6 interiors with great ideas from the late 1960s

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A look at 1968 – yes, the era of avocado green, harvest gold and other very distinctive designs. I have to say, I really am growing to adore 60s and 70s kitchens, bathrooms and interiors. These people were having a lot of creative fun. Imagine owning a 1971 split level and outfitting it with a red and black rumpus room… bedrooms with multicolored shag carpet…a Nutone intercom throughout, a Drexel Mediterranean dining room set. Hey! That was my house in 1971!  A triumph. Cut to the chase: 70s decor is back – big time. Avocado Oak ad: Georgia Pacific.

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Isn’t this Moenique bathtub/shower faucet terrific? Those are “persian” tiles behind – very popular in ’68, as far as I can see. Ad: Moen.

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In the kitchen, it’s Andy Warhol pop colors all the way. That’s wallpaper on the fridge. This kitchen is so well done. Ad: Armstrong.

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Those panels lining the tub and shower are Formica laminate. I don’t think the stuff turned out to be very waterproof. Pretty, though.  And I really like the mirror and framed print arrangement above the sinks. Tip: Look for unusually-shaped mirrors like this – they can work in so many possible spaces. Ad: Formica.

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I really have a hard time believing that many women put wallpaper on the front of their appliances. But, it certainly is an idea…. Ad: Frigidaire.

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I adore this style of wallpaper. The gold, green, orange colonial motif – just makes me so happy. And this is a wonderful Frigidaire. I am quite partial to side-by-side refrigerators. They are particularly good when space is tight. Note, they are not as energy efficient as fridge-on-top styles, I believe. Ad: Tappan.

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Comments

  1. Femme1 says

    Pam, I don’t think that’s wallpaper on the appliances—it’s Contac paper. My mom used it on just about everything because she was on a very tight budget and couldn’t afford to really renovate a rather run-down house. We put brick Contac paper up for a backsplash, and flowered Contac on the front of the refrigerator, and I used it to make my bedroom really psychedelic!

    The stuff has an extremely sticky backing, and you peel off a paper layer to stick it on.

  2. Jeanne says

    I love the blue sweater, black pants and white flats on the woman in the Frigidaire ad…it’s so Laura Petrie! I remember when my mom replaced her 50s furniture (I wish I had it now) with all the Mediterranean stuff in the 60s. We had an octagon shaped cabinet, a floor lamp with a table attached, olive green glass lamps and white and gold upholstered swivel chairs. Olive green and gold was the color of choice!

  3. Jeanne says

    Femme1 – speaking of contact paper, my stairway going to the upstairs bedroom is covered in woodgrain patterned contact paper to blend with the knotty pine, which starts halfway up the stairs. I’d like to remove the contact paper, but don’t know how to. I’m afraid that once I start trying to peel it, will run into trouble. I don’t think I can use wallpaper remover, as it’s different, but I’m not sure.

    Anyone have any tips?

  4. Mer says

    I found myself watching Brady Bunch reruns this past weekend with my 6 year old…and they had a kind of a green stain on the wood paneling int the living room and the kitchen. I have to say…the Brady House is my dream home. Pam, any chance you could do a feature on it?
    Mer

    • says

      Mer, I will look into it. I was of course a huge Brady Bunch watcher, I am sure I never missed an episode. What a house – designed by Mike, the dad, an architect! That bathroom: I subsequently learned it’s called a “Jack and Jill” bathroom – when there are entrances to each of two bedrooms. And I recall, the countertops in the kitchen were orange, and I believe that the double oven was set into brick.

  5. Tera says

    In the early 1980’s my friend’s grandmother lived on our block and her kitchen had wallpaper on the stove, dishwasher, fridge and cabinets. She also had carpeted accent walls in a few rooms. To a nine year old this was some luxe living in a spacious, dreamy ranch. Furnishings and decor in the home spanned from the late 1950’s to the 1970’s because I remember loving their Brady Bunch horse and their simple Heywood Wakefield furniture. They had a great looking bar in a mirrored room. Looking back the kitsch just oozed.
    I loved going with my friend to visit her grandmother. Her grandfather owned and operated a funeral home, and would come home for lunch. Her grandmother always smelled of Chanel #5 and could always be found in her bedroom fixing herself up for her husband. In the master bedroom was the awesome master bath with a vanity area and a tub that looked like a small swimming pool. It was sunken and kidney shaped. Amazing.
    She told us once,”Girls, always dress up and look your best when your husband has been gone all day and comes home.” Then she asked me, “Doesn’t your grandmother dress for your grandfather?” My grandmother ran around in curlers until Saturday but kept a clean home. My grandfather was wounded in the war so he never worked and mostly ran around in overalls and kept 1.75 acres of his front and back lawn looking gorgeous and green year round. I just said, “Yes.”

  6. Frank Richier says

    My Mom contact papered our fridge in the early 70’s. It was a dark woodgrain pattern. Lot’s of paneling back then, even the fridge!

  7. Patd says

    The house I moved into had formica laminate panels in the shower and I can tell you that they definitely were not very waterproof! Water had been leaking behind there for years before I took it out.

