31 vintage 1950s kitchen tile design ideas

Creative 1950s kitchen and family room decor with salmon pink tile

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From the middle of the 20th century, see some classic and some creative vintage 1950s kitchen tile design ideas that were popular decades ago!

In the ’50s home: Pastels popular for kitchens (1955)

Article from the Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) April 16, 1955

Pastel yellows, blues and greens are the most popular colors for ceramic tile kitchen floors, walls and countertops, the Tile Council of America reports.

These current favorites are good permanently, the Council says, because they always look fresh, where darker colors may become tiresome.

1. Vintage kitchen with tiled countertops, floors and walls

A real “take it easy” kitchen, with lots of gay good looks! Mosaic clay tile all the way — on floor, counter, walls!

1950s mosaic tile floor, counter and walls

Housewives go for yellow in their kitchens (1957)

Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) August 14, 1957

Most housewives may not like getting up with the sun, but they sure prefer the brilliance of its golden yellow in their kitchens.

A survey taken by the Tile Council of America among 1,000 contractors specializing in ceramic tile kitchens shows that when the ladies choose their color, its yellow two to one.

Nearly half of the contractors polled (41 percent) reported yellow to be the most popular tile color for kitchen walls. Thirty-one percent declared it to be the most popular color for ceramic tile countertops.

ALSO SEE: 9 colorful mid-century kitchen remodels & retro floorplans from 1954

2. Retro 1950s yellow kitchen with upper row of aqua tile

Simple 1950s kitchen design with yellow and green tile walls

There was less unanimity on floor colors, but again, most contractors — 20 percent to be exact — reported yellow first choice.

Brown ran second to yellow in the three categories listed, but this color, quite understandably, was represented in a much wider variety of tones, ranging from light to dark, than yellow. Green, white and gray tile followed next in order.

3. A narrow gray tiled countertop with a small sink and 3 burners

Vintage 50s gray tile countertop with sink and stovetop

Homes in the West still rank as the biggest users of tile in the kitchens, although the East reports a 10 percent increase in demand.

Contractors attribute this to the trend toward using colorful ceramic tile countertops in open-planned kitchens designed to be attractive from any view.

With ranges, sinks, washing machines and other kitchen appliances now being built right into countertops, the popularity of ceramic tile counters which are fire-proof, scratchproof, and easy to keep clean, has soared.

Designers, say the tile contractors, also feel that ceramic tile lends beauty as well as practicality to the no longer “institutionalized” kitchen.

ALSO SEE: 22 great vintage kitchen design ideas you don’t see much anymore

4 & 5. Two mid-century tiled kitchens by Hermosa (1950s)

Mid-century kitchen tile - Hermosa (1950s)

6. Ceramic tile used throughout the home (1957)

Adapted from an article by John Wallace – El Paso Times (Texas) September 1, 1957

Ceramic tile is coming out of the bathroom. It’s been a fixture there for years, as flooring and wall material. Now it’s spreading throughout the house — in living and dining rooms, basements, terraces, foyers and on walls and fireplaces.

ALSO SEE: 35 vintage 1950s bathroom tile design ideas

Tile has been employed for 7,000 years as a building material, but its uses have been somewhat limited. Today it seems to be undergoing a renaissance.

Why? Its increasing range of colors, sizes, shapes and textures — as well as simpler methods of installation — are credited for its new popularity.

Actress Jane Wyatt with green tile kitchen 1955
Actress Jane Wyatt, from Father Knows Best, with a green tile kitchen from the movie “My Blue Heaven” (1955)

Attractive and durable

A fired clay product, ceramic tile has two qualities which give it merit as a surfacing material: it requires little care and it has esthetic appeal. It’s waterproof, colorfast, easily cleaned and durable, and it requires no waxing, polishing, painting or other redecorating.

Although its use in dwellings dates back many centuries, not too many do-it-yourself homeowners have been willing to take on the job of installing tile with mortar. It can be a messy job, and one best left for the professional.

7. Blue-tiled countertops and decorative polka-dot tiles and curtains

Small sky blue mosiac tile kitchen countertops from the 1960s

See 17 vintage tile styles: Sculptured, decorator, scored

Pomona tile designs from 1961

8. Green, brown & yellow tiled walls for combo kitchen/sewing room

Tile also is finding use as surface decoration for planters and room dividers.

