Hooked on Fridays: Decorating Books from the ’50s

by hookedonhouses on January 29, 2009

Those of you who have been reading my blog for very long probably know I’m a sucker for old decorating books like this Better Homes & Gardens guide from 1956. When I see them on eBay or in used bookstores, they are hard to resist. I love the retro stuff. It’s fun to peek into the past and see how people lived. This week as I was looking through the BHG book again, I noticed this yellow dining room:

What struck me is that the light fixture and table are both things that could be found at IKEA today (or similar versions, anyway). Here’s a white table with a lacquer finish:

And a pendant light from IKEA with a similar vibe:

Even the yellow in the room is very close to Pantone’s Color of the Year, Mimosa:

Apparently it’s true when they say everything comes back in style again if you wait long enough–though I don’t think there’s any hope of resurrecting that flower arrangement, no matter how many decades go by. (To see other Retro Rooms I’ve featured from old decorating books, click here.)

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re hooked on today! If you have something to share with us on your blog, add your link below. Just please be sure to:

  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.
  2. Link back to the party from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is talking about today!

P.S. If you’re a Stumbler, please Stumble this! If you’re on Twitter, please Tweet it! I want everyone to get as much traffic as possible today.

Hooked on Fridays Participants

1. Mary Beth {Valentine Cupcakes}
2. The Summer Kitchen Girls
3. Kim @ Forever Wherever (Coffee)
4. Michelle (Give Away)
5. Holly@Homebody (my best design decision)
6. PamperingBeki (hooked on Carbs!)
7. susan (Your home, only better.)
8. Taya@Delightful! (bookcase)
9. Troischats (pencil rolls and Fridays!)
10. Gayle (Vintage Cookbook)
11. Kimm at Reinvented (Inspiration)
12. Katie (hooked on living in Europe)
13. Arleen @ Seasons for All at Home (Decorative Plates)
14. Canyon Wren Cottage
15. Maya (Smelling the Flowers)
16. Chez Lacy (Saving Money)
17. Pretty Organizer@ PrettyOrganizedPalace
18. Jess @ Just a Blink (Lamps)
19. Amy @ Living Locurto (free downloads!)
20. Gigi @ Lemonade Home
21. Christy (the coolest thing ever)
22. Visual Vamp
23. Fifi Flowers Design Decor
24. Linda@Lime in the Coconut (Orange-ish)
25. Puna
26. Dagny @ Beautiful Living
27. Terri at Lakewood Manor
28. Liz@Violet Posy
29. Emily@remodelingthislife
30. songbirdtiff-free wreath
31. Coco @ Ordinary Miracles
32. Shannon has a giveaway!
33. Wayfaring Wanderer (hooked on hope)
34. Kristin @ Pumpkin Cottage
35. Charlie
36. Lynne, Tea for Joy (Pianos)
37. Kimba @ A Soft Place to Land
38. Ann Kroeker (pizza dough)
39. Suzy Homemaker
40. Angela @ PeonyPatch
41. Monkey\’s Momma
42. Astrid (little birds)
43. Ginny (things 5 year olds say)
44. Straw Cottage
45. velvet and linen
46. Kristen (frommytinykitchen)
47. Our Nifty Notebook (family, coloring & books)
48. Mark @ RehabOrDie.com
49. Jessica (Cheap wall art)
50. Andi – udandi (toaster oven)
51. Neutral Dwelling
52. Tamara
53. Julie
54. Pam Kersting
55. 7MSN Ranch, New Mexico
56. Jill (Before & Afters!)
57. Creations From My Heart (Thrift Stores)
58. Ramona Owen
59. Eric Da Plumber!

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

NOTE: IS YOUR LINK MISSING? That means you linked to your general blog address and not a specific post, and I couldn’t figure out which post was for Hooked on Fridays. Please remember to use your post’s permalink and to link back to the party so there’s no confusion. Everyone makes mistakes–-just try again on February 13 (no Hooked on Fridays next week–I’ll be in Nashville for the BlissDom blogging conference)!