  8. theresa says

    If anyone is looking for those tiles, someone here in seattle is selling 2 boxes in the robin eggs blue color on craigslist. Also, we just scraped YEARS of contact paper off the kitchen cupboard shelves and interior walls in our 1954 ranch. We just used razor blade scrapers and spent a long long time doing it. We also weren’t too careful since we didn’t really care if there were nicks (and gouges) here and there. There was at least 4 layers, and were all uneven and peeled underneath each other. It was a horrible job, but now we have nice white (and clean) kitchen cabinets. Some of the adhesive remained so we sanded that off.

  9. sumacsue says

    I have enjoyed reading every word of these comments. Thanks, everyone, for contributing. These photos and all of the comments definitely brought back some memories for me from the late 60s. But here’s what I’m really reminded me of — living in a mobile home. My husband and I lived for several years in a mobile home that was manufactured in the early to mid-90s. But, we decided that mobile home decor must have gotten stuck back in the 60s or 70s somewhere. Just about every surface was covered with a thin, contac-paper kind of stuff made to look like either paneling or wallpaper. That bathroom photograph looks so much like the bathrooms in our “trailer,” except ours were in pink and blue flowers. Mobile home bathrooms often are really spacious, and have huge tubs, separate showers, and fancy mirrors like the bathroom in this photo. At first glance the bathrooms look so luxurious, until you figure out how cheap everything is.

    Our mobile home actually had a better floorplan and more space than our 50s ranch. But, we would rather live in this house, because it’s so much better built, of course. (But I did put some Contac paper on the linen closet shelves.)

    • says

      Sumacsue aka Judi: Interestingly, when I was in Kentucky in November my dad took me to a place that sells interior parts for mobile homes. He mentioned knowing about it, and I got excited thinking that there might be a whole new bundle of resource-solutions for readers there. Like – “simple” “unpretentious” “affordable”. I was very disappointed in the quality of what I saw. And, the prices for things like faucets were less competitive than what I saw at the Lowe’s, which we also visited – as I do not have one here. So you now know what I do on vacations: I excitedly go to the Lowe’s and take a gazillion pictures of tile, faucets and cabinets! Argh, I have not done that post yet – but it’s on my radar!

  10. Robert says

    That Avocado Oak ad; notice the female in it. Wish we had that kind of glamour today.

    That faucet with the soap holder; it looks neat but looks like the soap would slide off into the tub. Unless of course the shower knob/pull up thingy would stop it, then still looks like it would just slide to the side then to the tub.

    Robert

  11. says

    The thought of a red/black rumpus room with a multi-black/grey toned shag rug makes me shake my head: that’s my mother’s rumpus room! It remains virtually intact from the early 1970s! I’ve lived through the 70s and, altho I still love its tv shows, I just can’t do the ’70s decor! LOL!

    • says

      Maureen, I didn’t even tell the whole story of our 1971 black and red rumpus room. As I recall, the carpet was intense red, the walls were lacquered black and the whole room was anchored by a standing bar that was upholstered in black naugahyde with a red laminate countertop… and finally, black swivel wrought iron stools with red velvet cushions. My mom still has the bar set.

  12. Robert says

    Rumpus Room!!

    Where did that name come from? To be honest I never even heard the term till within the past three years. Obviously it was a term around for a while.

    When did it originate?

    How did it originate?

    We called it TV room, Family Room, and Rec Room and Basement.

    Robert

  13. says

    This is an era which really gets me excited! I wasn’t born in the 60s but I did grow up in a succession of late 1960s homes, including one with gold formica countertops and what I think was woodgrain pattern formica laminate on the cabinets. Whatever it was, even in the kitchen it sustained water damage!

  14. retroppo says

    Pam, that kitchen is to die for! I love the suspended cupboards with the window behind it! Nice & easy to clean!
    As for the contact wallpaper…well yes it’s difficult to get off, I still have a couple of intact rolls with a gold star pattern that we found again in the garage in one of the previous owners boxes. It used to be used alot to line kitchen cupboards here…on the inside rather than the outside! Was wondering what I could do with my two rolls? Maybe I could cover my fridge! Although the chrome handles may clash with the gold! Michelle x

  15. Joseph says

    Well, to each his own, I guess. I personally don’t care for sixties revival kitchens and bathrooms because of the very things everyone else here is admiring. To me, the colors are too garish, and the ideas weren’t always thought out very well. You’re right about the Formica plastic laminate used in the bathroom. It is NOT waterproof, and over the years the people who had it installed probably had lots of time to regret their choice. I also think that remodeling one’s home with motifs that are billed as “so out they’re in” just assures one of a kitchen or bathroom that is eventually “out” again. I think one is much better off sticking with classics, because you never really get tired of those. Just my opinion, of course!

    • Pam Kueber says

      Hi Joseph, I think the issue of color/design through the decades is so interesting. I have been thinking about this a lot – and have a post planned for soon…. In a nutshell, I tend to think that “what’s garish” is extremely relative.

  16. pattyoscar says

    Back in the 70’s when we were renting we bought a used 18 cu. Frigidaire. It was sort of scuffed on the outside and was white. I had an avacado sink(still do) and an avacado stove. I could not afford a new fridge. I put a pink and green small floral pattern contact paper on the fridge and thought I would probably hate it later but I loved it,, it was uniquely mine. and it was the best fridge we ever owned. We must have moved 3 times with it before it finally quit on us.

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