50+ vintage ’50s table setting ideas & inspiration

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Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (1)
Here’s a look at our collection of vintage ’50s table setting ideas — direct from a couple dozen magazines that came out between 1950 and 1959.

FOOD TASTES BETTER, the whole atmosphere is happier, when meals are served from pretty tables. And they’re easily set!

On fresh, crisp linens, a flowering plant, fruit, foliage, or your favorite figurines make centerpieces that create a mood for gracious dining.


Start your table with a vibrant green

Avoid monotony by using an assortment of cloths or placemats that provide textural contrasts and play up the color and design in your china.

Here, a vibrant green background and simple centerpiece arrangement of huckleberry leaves and lemons enhance the Blue Doves ovenproof ware.

Start your table with a vibrant green


Red checked tablecloth base

A provincial red-checked, Belgian linen cloth goes sophisticated when set with handsomely plain table appointments.

Milk glass goblets in Simplicity pattern, melamine plastic plates, plastic-handled stainless-steel flatware, and a tidy rosette sansevieria plant all establish an air of unaffected elegance.

Red checked tablecloth base


Cintage ’50s table setting for a lunch or brunch

A small, everblooming begonia plant brings a lovely touch of color and decoration to a card-table luncheon or brunch set on a gaily patterned linen cloth. The melamine plastic dinnerware and flatware, with Tuxedo pattern tumblers, add smart color interest.

50s party table decor from 1959 (2)


A springtime touch

Use color and decoration to give midwinter meals a lovely springtime touch. Our choice is a pretty linen cloth, softly colored melamine dinnerware, and a graceful arrangement of sweetpea vines and blossoms from the florist. Flatware is Circe pattern stainless.

50s party table decor from 1959 (3)


Making the table an expression of your personality (1958)

BECAUSE THE TABLE you set is an expression of your personality, we believe it should — and can — be exciting. Just a little thought and planning will make your tables as varied as your moods or menus.

Here, working in collaboration with Muriel Lubliner, nationally famous table-setting authority and bridal consultant, Better Homes & Gardens brings you easy, practical ways to put beauty and variety on the everyday table. Here are ideas to copy or adapt.

A dining table in lilac and pink

The Contemporary table happily wears many moods. Footed milk glass goblets and pink marbleized salad plates have been added to the basic white dinnerware to give this luncheon setting a pleasing traditional loveliness.

Ceramic figurines and a “perpetual” flower arrangement repeat in the centerpiece the lilac and pink theme.

A dining table in lilac and pink


Starting with basic white for a breakfast table

Basic white china becomes vivid and dramatic when handled with a flair — even at breakfast time. Orange juice in crystal tumblers, yellow fiber mats, and gay red napkins set the pace.

For added dash, serve juice from a crystal decanter, toast from a triple-tier box — and the morning news from a folding silk basket.

Starting with basic white for a breakfast table 1958


Elegant but simple

At a dinner for guests, the basic white china takes on splendid formality. Tomato juice in tall, slender glasses, matching napkins, and extra-long tapers add brilliant notes of color and drama to the black and white setting.

The glistening black placemats are made of textured plastic — very easy to care for.

50s party table decor from 1959 (4)


’50s table setting ideas: Budget-wise expert tips (1956)

By Patricia Phillips – The Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) March 13, 1956

A flower-arranging expert with a very down-to-earth approach addressed members of the Northwood Garden Club the other day. “These are ‘hamburger and mashed potato’ table settings I’m going to show you,” explained Mrs Irvin O Wright, the guest speaker.

“In other words, they are designed for the average housewife on a limited budget who can’t dash off to the florist every time she wants flowers for her centerpiece.”

Vintage tables setting ideas and inspiration from the 1950s

Fix the centerpiece last

She had a warning for average Mrs. Baltimore: Don’t think of the centerpiece first, but rather start with the table covering; proceed to the china and glass, then blend or contrast the centerpiece with the rest.

And don’t forget that the dining room is basically the place to eat. Never make the floral display on the table so large that there is no room for the food.

For each of the table settings, Mrs. Wright used crocheted mats in many colors. “It’s not that I dislike white tablecloths,” she explained. “The mats are just easier to use for my lectures.”

Demonstrating that the centerpiece should blend with the china, she used heavy, blue Danish pottery ware against a dark-blue mat, matching napkin, white milk-glass and, enhancing the effect, a cheese pot painted blue, containing red geraniums.

Retro casual dinner party table concept from 1959

Container problem

“One of the hardest things about table settings,” she said, “is finding the proper container for the centerpiece.”

