The Gorgeous Decor of the 1960s

Memories of the sixties.

The 1960s were marked by many significant sociological and cultural events.

The Cultural Revolution in China, the birth of the hippie movement, the sounds of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Doors, protests and demonstrations, human rights, politics, countless TV series and many, many more.

The ’60s had a revolutionary spirit which clearly had a great impact on our music and culture. But it also greatly influenced the fashion industry, interior design and the world of home decor too.

And a specific style started to emerge that indicated a new beginning in our everyday surroundings.


Memories of the sixties.

Colors of nature started to appear on cloth, draperies, rugs, and appliances. Sofas, chairs and other furniture covered with fabric heralded a new age in home decoration. It was the time of yellow, green, orange and pink. Wild and colorful materials and psychedelic prints inspired by the hippie movement and “flower power” became more and more common.

Bright colors were mostly associated with India, but they were also connected with Spain and the Mediterranean. David Nightingale Hicks, an interior decorator and designer from England, had a most important influence on 1960s’ design when he started using bold colors in combination with antique and modern furniture.

Flowery wallpaper typical for the 60s.

Interiors were decorated with shag rugs which in addition provided warmth and comfort. A new form of painting walls became very popular.

Wood paneling that had been widespread in the 1950s was now replaced with flowery designs and psychedelic patterns.

Sherwin-Williams products were the most used for painting and their innovative Applikay system was the easiest way to achieve individual style effects on walls in so many different varieties.

Some more 1960s wallpapers. rjp CC BY 2.0 

Polypropylene became popular as a furnishing material and foam moulding became a primary manufacturing process.

Polypropylene was mostly used for upholstery cushions, but larger areas such as chairs, sofas and beds were also covered with vivid colors the same way.

Paper lampshades were also very common, but at some point in the late sixties a new decorative item entered the room: the lava lamp.

It was an innovative mix of the space age and the hippie spirit, a mix of colored wax and clear or translucent liquid, a kind of moving sculpture. It was truly new idea in lighting, delightful and soothing.

Example of the 60s interior. 1950sUnlimited CC BY 2.0

Until the 1960s, most furniture objects were antique. With the 60s came the term Retro, a reference to new things combined with items from the past – furniture from yesteryear dressed in modern clothes.

As the decade went on, the Retro modern style was seen more and more in the interiors of homes and business buildings.

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Colors bloomed in the form of furnishings and wall coverings to neon lighting and more, with the unconventional thinking and free expression of the times hinting at the future that was unfolding.