Planters and room dividers, of course, are being utilized to achieve the so-called “open plan” and “partitionless definition” of various areas of the home.

ALSO SEE: 10 old-fashioned gas ranges from ’50s kitchens

Vintage kitchen-laundry area with tile walls, counters and floors

Unglazed tile provides a safe and comfortable walking surface. Some homeowners even have made use of glazed tile as a flooring surface, but it’s more expensive. It’s more easily chipped than unglazed tile and its glassy-smooth surface presents some hazards.

In the modern kitchen, tile goes on surfaces in need of a sanitary, easily-cleaned finish. A tiled panel surrounding the range, for example, eliminates the need to redecorate that often-spoiled space.

Cooking fats and steam stains will not affect the tile. A cloth, dampened in a detergent solution, will restore its brightness.

Tile is being used for kitchen drainboards, counters and splashbacks.

9. Teal tile with light green kitchen cabinetry

Old-fashioned blue tile kitchen with stainless steel appliances

10. Wainscot-style blue tile in a kitchen

Today’s homeowner can buy ceramic tile in about 200 colors.

Glazed wall tile is made from a pre-fired “biscuit” of white clay to which ceramic color glazes are applied and re-fired in kilns. Under the high temperature of the kilns, the color glazes are fused into the white tiles.

Retro fifties flooring - Kitchen in blue in gray from 1950

11. Light blue and brick colors for this retro kitchen

Here, see square glazed ceramic tiles in pale blue, patterned wall tiles, and a quarry tile floor.

When used in the home, ceramic mosaics generally are unglazed, porcelain or natural clay tiles with color penetrating throughout. They are made in small shapes usually squares and rectangles, and now come factory-pasted on paper sheets for easy application.

Ceramic mosaics are must popular for floors and as coverings for the tops of tables and counters.

Square glazed ceramic tiles and quarry tiles for a retro kitchen

12. Blue and white vintage kitchen with a large bronze cooking hood (1959)

The cooking island in the middle of this room is decorated with small ceramic mosaic tiles.

Blue and white vintage kitchen with cooking island (1959)

13. Vintage ’50s kitchen island idea with raised cooktop

After thousands of years as a fixture in man’s dwellings, tile is being used in more and more ways in the smartly-designed homes of today.

Retro 50s Hermosa tile kitchen decor ideas

14. Retro fifties kitchen with beige tile and stainless steel appliances

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Old-fashioned metal ice cube trays: See some vintage Magic Touch honeycomb ice trays

1950s kitchen tile ideas

15. Soothing kitchen decor with light wood cabinets and pale green tile walls & countertops

Retro 50s kitchen with wall and floor tile

16. Mother & son in their retro fifties kitchen with muted blue-green tilework

ALSO SEE: How to be a perfect ’50s housewife: Cleaning your home

Vintage fifties-style tiled kitchen

17. Retro 50s kitchen with tile… everywhere (1953)

These smart colors laugh at butterfingered small fry, over-enthusiastic chefs, and everyday kitchen wear and tear.

The tile-enclosed barbecue stove is a joy to have, and the tile-lined woodbox underneath is insect-proof.

Tiled areas behind and around the stove and the range can’t be hurt by heat or splattered grease. Tiled window sills and countertops are stain-proof, waterproof, and sunfast.

Retro 50s kitchen with tile everywhere

18. Vintage 1953 kitchen decor with tile patterns & knotty pine cabinetry

Vintage 1953 kitchen decor with tile patterns and knotty pine cabinetry

19. Design for a family-living kitchen by George Nemeny (1953)


Architect Nemeny’s idea-packed “living” kitchen shows you how colorful clay tile can brighten your home life and lighten your chores in so many busy areas.

In new construction or in remodeling, clay tile gives you lifetime convenience and beauty, freedom from waxing and refinishing, and surfaces that resist heat, moisture, scratching and fading practically forever. Madame and Sir, that’s real economy!

ALSO SEE: Vintage Pyrex from the ’50s: Color bakingware, glass Pyrexware, dinnerware, flameware & more

Design for a family-living kitchen by George Nemeny (1953)

20. Clay tile kitchen from the fifties: Beauty, utility, and a touch of the unusual

World-famous architect Richard Neutra used all of the virtues of clay tile in his design for a kitchen-dining-play area.

