Space-saving small home decorating hints the ’50s way

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Space-saving small home decorating hints the 50s way
From stylish room dividers to space-saving storage to simple tips for making the most of a small home interior, get some ideas from the fifties for savvy ways to make the most of what you have.

Compact coffee table in the living room

This small pedestal coffee table takes up less floor space, providing more legroom for you and for your guests.

Another space-saving trick: daybed-style sofas with only one arm, arranged adjacent to a side table in the corner. 

ALSO SEE: Hide-a-Bed sofas from the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s

Home decor from 1959 - Coffee table and couches


Wood grille divider for midcentury space-saving small home decor

A handsome wood grille, attached to ceiling, wall, and floor separates the dining room from entrance hall in the Clinton Peets’ home, Sherman Oaks, California.

The open-work panels supply design interest to both areas. They require no extra floor space, and permit the passage of daylight into the dining room. Panels are painted charcoal gray. Decorated by Susan Ross.

Wood grille divider from 1959 vintage home


An angled dining area in this mid-century modern home

Short on space? Try setting a dining nook at an angle to keep the furniture compact when not in use, while still allowing for passage into the room beyond.

Vintage dining room at an angle for small homes - 1950s

MORE: Tour the ultimate mid-century modern house: The Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year


Space-saving small home decor: Pegboard shelving

Pegboard corner supports brackets for the decorative arrangement of books, magazines and hampers in the home of Mr and Mrs Ray Knipple, Smyrna, Georgia.

Wicker hampers provide ideal storage for such articles as accessories, pocketbooks, and sweaters.

Vintage home organization - Pegboard shelving 1959


Translucent screen divider between kitchen and family room

This lightweight screen divider takes the place of a bulky wall, but clearly and fashionably separates the two living areas.

Kitchen dining room divider from 1957

MORE: 130 vintage ’50s house plans used to build millions of mid-century homes we still live in today


Kitchen storage: An antique hat rack

Antique hatrack used to display a collection of old mustache cups is ideal for a narrow kitchen wall. Colorful dish towels add variety. A small nail or tack on pegs will keep mugs from slipping.

Antique hatrack for narrow kitchen wall - Decor from the 50s


The expanding ’50s kitchen for a small home

Save counter space with pull-out shelving to use as needed — such as to cool cookies, as shown here. The main kitchen countertop also pulls out for an expanded workspace.

Kitchen with built-in cookie cooling trays from the 1950s

ALSO SEE: How to be a perfect ’50s housewife: In the kitchen


Space-saving small home decor: Bonus storage in an alcove

Shallow cupboards fill 13-inch alcove in the dining room of Mrs L Dickson Griffith, of Darien, Connecticut. The slate surface is oiled for sheen. White cafe curtains hang above it on brass rod.

ALSO SEE  President Eisenhower had no idea how to use a rotary-dial telephone, even though he was given the 50 millionth phone

Shallow cupboards for an alcove - Vintage home decor from 1959


’50s bedroom: No room for a full canopy bed?

Tailored canopy bed is made from a panel of fabric running up a wall and onto the ceiling and held in place by brass rod at corner line. Fabric matches spread and trim bolster.

Tailored canopy bed home decor idea from 1959


Triple duty furniture for the vintage ’50s bedroom

This cozy covered nook serves as a sofa, daybed or a regular bed. A sleek and simple fabric canopy gives privacy and a cozy feel.

Vintage 50s bedroom day bed sofa

MORE: A 1950s home tour: See inside a small house in San Francisco

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