Classic 1950s Kitchen Design

Women’s History Month: A Look Back at Women and Kitchen Style Changes

March is Women’s History Month and in honor of it, we’re taking a look back at older kitchen styles we’d probably recognize from our grandmother’s home or maybe even our own childhood home. Kitchen styles have changed a lot since our grandmother’s day and so have the roles of women in society. In 1950, just 12 percent of women with children under the age of 6 worked outside the home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. By 1998, the same survey reports that number jumped to 64 percent. Kitchen styles changed along with the roles of women in society. Here’s a look back at four kitchen styles of yesteryear.


1950s:  Tile and colorful, solid surface countertops

Tile wasn’t just reserved for floors and backsplashes in the 1950s. Back then, tile was used as a countertop material as well. But keeping the grout between the tiles clean was a difficult chore. Another trend was solid surface (aka Formica) countertops in colors ranging from red to lime green. These mid-century countertops were installed for their durability and affordability.

Now: Granite, quartz, and natural stone countertops are more popular choices for their durability and classic appearance.


1950-1960s: Colorful kitchen appliances

The countertops weren’t the only chromatic spot in mid-century kitchens. That’s when appliance manufacturers started offering their large kitchen appliances in a variety of colors. The colorful refrigerators and ovens, ranging from yellow to pink, injected the space with a sense of cheerfulness.

Now: While colorful appliances are still sought after, stainless steel and white are more popular choices.


1970s: Darker kitchen cabinets

Dark, raised panel kitchen cabinets were big in 1970s kitchen design and were often paired with funky colors like avocado, according to home renovation experts. The combination of dark kitchen cabinets and dark accent colors made the kitchen feel dimmer and less cheerful than 1950s kitchens.

Now: Dark, raised panel kitchen cabinets have received a much-needed update and feature more modern lines and finishes. Pair dark color kitchen cabinets with lighter countertops and backsplashes to make them pop and prevent the kitchen from looking too dark.


1980s-1990s: Appliance garages

These hidden homes for small appliances gained traction because they kept kitchen counters clutter-free. According to a Forbes article titled, “Thinking Kitchen Remodel? Avoid These 8 Trends,” appliance garages fell out of popularity because they took up too much counter space. Plus, many homeowners didn’t mind having their mixers or toasters on display.

Now: Inside cabinet accessories and organizers streamline kitchen tools by utilizing unused cabinet space. They don’t take away from the overall look of the kitchen like appliance garages and still save counter space.


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