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Mary Beth January 29, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I love the retro look. I remember thinking that was so gauche when I was little but now I love it.

The Summer Kitchen Girls January 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Woooohooo! We’re first! Hey Julia – we’ve finally made it! Had to laugh at this book – We’ve got this same book and get such a kick out of it!
Thanks for doing the Hooked on Fridays – we just love coming over to see what everyone is hooked on!

The Summer Kitchen Girls’s last blog post..Hooked on Shadow Boxes

The Summer Kitchen Girls January 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm

auuuuuuuuhhhh! I guess we ALMOST were first…..!

The Summer Kitchen Girls’s last blog post..Hooked on Shadow Boxes

Holly January 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Sorry Julia, my link is correct but I was a little slow and didn’t figure out that I hadn’t changed the name until I’d done it twice. Is there any way to fix it?

Holly’s last blog post..True Love

Kim @ Forever Wherever January 29, 2009 at 10:07 pm

I love the yellow! It looks great with mexican tile and wood!

Collecting old decorating magazines sounds fun! Everything old is new again, right?

I really enjoy Hooked on Fridays…thanks!


PamperingBeki January 29, 2009 at 10:19 pm

I really love all that yellow! Fab.

I joined with my Hooked on Carbs.

I’ll have my Fingerprint Friday linky up in the morning.

PamperingBeki’s last blog post..My favorite side dish. Kind of.

Susan Smith January 29, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I like any color called “mimosa” – regardless of the decade! 😉

Susan Smith’s last blog post..Groundhog Day Decorating Ideas (for real?)

Taya @ Delightful January 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I love this post! It’s so interesting to see all the fads come around again. I’m loving the yellow!

Taya @ Delightful’s last blog post..Hooked on a Fabulous Desk

amy January 29, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I agree I love looking at old photos of homes and decorating ideas. Amazing how everything always comes full circle.. Even down to colored appliances…Have a good weekend!

amy January 29, 2009 at 10:41 pm

ok i forgot to show you what I was hooked on today!!

amy’s last blog post..Nothing Like Red Patent Leather Shoes!!!!

Gayle January 29, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Julia, thank you for hosting this! It makes for such a fun finish to the week! It’s so funny that you are featuring an old decorating book this week and what I’m hooked on is an old cookbook of mine!

Gayle’s last blog post..I Love My Vintage Cook Book!

Kimm at Reinvented January 29, 2009 at 11:12 pm

I am so excited to participate this week! I love your blog and find much inspiration here!

Kimm at Reinvented’s last blog post..Saturday Shout-Outs

Katie @ makingthishome.com January 29, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Oh wow, Julia. I should be up at 5 in the morning more often over here! I’m so impressed with everyone posting already, and I’ll miss seeing them next week. After you first posted that color swatch a while back, I felt relieved. We painted that same color, and we were questioning it like crazy.

Arleen January 29, 2009 at 11:26 pm

The “mid-century” look is certainly back and IKEA is definitely the place to buy retro decor! I’m glad yellow is the color of the year. It’s so cheerful!

And, as always, thank you for hosting this weekly party!

Arleen’s last blog post..Decorative Plates

sandra/tx January 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Julia, some of my favorite “Hooked On” posts are ones about those retro books. What goes around comes around, huh? LOL

Troischats January 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Yellow is one of my most favourite colours, and it’s so nice to see it coming back into style agin – but did it ever go out?? I currently have a yellow room painted in “Mountain Marigold” … and just found a beautiful fabric for the windows that matches perfectly, only it’s $700 a metre!!!! Who could afford THAT???
Not me, so I will keep coming back to the Hooked On blog parties and living through my dreams!

Troischats’s last blog post..Love Fridays … and pencil rolls

PrettyOrganizer January 30, 2009 at 12:53 am

Lighting nut right now! Know you’re looking for chandeliers Julia. I found these all at KooKooBear dot com.