“Look around your house, your attic, even the trash can,” she advised her audience. “You’ll be amazed at the possibilities for containers to be found.”

The proper table, it seems should be of one color. The viewer should think, “What a pretty green table, pink table or plain old white table,” as the case may be.

For an interesting effect, Mrs. Wright employed colors of the same family, but not of the same value, in a predominantly yellow table setting.

Varying shades of yellow, even to the pale chartreuse of the oblong bowl for the flowers, lent drama to the heavy modern chinaware and the yellow goblet.

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (2)

Perspective for task

“When you arrange a centerpiece, sit down to do it, because this is the way it will be seen at the table,” she said. “And keep it low. Nothing is quite so awkward as trying to talk to someone across the table who is completely hidden behind a mass of bloom.”

Mrs. Wright said there is a temptation among amateur flower arrangers to place flowers in vases in a woefully repetitious manner.

“Experiment!” she urged. Some examples of Mrs Wright’s ingenuity noticed in her table settings [not shown] were dried brown magnolia, leaves which she rescued from a neighbor’s trash can; large plastic beads bought at the five and ten, which she painted; and an unusual combination of flowers and fruit, whose color she had heightened by liberal use of lipstick.

Pretty vintage dining table ideas from the 1950s (1)

Choice of china

She commented that the young bride today has an interesting choice to make between buying contemporary or traditional china.

Traditional with its varied, intricate patterns allows a freer use of color in table settings. Any of the numerous colors in a flowered pattern can be picked up and repeated in the glassware and floral display.

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Modern china and pottery ware, on the other hand, can be used more dramatically in a strong contrast of colors.

“Never make table setting a major production,” Mrs Wright concluded. “After all, food is the most important thing. If time is short and the choice is between a dramatic centerpiece and home-made biscuits, concentrate on the biscuits.”


See more vintage ’50s table setting ideas

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (7)


Pretty vintage ’50s table setting with lots of ’50s floral accents

Pretty table settings with lots of 50s floral accents

Retro 1950s inspiration for setting the table (4)

Retro 1950s inspiration for setting the table (5)


ELEGANT & FORMAL TABLE SETTING IDEAS

Sweet and elegant placesetting idea with white dishware - from 1956

Traditional dining room table setting arrangement

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (1)


Lacy vintage tablesetting from 1953

Lacy vintage tablesetting from 1953


Elegant clear glass tableware accented with flowers and a purple tablecloth

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (6)

Traditional dining table arrangement from the 1950s

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (8)


Long table with salmon-colored highlights

For a dinner party in a classical formal dining room – 1950s

Long table with salmon-colored highlights for a dinner party in a classical formal dining room - 1950s


Old-fashioned all-white dining table settings from 1957

Old-fashioned all-white dining table settings from 1957


Cabbage-look bowls and plates, mixed with orange and pewter

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (9)

Party table decor from 1957 (2)

Pretty vintage dining table ideas from the 1950s (3)

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (5)


Table-setting suggestions from the fifties

Every hostess takes pride in a beautiful table set with sparkling china and gleaming silver.

The 3 table settings shown below demonstrate the dramatic effect you can achieve with a monochromatic color scheme, making table linens out of decorative or dress fabrics to match the color of your china and your serving pieces.

More than a thing of beauty in itself, a carefully worked-out table setting is a graceful compliment to your guests.

Table set in grey, white, red

Round table set in grays demonstrates the dramatic effect which can be achieved by use of a monochromatic color scheme and by making two table runners from a decorative or dress fabric in place of the traditional round cloth.

Between the black and white of the table itself, the setting graduates in shade from the off-white plates and underliners, the smoke crystal, the silver-gray table runners, the gray pewter candlesticks and flower container, to the deep elephant gray casseroles and coffee service, with the whole monochromatic scheme relieved by the centerpiece and brilliant pink Irish linen napkins.

The table is 48″ in diameter with a white Formica top on black lacquered legs. The screen [above] is made from composition board covered with wallpaper.

Vintage 50s table decor in grey black white and red


Vintage ’50s table setting: Peach and orange tones with copper

Long, narrow table in nasturtium is a setting in variations on the color, beginning with the pale apricot of the napkins through the gradually deepening shades of table runners, wooden bowls, copper casserole and warmer, and ending in the deep rust-orange of the plates.

The table runners, which you can make of decorative fabric, cover both ends and one side of the table, set in a space-saving one-sided seating arrangement. Also space-saving is the table itself, which is long (72″) and narrow (18″) with a flip top opening out to 36″.

