Monthly Mid-Century Makeover
When it comes to renovating your home retro style bedrooms can be the simplest, but there are two main challenges to over come.
Size - If you purchased a mid-century home the first thing you probably noticed was the teeny tiny bedrooms. In the '50s families spent time together in the living room and bedrooms were meant for sleeping, that's it. That means no televisions, no video games, no spending all your time alone in your room. See my page on how to renovate your living room into a space your family will enjoy being in.
Storage - With small bedrooms comes small closets. We'll discuss storage tips commonly used in the '50s a little later on.
Color - As I mentioned in the segment on living room makeovers, the general color scheme you choose should flow throughout your home, and this includes the bedroom. The main reason for this is the ability to move furniture around your home when needed without colors clashing. Remember, general means just that, you don't need to have the EXACT same wall color and furniture color in each room, but they should be in the same spectrum.
Style - Style of furniture and decor varied greatly and depended on one's personal taste. Some of the most popular styles at the time were Old American, Modern, and Glamorous.
Glamorous master bedroom, 1953
Modern master bedroom, 1954
Furniture - A master bedroom would typically contain a minimal amount of furniture, most often only a bed, two nightstands, and a dresser. A particularly large or glamorous master suite may also contain a vanity or dressing table for the lady of the house. Just like today, it wasn't uncommon for bedroom furniture to be mis-matched hand-me-downs from relatives, so there was no particular style of furniture used above all others.
Linens - Sheets and linens were very simple, usually plain white, sometimes with a simple stripe or flower pattern. The biggest deal at the time was fitted sheets, so most women didn't care what they looked like so long as they clung to the mattress! Bed covers were almost always family heirlooms. If you don't have an heirloom blanket you may want to take use this renovation as an opportunity to make one if you're crafty, or order a custom one on Etsy. Family traditions always need to start somewhere, why not with you?
Basic linens, 1958
Basic linens, 1959
Storage - The most common storage solution for tiny closets was to separate clothes by season and only keep what you plan on wearing for the current season in your closet. The rest of the clothing was packed away in a trunk and stored in the the attic or seller until needed. This is a lot easier for us today with vacuum seal bags being fairly inexpensive we can store a lot more clothing in smaller amount of space. However if you're a family living in a mid-century home I strongly suggest making use of your attic space, you paid for that real estate, might as well utilize it!
Bedrooms For Kids
Let's be honest, designing rooms for children is a lot more fun than designing them for adults and it was no different in the '50s. If you have little ones take this opportunity to make their rooms as special and unique as they are!
Color - The color rule that you have used in the rest of your house does not apply to children's rooms, so allow yourself to go wild! Brightly colored walls and large, elaborate murals were quite common. Children may not have spent as much time in their rooms as kids of today do, but it was still important that they had a place just for them.
Brightly colored kid's room, 1955
Circus mural, 1955
Furniture - Given the extremely small size of most of the rooms the furniture was quite minimal. The goal for most parents was to give their child a room that would grow with them, so choosing furniture that would still be appropriate for the child in a number of years was important. To save room day beds were built into walls and bunk beds with roll away lower beds were used often. Generally children were given a bed, dresser, and a desk to do their homework. Any more furniture was usually unnecessary (no video games or TVs!)
Teen room with roll away lower bunk, 1955
A room to grow in, 1955
Storage - Storage solutions were a lot more creative in the kid's rooms than it was in mom and dad's room. Shelving was built along the walls and around the bed. Some kids would sleep in beds which were like large window seats to save space. Shelving was usually low and doubled as a bench for extra seating area, there was a place for everything. Check out the fish tank built into the desk in the picture below!
Custom built storage, 1955
Custom furniture, 1955
Custom desk and shelving, 1955
Room Sharing - If you have a large family, finding a mid-century home with enough rooms for everyone could be next to impossible. Most mid-century homes had 3 bedrooms, one for the parents, one for the boys, and one for the girls. Kid's learned to respect each other's space and share, but there were still some problems. If you have a big enough room, a separator is a great way to give kids their privacy when needed.
Bunk bed with built in storage, 1955
Sliding room divider, 1955
To get ideas for the rest of your home, please check out my past mid-century make over segments.