The Influence Of The 60’s On Interior Design
The Sixties was a time of great optimism, excitement and energy. Britain emerged from the austerity of the post-war years with a flourish; the space race was in full swing, and the future looked bright. This optimism was reflected in the fashions and décor of the early sixties, characterised by bold, psychedelic prints, teaming unusual colours such as shocking pink and bright orange. New technologies and materials revolutionised furniture and accessories, allowing colours and shapes to be used in ways that had never before been envisaged. The later Sixties saw the rise of hippie culture, and the influence of India and North Africa, bringing with it Paisley prints, cheesecloth, and rag rugs. The impact of these changes can still be seen today. This article takes a brief look at some of the most enduring influences from this era.
The emphasis on striking, stylised patterns led to the popularity of ‘feature walls’, intended to ‘catch your eye’. The use of bright colour, such as acid green and hot pink, was often strikingly contrasted with black and white, with furniture and the soft furnishings complementing the wall.
The invention of injection-moulded plastic opened up a whole new world of design possibilities for home décor. Chairs became viewed as objects of striking beauty and invention. Designs were often based on an ‘S’-shape or pod shape, frequently with sleek, smooth edges, and brilliant colours became possible, often teamed with shiny chrome. Several modern occasional and dining chairs have made this technology and design heritage ubiquitous in many households.
The Sixties saw the rise of the working woman, with less time for housework. The introduction of vinyl flooring served two purposes; firstly, it was quick and easy to clean, but again, new and bold designs were possible, including the classic ‘black and white’ floor tiles. Flooring became an integral part of home design.
Entertaining at home became less formal, and this was reflected in the décor. In particular, the kitchen was transformed from a functional area to a fashion statement. Gadgets such as the coffee pot and electric mixers often used polished chrome, and again, colourful plastics were featured, perhaps best demonstrated by the popularity of Tupperware. Increasing TV ownership encouraged the ‘TV dinner’ so bright plastic trays became an important accessory.
The Sixties also saw the advent of the ‘disposable society’. Things were no longer expected to last for life, but became viewed as something which was fashionable, but could be changed with the times. Framed posters became the new trend for wall art, perhaps with modern art, such as an Andy Warhol print, or even film posters. These could be changed frequently to keep up with the latest trend. This enormous shift in the way home decor was viewed changed the concept of how we view our homes for ever, continuing to influence our choices today.
WORDS: Steven De La Hoya.