PrettyOrganizer’s last blog post..Hooked on Lighting

christy January 30, 2009 at 2:26 am

Isn’t it so funny how what’s old is new again? I love that yellow — it’s very close to the color we recently painted our guest room! I had hoped to post on that room today, but got sidetracked and haven’t finished it yet. Thanks for hosting this blog again – it rocks!

christy’s last blog post..the coolest thing ever

Visual Vamp January 30, 2009 at 2:55 am

I love vintage decorating books!
This one is a goody!
xo xo

Visual Vamp’s last blog post..Sorry I’m Late Audrey

Puna January 30, 2009 at 6:46 am

Yeah! I’m really starting to love Fridays! I also am a sucker for decorating books. I read decorating magazines like they are novels. I once bought a book on seaside homes for $150. Don’t tell my husband!

Dagny January 30, 2009 at 7:12 am

I’m currently hooked on fabrics! :) Love decorating books, should probably start collecting som vintage / antique ones. Thanks for the inspiration!

Dagny’s last blog post..Hvilken er fin favoritt? / Which one is your favorite?

AlexB January 30, 2009 at 7:25 am

I too am addicted to retro decorating books, but have now also discovered that antique dealers and old book stores have totally random pricing that makes me IRATE! I paid $20 for a 1960s mag with the pages torn out (grrr) but only $5 for a gorgeous 1948 Home Beautiful in mint condition.

AlexB’s last blog post..Space-saving bathroom waterfall

Kathi January 30, 2009 at 7:32 am

I’m sure you’ve seen Dorothy Draper (1889-1969) designs? Check out her signature style. Many of her design ideas are still current today. Love her book, IN THE PINK. She was America’s first female interior designer!

Terri January 30, 2009 at 7:50 am

Ok, I messed up and have two links. The second link is correct. If anyone can go in and fix my mess, they should remove the first Terri @ Lakewood Manor link.

I am the same way about 1950s cookbooks!

Terri’s last blog post..Hooked on Fridays: My STARR friends!

Liz@VioletPosy January 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

Wow I can see where Ikea is getting it’s inspiration from!! I still can’t bear that Mimosa colour, I just can’t imagine where it can be used?? Thanks for hosting again, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s hooked on’s this week :)

Liz@VioletPosy’s last blog post..There’s still time to plant…

Emily@remodelingthislife January 30, 2009 at 8:19 am

Thanks for hosting, Julia! I am glad to finally be able to join in!!

Happy Friday!

Emily@remodelingthislife’s last blog post..Link Love: Baby, It’s Cold Outside Edition

coco January 30, 2009 at 8:43 am

I have loads of current decorating books but I will have to keep my eyes opened for some of these older ones. I know my Mom had some that I would look at even as a child! I have been looking for some fun yellow fabric…I love it, so crisp and clean!

coco’s last blog post..tray chic…

Linda@Lime in the Coconut January 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

I really like that mimosa color….but to me it is more of an orange than a yellow.

And those books? Tres chic!

Linda@Lime in the Coconut’s last blog post..Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who?

Wayfaring Wanderer January 30, 2009 at 9:17 am

O, come on….that center piece really ties the room together 😉

Wayfaring Wanderer’s last blog post..In Light

angela | the painted house January 30, 2009 at 9:18 am

Ooo, I love old decorating books and mags, too. And, old cookbooks. Can you believe what people ate back then? The food photos are both grotesque and beautiful. LOVE ‘EM!

angela | the painted house’s last blog post..Don’t Snub the Snuggie

Kristin January 30, 2009 at 9:20 am

This book is so great. I was just thinking about painting our powder room a golden yellow like the picture. I love how styles and colors just keep revolving and end up “in style” time after time.

