30 patterns for vinyl floor tiles from the 1950s

David asked the other day:

We’re planning our basement finishing project and looking at VCT tiling options in the basement. Does anyone know where to find design ideas for Vinyl tiles? I’m seeing a lot for ceramic, but not many for VCT.

You ask, I deliver: Here are scans from 1950s Armstrong and Kentile catalogs.

armstrong floorsThe thing I like about the designs in my 1955 Armstrong dealer catalog is that they show the percentage of each color required. The Kentile designs come from a retail brochure, so you will have to do the math yourself.

Also remember: Armstrong still offers the the decorative shuffleboard. Come on — you only live once — get the shuffleboard, especially if you are doing a basement floor. I also like VCT like this for kitchen flooring. If you’re planning a retro remodel of your kitchen, be sure to start here to scope all the products, ideas and inspiration — for floors and much more — available.

Finally — Please know, readers — these designs are provided with the intent that you will use them with new vinyl composite tile (VCT). Always be sure, when you move into a house, to consult with experts to test all the materials in your house, including flooring, for stuff like lead and asbestos — and make informed decisions about how to handle these issues.

vintage floor tiles

READ THIS VIEWING TIP: I have inserted the images very large so you can see the designs well — I had to click on the image THREE times to get to the largest version. Then, use my back button to return to the post.




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  1. toni says

    What are you using for backsplash? I am trying to find the linoleum type stuff that looks like fake tile. will I find anything? Wallpaper and the wall board I’ve seen just doesn’t cut it.

    • pam kueber says

      toni, I don’t know of any current manufacturer who makes the old fashioned linoleum that looks like tile. I have a number of old catalogs that show this stuff. Have not gotten around to posting it. You might want to look for vintage. If so, please test it for midcentury nasty material first.

    • Heart says

      I have plaster walls in my kitchen that are scored to look like 4×4 tiles. Fooled me! Once sealed/painted they have held up 80+ years. Hope this helps…

  2. John D. Ruskin says

    Lots of good ideas, but the thing I don’t like about modern VCT, is that it doesn’t have the contrasting striations in it like vintage asphalt tile. Armstrong Excelon mainly comes in monochromatic flecks, and Azrock/Tarket has a light marbelized patern that is closer, but looks more like linoleum which is more environmentally friendly, but not the mid century modern look. As for laying each tile a quarter turn, that is the standard way, which when the tiles have a more pronounced direction produces a cool basket weave effect.

    • pam kueber says

      Azrock Cortina Autumn Haze … and some Congoleums … which I have detailed on the blog … have the striations. I have the Azrock Cortina in my kitchen. It rocks the 50s. See Kitchens / Flooring category.

  3. Selena says

    Oh my… perhaps I can talk my hubby into NOT putting down the faux-wood and instead doing this! I’m looking at all those colors and very nearly drooling.

  4. rbnhd76 says

    Man, these are great, thanks! I have worked in flooring for 15+ years and i have always loved the old school look. I’m gonna put these in my 71 Shasta Compact, probably a 4×4 checkerboard on a diagonal, which reminds me, you definitely want to use a VCT cutter for VCT, it cuts as clean as the factory edge (provided it isn’t worn out), Azrock is my personal favorite, but there are other good brands. You should stop at floor stores and ask what colors they have left from commercial jobs, a lot of them keep 8-10 boxes and then it’s hard to sell them, so hopefully you can get a good deal.

  5. says

    My 1950 ranch has 9×9 vct on all floors. I don’t know who made ones I have.Mine are a base color, then a contrasting color making a random “cloud ” pattern, and some black splashes here or there. Besides Kentile, what other company names were making vct back in the 40’s . Thank you

    • pam kueber says

      Bruce, I don’t have a list of all the manufacturers, this is not something that I’ve researched. Armstrong and Congoleum are two that come to mind…

  6. Kim guthrie says

    Hi Pam, we are looking for patterned sticky tile for our 1963
    Shasta trailer and love the 50s tile that you show. The yellow, gray and black pattern. Any idea where we can find this? Thank you!!

    • pam kueber says

      Kim, that sounds like it will be a needle in a haystack… vintage, that’s about it. Note: Old floor tile can contain vintage nastiness such as asbestos — make sure you consult with a pro to know what you have and can make informed decisions about how to handle.

  7. Selena says

    I think I finally talked my DH into VCT in the kitchen after finding this blog post:
    Isn’t it cool? I just had to share. As beekeepers, it’s right up our alley!

    DH did ask: “So… how are we going to get a bee in there?” and I had to show him these patterns. LOL. Too bad the 50’s weren’t big on bees in your flooring. I then suggested perhaps we could just paint bees here and there on the cabinets… :)

  8. Liv says

    Does anyone know of a shop who that is still stocking some of the vintage Armstrong patterns – I really would like to get my hands on the style no. 0377 ( the house came with it originally )

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Liv

    • pam kueber says

      Nope, these are no longer available as far as we know. You may be able to find them vintage. But… we don’t know of any sources…

  9. Elizabeth says

    Our 1953 ranch came complete with a finished game room, the tiles are playing card, champagne glasses and the fish with the long snout. We will Never change a thing. Built in wet bar, with stainless steel sink and drying board, wood paneling and red brick fireplace. We are the second owners, the parents, we are told, would host square dancing parties.

  10. Neil says

    These vintage tile patterns and colors are FAB-U- to the -LOUS!!! Love, love, love ’em.

    I shop at estate sales here in San Francisco every weekend, and am occasionally (less and less often as they years go by) halted-in-my-tracks in the kitchen, yearning for the chance to take the original lino tile flooring home with me. But, no dice, of course.

    I do very rarely find a partial role of vintage lino in the garage, and feel like I’ve struck hidden gold. I use the lino scraps to re-surface vintage chrome dinette tables whose tops have been loved to death.

  11. Heart says

    Thanks so much for this post Pam.

    I scored a 1927 craftsman home in CA., completely untouched or ‘remudeled’ since day one. Think, original wallpaper in every room! (yes, I took photos 😉

    They did overlay 70’s sheet vinyl flooring in the Kitchen/Laundry Bath. I removed a 5×9 area of press board sub-floor in the old laundry room. Surprise! Original hand cut linoleum floors! I couldn’t imagine the labor involved back in the day.

    So grateful for your site Pam! Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you preserve & inspire.

  12. Carolyn says

    The dining room, entry, living room, and kitchen house I grew up in had whitish tiles with a few green flecks. They then, in the dining room, laid a border 2 tiles in, were green tiles with whitish flecks. It wasn’t much but funny how a little detail like that affects the room.

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