The playroom and patio floors flow naturally from the ingenious “stepsaver” kitchen. Cheerful tile work surfaces invite food preparation. The rear wall wainscoting presents a glistening, easily-cleaned surface that defies cooking soil and smudge.

Clay tile kitchen flooring from the 1950s

21. Fish mosaic tile floor decor from the fifties

Cecelia Staples dreamed up this fanciful mosaic fish pond, which almost seems to spring, glittering and colorfully-stocked, right out of her slate kitchen floor.

Fish mosaic tile flooring from the fifties

22. Creative 1950s kitchen and family room decor with salmon pink tile

ALSO SEE: Pink washers & dryers from the ’50s & ’60s

Creative 1950s kitchen and family room decor with salmon pink tile

23. ’50s kitchen with plank cabinetry and ceramic tile countertops (1954)

Vintage 50s kitchen with plank cabinetry and ceramic tile countertops (1954)

24. Retro kitchen with lots of ceramic tile decor (1957)

Retro 50s kitchen with lots of ceramic tile decor (1957)

Vintage 1950s kitchen tile breakfast bar in blue and yellow with pink accent

ALSO SEE: 31 retro yellow kitchens from yesteryear: Sunny midcentury home decor

25. Unique architect-designed kitchen (1952)

Clay tile… practical.. convenient… beautiful! A stimulus to dynamic new design

Architect George Nelson used clay tile in designing this idea-provoking kitchen.

Spacious clay tile work surfaces, easily cleaned and glowing with color… suspended over the warm red tones of a clay tile floor that laughs at dirt.

A handy bank of waist-high refrigerator doors and an oven are recessed in a mellow background of glazed wall tile, the most soil-resistant and enduringly beautiful of all wall surfaces.

A clay tile, heat-resistant countertop enhances the convenient, independent burner unit with practical beauty.

Picture these same colorful clay tile countertops in your kitchen, lightening your cleaning chores . . . lasting for a lifetime. Imagine clay tile in back of your range or around your sink, fighting grease and dirt… resisting heat, moisture and staining. Think of the hours you’d save not having to wax or scrub the clay tile floor — a damp mop is all you’ll ever need!

Ask your local clay tile contractor to show you samples of the decorator colors available . . . inquire about the true economy of clay tile in practical applications around your kitchen and other areas in your home.

Unique architect-designed kitchen from the 1950s


26. Retro 1955 kitchen design with ceramic tile surfaces

MORE: Forget kitchen cabinets – install a wall-mounted refrigerator! (Yes – this was really a thing in the ’50s)

Retro 1955 kitchen design with ceramic tile surfaces

27. Tiled walls and countertops – and a plant ledge

Vintage tile countertops and walls from the 1950s

28. Retro ’50s yellow and pink kitchen with blue accents

MORE: See 10 vintage portable electric hand mixers & beaters from the ’50s

Your kitchen and you St. Charles Kitchens 1957 yellow pink

29. Country-style tile decor in a vintage kitchen from the fifties

Vintage tile design ideas for your kitchen from the 1950s

30. Basic blue 1950s tile countertops and backsplashes

Tile Council Of America 1958 blue kitchen

31. A bright 1950s kitchen with sunny yellow mosaic tile

Old-fashioned yellow kitchen countertops and decor from the 50s

ALSO SEE: Post-war housing: See 35 small starter homes from the ’40s & ’50s

Vintage range of glazed tile sizes (1956)

From the ’50s: American-Olean provides a complete range of sizes and shapes in glazed ceramic tile. This variety gives you maximum design freedom in planning every type of installation.

Note particularly the two new sizes: 8-1/2 x 4-1/4 and 6 x 4-1/4. These two new shapes were developed to meet the increasing demand for larger unit tiles, and they offer new design possibilities to the architect.

The smallest size, 1-1/4″ squares, in single colors or in multi-colored treatments, achieve a strikingly handsome effect when featured on walls. They are being widely used for architectural coloration on the exteriors of buildings.

New crystalline glazes, abrasion-resistant for heavy foot traffic, to harmonize with wall tile colors, have just been made available. 

Colors of vintage ceramic tiles from American-Olean (1956)

NOW SEE THIS: 22 great vintage kitchen design ideas you don’t see much anymore

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