1960s decorating style — 16 pages of painting ideas from 1969 Sherwin-Williams

1969-family-room-with fireplace-and-rust-colored-sofaOur weeklong revue of 1965-1970 interiors continues, and gosh, I think I love this brochure of 1969 interiors maybe best of all we’ve seen so far. Or else — I’m getting so sucked into 1960s interior design that it’s all just growing growing growing on me, so much so that every great interior I see becomes my new favorite. I had a really difficult time choosing the lead image from this 16-page Sherwin-Williams brochure. I settled on this family room because of its warm, dense colors, its colonial-modern “coolonial” vibe, and because so many readers are always looking for ideas to decorate a fireplace – especially one with asymmetric architecture. Click on through for some additional, terrific interiors, 15 more photos in all…

Matthew scanned and uploaded the photos, and he was spot on, I think, when he named this 1960s family room “manly mellow.” I love the cafe curtains… and those two little pillows by the fire… and the rust color fabrics. Also, this room demonstrates one of my favorite interior design tips: Strategically place one strong or bold color (black, in this case) all around the room to keep your eye “dancing.” This room is spectacular.

To view the slide show, click on the first thumbnail. Once it’s enlarged, click on the arrow below to move forward or back. You can start the slide show from any spot…

  1. Alice says:

    Wow! and a painted polka dot chair in one of those images…they made a paint that stuck to plastic way back then?!

  2. angie says:

    ooh ooh we had one of those when I was growing up!
    Mind you, we had an actual functioning fireplace but my mom
    couldn’t be bothered with all that “fuss” so electric was the way
    to go. The well-known refrain in our house after holiday dinners
    and snowy eves was:
    “Plug in the fire!”

  3. Heidi Swank says:

    Thanks for the great reply. I agree that the availability of credit also shaped how people populated their spaces. That’s a great tie in to how shifts in our society shape how we use space in our homes. Thanks!

  4. tammyCA says:

    The fireplace pic feels so cozy…back in the 60s we had friends/neighbors who had a big brick fireplace and those tiered curtains (probably plaid or some earthy tone). Their’s was one of the very few fireplaces I remember seeing back in Illinois…I live in hot So Cal and every house has a fireplace…wonder why? I do love having one (mine is the original 1954 red brick) and now I would have to have one if we ever move.

  5. jkaye says:

    My parents got some of those electric logs too, in the mid- to late 60s. We had a brick fireplace that had been built just for looks and not for real logs. We kids were embarrassed about the electric logs at first, but then, they got to be a fun family joke. We only use the logs on holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, or, maybe if it snowed. Then we all said, Oh, it’s cold, let’s build a fire! Someone would plug in the logs, and we’d crack up. Also, there was a little mechanism that rotated to create a flickering look, and it made a little thunking noise every couple of seconds. That made us joke, Oh, listen to the popping, crackling fire! What a hoot. They might not have provided heat, but, they did help add to the warmth of our gatherings.

  6. Chris says:

    oooh! looove these pics! It’s hard to pic a favorite, I do however seem to navigate back to the more colonial look each time. I sort of have that look in my home. I too always notice how the furniture is placed, I think that says a lot about how a room is used. I was inspired by an old 1050’s BHG decorating book passed on to me from my MIL and arranged the furniture in my relatively small living room but can sit at least, 10 comfortably just by the way I arranged the furniture! I was able to set up several “conversation areas” with one overlapping another. .. it works every time! What an inspiration these are! Oh, and yes, pic. 11 looks like it was taken from a Doris Day movies. .. I love old movies and oftentimes find myself looking at the set decorations as much as the movie, esp. old Doris Day movies!
    Lastly, yes I do think credit had a LOT to do with how re-decorating trends changed during the 50’s. . we had just won the great war and after that, who could deny themselves a little furniture! Great site!

  7. Gillian says:

    Redecorating in the new recessionary economy now means a gallon of paint again, don’t you think? Credit has gone bye-bye, frugality in the home is back.

  8. Marta says:

    Our 1967 house has a 10ft floor-to-ceiling granite stacked stone fireplace wall in the 23′ x 14′ sunken living room, with a 16″ high x 16″ deep blue-stone hearth running the length of it. On the far left is a wood bin area open to the kitchen where a smaller stacked stone fireplace backs the one in the LR. (The kitchen was the family room originally.)

    When we bought the house ten years ago, the LR fireplace mantel was a piece of warped 4″x4″ about 6ft long. It fell off on my head before we even moved in. Sadly, the fireplace has been naked ever since because I can’t decide where to situate a new mantel. It’s definitely needs to be higher, ’cause I’m only 5’5″ tall, and smacking my head on the old one is what made it fall off. But should it run the whole ten feet, be centered over the fireplace, or what? Right now, there’s an 8ft piece of blue masking tape centered over the fireplace. It’s been there a year. It’s possible I have commitment issues, but this mantel’s going to have electrical outlets, so if it’s not full-width I’ve got to bury the wiring and re-grout over it. Bear in mind, too, that the fireplace is not centered in the stacked granite wall, it’s off-set because of the stupid wood bin.

    Frankly, the whole room is difficult. The blue stone hearth is beautiful and makes for lovely seating when we have a crowd over. But, it cuts the width of the LR by almost two feet on that half. Basically, the back wall consists of the fireplace, <1ft of actual wall, then it's open to the not-sunken dining room the rest of the way. The side wall on the DR side is unbroken. The front wall has an 8ft bay window centered in it, which make it offset from the actual fireplace. The other end wall is open to the non-sunken foyer the first 5ft, then unbroken wall to the fireplace. Since traffic from the front door cuts diagonally through the narrowest part of the living room to reach the dining room and the back of the house, furniture placement is awkward at best. It's also complicated because we currently have no family room, so the TV's in there. Specifically, it's in the fireplace.

    But I'm not whining. Much.

  9. hannah50 says:

    That sofa in picture #6 – looks like the one that Florida seller has on Etsy!

    I could look at pics like this all day.

  10. ML Haskell says:

    Oh my. This is awesome. I have in hand the same BH&G handbook on decorating, but from 1960. It was a wedding present to my mother.

    Some of it is fabulous. Some of it is…uh…hard to describe. All of it is mezmerizing-at least, to me.

    I would be happy to share some of the highs and lows of the 1960 book, just lemme know.

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