, and the inspired use of the curtains’ floral border as a frieze.
7. Brown and White
Softer, subtler, less pungent than black and white, brown teamed with white made velvety news. Nipped with yellow accents, they made news here: on the walls with a flocked paper and in the foyer with stretched plissé. The windows with plissé over-curtains framing white curtains held taut by rods, top and bottom. Fresh touches at the time were a mirrored screen to add sparkle, velvet patchwork cushions.
8. Calculated Contrast
In the 1960s, people started using old fancy furniture with simple walls instead of fancy ones. In this living room, rough wood walls go well with rich fabrics and a mix of old items. A cool idea is to group Canton China pieces together like a bouquet of flowers.
Leonard, T. (1966, January). Great Expectations: The materials, designs, colours, patterns, and arrangements you will be seeing a great deal more of in 1966. House & Garden.
You may also be interested in
Have you ever wondered if you were miraculously transported back in time to 1966 what the materials, designs, colours, patterns and arrangements would welcome you in a home? The 1960s was a period of rediscovery in interior design – an opportune reawakening to the merits of forgotten favourites that were abandoned, perhaps not because they had become cliches.
Ray Komai (1918 – 2010 ) American Graphic, Industrial and Interior Designer – Encyclopedia of Design
Ray Komai (1918 – 2010 ) was an Japanese American; he was a graphic, industrial and interior designer. He studied in Los Angeles at the Art Center College. He settled in New York in 1944, where he worked in advertising and set up a graphic design and advertising office (with Carter Winter).