Mid-century children’s bedrooms from Ethan Allen, 1974

1974-ethan-allen-boys-bedroomI am hearing reports of a Retro Renovation baby boom. Weddings, too. So exciting 🙂 No question, nothing gets the decorating instinct into overdrive than having a bun in the oven. In fact, we’re all just feathering our nests when it comes right down to it, aren’t we?

1974-ethan-allen-boys-bedroom-the-beatlesImages in this post are from Ethan Allen circa 1974 — ahhh, The Brady Bunch Years. Continuing with our bedroom series for a few more days, I chose them to illustrate another point, which is that there are numerous “traditional” styles that are just fine for mid-century homes. Lots of this stuff is solid wood, and you can buy it really inexpensively.

1974-ethan-allen-girls-bedroom

I have seen a number of the Ethan Allen sets with the modular bookcases, desks and drawer cabinets and my goodness, they are so functional and so well made.

"Growing up room" - phase one

“Growing up room” – phase one

A couple of other thoughts on kids’ bedrooms:

  1. Personally, I would buy a new crib out of safety concerns – the image above is shown only for decorative inspiration.  Bunk beds, similarly, scare the heck out of me. Do your homework re child safety when you’re thinking of buying and using anything vintage.
  2. When your kid is big enough for a bed, and if you’re going to buy something you plan to have them grow into — I recommend going straight-away for the full-sized bed. By the time they are 13 or 14, they want a bed this big. When they’re littler and have sleepovers, they can double up. When they are older, the friends just sleep on the floor. When the kid is little, and they are sick, you can lay down next to them.  I had a girlfriend who is really smart, studied and networked on such things tell me this early on. I didn’t listen. She was right.
  3. Once your kids get old enough to care — let them decorate their own room, of course. It makes for awesome memories and is, I think, super important to establishing a sense of self. We need to do a whole post (hold please!) on our first personally-decorated bedrooms. I remember mine well… a very formative decorating experience.
  4. Capel braided rugs — great for kids’ rooms, get a design that includes a variety of colors they can grow into and you are all set.
  5. Bedspreads — go look at the corded cottons and other childhood classics (like the one in the first photo today) on Vermont Country Store’s website.
  6. Wallpaper? Here’s one room I’d say “no.” That’s because wallpaper is so personal … Your kid will want to change their wall color two-to-three times growing up. Wallpaper is a ton of work and your work will likely not have much of its day in the sun. But if you want to do it for “you” and your baby’s nest, knowing that he/she will likely want it gone within 8-10 years, well, go for it.
  7. Changing tables make great laundry centers in the laundry room after they’ve gone out of diaper-changing use.
"Growing up room" - phase two

“Growing up room” – phase two

With that said, decorating a child’s room “in mid-century style” is just as wide open as in an adult bedroom. If you are buying vintage furnishings, there are great deals out there, especially if you have an open mind regarding style. In fact, I like to say that vintage bedroom sets and dining room sets are the best bargains around. That’s because you only have x-number of bedrooms and only one dining room. After that, you are done. So folks don’t generally “collect” them, like Stangl birds or whatever. This means there is less demand, which means lower prices.

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Comments

  1. says

    They took different PVC pipe fittings, spray-painted them blue, and used them as a decoration. Hmm.

    I never got sick of the wallpaper that my mom put up in my room. They built the house around 1970, and that wallpaper is still up. It’s a bunch of tigers, leopards, and zebras.

  2. MrsErinD says

    Love those bedrooms, especially the pink one, that bedspread is awesome!

    Yup, like I’ve said, love my step table end/coffee table 1964 Ethan Allen set, we got it for 25 dollars for all 3!! They needed redone, we put a quick coat of polyshade on for now, but will strip and stain properly someday, but they are SO solid, real hardwood tops, not veneer! They say Baumritter Early American for Ethan Allen 1964 on the bottom. The funny thing is my MIL has EAllen early amer./colonial furniture too from the same year ’64 (when they got married) that is same style as our tables! Hubby says we’ll end up with it someday, and I’m okay with that. when we got ours I finally felt grown up with good furniture! ;O)

    Yup, great rooms Pam and great colors! Thanks!

  3. Elaine says

    Ethan Allen! Loved them all through the 70s. I so wanted those bookcase/dresser/desk/hutch sets for our bedrooms, and couldn’t afford new furniture so had to pass them up. There was a big round dark wood cogwheel coffee table then too, been looking for it ever since. What we ended up with was 30s to 40s stuff that was being garage saled cheap instead. I have a 30s dark mahogany bedroom set and a wonderful late 40s-early 50s maple western set with carved cowboy details on the drawers, headboard and footboard. I think I paid $60 for the 30s set and $90 for the cowboy set. I’ve kept them through several moves. Happy trails to you…

  4. says

    I have an Ethan Allen bedroom set that I’ve had since my mom purchased it second-hand when I was a kid. Now I know how old it is! It truly is sturdy, well-made furniture. I still use every piece, to this day.

    • jonathan eckhart says

      Hello I have a 1970s ish ethan allen trundle bed. I was woundering if u have the simalar beds. Reason I ask is because I lost the spacer blocks that you use to make the two twin beds into the trundle style. If you do have the simalar style beds and have the spacer blocks can you please send me pics of the frame bare and the blocks thank you

      • Blogless Peggy says

        Jonathan: We misplaced our blocks for years–I bought the EA Tri-way bed for my oldest son in 1983, and it’s still in use in my home–but recently found them. I’ll be glad to help you. EA was no help at all when I called them.