Table setting in peach and orange tones 1958


Table setting in hues of blue

Rectangular table in blue is strikingly beautiful study in graduating blues from the pale candles through the soft blue stoneware plates, the green-blue place mats, the brighter candles and royal blue Irish linen napkins up to the deep blue free-form glass salad plate.

White lilies and the warm brown tones of table, salad servers and drapery give color relief. The staggered seating, a new idea in seating four at a rectangular table, provides two free diagonal corners for the candles and serving platter. The place mats are made of coarse linen.

Midcentury 50s table setting in hues of blue


Long informal dining tables

With place settings in blue, orange and yellows; then black & yellows below

Long informal dining table with place settings in blue, orange and yellows

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (4)


Charming old glassware for dining table place settings from the fifties

Charming old glassware for dining table placesettings from the fifties

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (1)

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (8)

Party table decor from 1957 (1)

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (2)

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (3)

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (4)

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (5)


FESTIVE PARTY TABLE SETTING IDEAS

vintage ’50s table setting ideas for parties & celebrations (1959)

ANY DAY OF THE WEEK is a wonderful day for a party. But birthdays, holidays, and all the special days of the year inspire extra-special treatment.

On these pages, Better Homes & Gardens brings you an array of easy-to-do, themed table setting ideas that will make your party memorable.

A poodle party

Any youngster will cheer this birthday table. For who does not love a poodle dog — especially one that totes a gift? Dogs are made of mailing tubes with gifts enclosed. Cover body with ribbon and make tight bows for the feet and head.

50s party table decor from 1959 (6)


A boy’s birthday party

If the “birthday child” is a man, give your table a strong, masculine look. Here, black ribbon strips on a plain white cover make a striking pattern; bold color-contrasts in dinnerware and centerpiece add interest; and clown figurines guarding a one-candle cake set the mood for fun.

50s party table decor from 1959 (5)


St Patrick’s day table decor

What could be more fitting for a Saint Patrick’s Day get-together than a Kelly green bowler on a Kelly green tablecloth?

Gay dime-store candies in saran wrapping circle the hat; pipes and satin ribbons decorate the base; and huckleberry leaves soften the sharp, square outline.

50s party table decor from 1959 (7)


For a pretty birthday tabletop

An inexpensive, make-it-yourself cloth dresses the birthday table beautifully. It comes packaged, all cut out and ready to put together quickly and easily. Arrange small gifts — prettily wrapped to accent your centerpiece and color scheme — as an important part of the setting.

For a pretty birthday tabletop

Retro 1950s inspiration for setting the table (6)


A vision in orange

Serving oranges filled with sherbet, and featuring clove-studded oranges for the centerpieces.

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (7)


 

Festive party table setting for kids

Retro 1950s inspiration for setting the table (3)

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (3)

 


For a New Year’s celebration

Your New Year’s Eve guests will enjoy a midnight buffet served on a cobalt-blue cloth set with star-spangled plastic plates.

For more glamour, add hanging gold paper stars, colorful streamers, and scintillating candlelight. Such a setting makes the simplest fare festive.

50s party table decor from 1959 (1)


A table for Valentine’s Day (1959)

We agree with the young man: the valentine setting looks good plates and red carnations highlight the beauty of ruby-colored enough to eat.

On a silver-flecked pink cloth, milk glass service crystal. White tapers — to be lighted at dinnertime — add charm.

A table for Valentine's Day 1959


OUTDOOR PARTY TABLE SETTING INSPIRATION

Elegant outdoor table setup from the 1950s

Featuring a cool blue tablecloth with a wavy pattern in white

Elegant outdoor table setup from the 50s

Pretty vintage dining table ideas from the 1950s (4)

Retro 1950s inspiration for setting the table (1)


A composition in pink (1957)

The fragrance of roses mingling with strawberries sets the tone for dinner in a garden. Pink cloth, glasses and votive candles echo the coloring of the centerpiece.

Strawberries may be plucked out of the centerpiece to accompany dessert of coeur a la creme.

Flintridge china. Towle sterling. Table setting designed by D. Lorraine Yerkes. Photographed in the Palm Beach garden of Mrs. Charles S. Davis.

Roses with strawberries in the garden - 1957

Vintage 50s table setting ideas from 1959 (6)

Pretty vintage dining table ideas from the 1950s (5)

Pretty vintage dining table ideas from the 1950s (2)

Vintage table setting ideas from the 50s (10)

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