        • Matt says

          We have the same exact bed as the first picture and like original poster to this reply we cannot find our blocks to make the beds trundle either. If you have pics or spacers I would love some information or pictures. Thanks in advance

        • Dolly Wright says

          I have same bed as 1st one shown in picture. I have spacers but do not have the rollers for the trundle piece. I also have no clue how to put it together as trundle instead of bunk beds. Does anyone have pictures/instructions on how to make it into trundle?

          • Alisa says

            Dolly, did you get the instructions to make the twin into the trundle? I have the blocks, no wheels and no instructions! please share it you got them. Thanks

            • leanne says

              i too am looking for the wheels/casters for this tri-bed. we have it set up now as a trundle but would like the bed to roll in as the first picture shows. does anyone know how to purchase those?

  5. sumac sue says

    As a 1974 high school grad, I remember these colors well. My sister and I shared a bedroom decorated in a similar style to the last photo — avocado walls and blue cord bedspreads on our maple twin beds. We had built-in desks which were “antiqued” in blue. The room was saved from looking too masculine by the addition of big paper daisies and pictures of stars cut out of Tiger Beat magazine.

  6. John Matuszek says

    I have the tri-way bed (first one pictured above) and want to set up as bunk for grandchild. It’s been stored away so long, I’ve forgotten how to set up bunks and cannot find assembly instructions. I think there should be pins to insert in legs to mount beds, but do not have any around. Suggestions for getting info regarding parts list or assembly info would be appreciated. Ethan Allen website doesn’t seem helpful.

  7. Joan says

    I have the complete tri-way bed with all of the pieces, including the instructions. Any idea what it is worth?

  8. Mary Ellen says

    The Ethan Allen Room Plan pieces are the greatest things! I redid my brothers 1960 pieces with bin pulls as I didn’t want the colonial eagle look. I even have the original catalog from Ethan Allen with all of the pieces made for every room in the house.

  9. Anne-Marie Cory says

    I am really loving that there seems to be more 70’s stuff on your blog these days. My home was built in 69 and ( the house itself , not necesarly our stuff) has a very late 60’s and 70’s vibe to it. I always l enjoy what you post- but I am especially grafteful to see the 70s sneeking in a little.

  10. TappanTrailerTami says

    I have a set of 2 dressers, plus a desk, each with the bookshelf top. While I was going to use them as a bedroom set originally, I found an older 1930’s bedroom set. So what to do with these great pieces? Voila! I have a walk in closet (yes, large) and these are going in there to serve as clothes and shoe/boot storage! Who needs custom closetry, when these work just as well?

  11. pamela burt says

    I have one of those sets! It was my DH’s when he was a kid. Early 60s or late 50s he says. It is modular set that has many pieces (10?) With bookcases, a corner unit and wraps around a large room. Mine has laminate tops (woodgrain). I also have “the girls” set that is pecan wood veneer I think. Im actually thinking of downsizing…. if my now adult son doesnt want them. But he probably will…. I would!

  12. Cheryl says

    Ethan Allen-

    I have this style of Ethan Allen dining room furniture, the
    Style name they went by was Ethan Allen Heirloom. I have
    Rectangular dining table, buffet/hutch (two individual pieces)
    With 3 side chairs and 1 arm chair. I purchased this from my best friend
    and her sister after their Mom passed away. I had always commented to Isabelle that I would want it if she ever grew tired of it, she said she was
    Passing it down to her (grown) children. The son was to have been the recipient, but he died soon after his Mom, and my friend and her sister already had their own dining room furniture. I wanted this because when I was a young married wife, we bought Ethan Allen Heirloom (round) table and 4 chairs, but could not afford a hutch. After we bought ours, MY mother-in-law gave me her EA Heirloom bookcase. Now I have a dinette off the kitchen with the round table set, a great room / dining room with Isabelle’s EA Heirloom and the cubby area part if dining room holds the bookcase and a rocker – my reading nook. The furniture is so well constructed that my chairs have never faulted-not even after being used
    (Daily since 1988) by my 240 lb mother who had always been very hard on chairs! One day, I would like to have the chairs refinished but only by someone with the same quality of workmanship as Ethan Allen crafts persons. I want them to remain antique quality, they are certainly worthy.
    I cannot imagine anyone wanting to part with such beautiful pieces. My friend knew she would always see her Mother’s furniture cared for and she would see it when visiting me. 🙂

    • Amanda chaik says

      I think it just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, style-wise. I agree that it’s certainly well-made, and I remember this style VERY well from growing up. However, it is an ubiquitously seventies style to me…they style everyone had; and the seventies is my least favorite era. I’ve got bunks and a table and chairs in this style (I’m not sure if it’s Ethan Allen, but it’s certainly similar), and I sometimes wish they weren’t -quite- so well made. I’d like something in a different style and this stuff will last forever! Luckily, there’s something for everyone; what I bemoan because it gives me seventies flashbacks, other people actively search out…and the forties and fifties styles I adore are equally cast off by those who are looking for something that matches their own unique style. 🙂

  13. says

    I have the antique white Ethan Allen CRP desk, dressers, and cabinets…with laminate tops. The edge banding is cracked and is falling off. How do I get this repaired? Do I contact a kitchen counter guy? It looks like melamine edge banding. Help!

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