Kristin’s last blog post..Farmhouse Wares

Charlie January 30, 2009 at 9:37 am

Hi Julia, Yellow is back in such a big way, and not just in interiors. The second photo you posted brings back so many wonderful memories all that is missing is the metalic wallpaper! Anyone remember that?

autumnsun January 30, 2009 at 9:42 am

i love yellow and i guess always have. I remember when we moved to a new home when I was 10 I got to pick out the colors for my room and at the time my choice was unusual – my room was decorated in yellow, orange and green. I had a cool daisy pillow my mom made. 40 yrs later my room is painted yellow.

autumnsun’s last blog post..#3 – Follow My Fascination

Lynne January 30, 2009 at 9:52 am

I love yellow. Except I have spent a lot of time trying to find the right shade of yellow today in a fabric shop – apparently it is not popular in the UK…

Lazy Mom Leslie January 30, 2009 at 9:54 am

I love looking at the old decorating books! It’s amazing how little things have changed in 50 years. What goes around comes around!

bungalow_bliss January 30, 2009 at 10:11 am

That is hilarious! It does make you wonder, though…

bungalow_bliss’s last blog post..Snow Time Like the Present

Suzy January 30, 2009 at 10:54 am

Remember the bright yellow counter tops from the early 70’s. I still see kitchen around here with them. I’m a butter yellow fan myself. I’m hooked on Cookies today!

Suzy’s last blog post..This Friday, I’m hooked on Cookies….

Astrid January 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

WOW! That is YELLOW! I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of yellow. I do love looking at vintage magazines though. :)

Astrid’s last blog post..Hooked on::Bird Watching

Judy January 30, 2009 at 11:30 am

For a time I was hooked on vintage building books from the 50s-60s/ I had some great old magazines.

Judy’s last blog post..I’m Hooked on Small Houses

Mike January 30, 2009 at 11:50 am

I love the chairs in that photo as well. I’d pick a much softer yellow….that one is a little garish, but the chair style is timeless.

brooke January 30, 2009 at 11:52 am

Hi Julia.

I have enjoyed reading everyone’s posts, that I decided to join in the fun.
I messed up on my first try (#10), but I think I got everything correct on the second try (#46).
Sorry, next week should go much more smoothly!

Have a wonderful weekend.


brooke’s last blog post..zinio

Pat January 30, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I didn’t get anything ready for this week. I enjoyed yours. I see these 50’s style books at the book fair every year. Always tempted to pick them up. Perhaps I will, this June. I love it when Architectural Digest does retro issues. Many times, the styles from 50 years ago, will work in today’s homes. Even traditional style homes.

Pat’s last blog post..~Island Dreaming~

Sue January 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm

What goes around comes around…love that! If I hang onto anything long enough it will become stylish again right? It’s a great look and very in keeping with today!
I too love to look through the old books and magazines. One I love to see is the Architectural Dogest Hollywood edition each year. You know…they show today’s stars in their homes but the part I adore is looking at the stars of yester year in THEIR abodes.
I love the look of homes from the 30s/40s.

Another knock out post Julia!!


Sue’s last blog post..No Child Labor Laws Were Broken! I Swear!

RehabOrDie January 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm

I’m still in love with some of the sexy mid-century modern stuff. 70’s? not so much.

BTW, DW just discovered how to make and put video into the blog. I linked in our squeaky tub problem and fix entry for those who are interested.


RehabOrDie’s last blog post..Squeaky tub solution: part two.

Darla January 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Hilarious! I wonder if my 80s prom dresses are gunna be worth a MINT here soon! (HA)

Darla’s last blog post..DIY Artwork

pedaling January 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

my first time hookin’ up here.
today i am hooked on hanging pictures.

pedaling’s last blog post..Hanging Pictures

andi January 30, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I love old cookbooks, decorating & hostess books so one advantage to being a librarian is getting top dibs on this stuff in our booksale – wheeee!

andi’s last blog post..Make It: Felted Sweater Purse

Gigi January 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm

That’s my theory also- keep it long enough and it will be back in style. Actually, what I do is keep it 20 years and get rid of it the year BEFORE it comes back in style.

Gigi’s last blog post..Happy Birthday, Little People!

Tamara January 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Hey, I chose a color as my “Hooked On” theme for today too! It’s just way too much fun on Friday’s :)

Tamara’s last blog post..Hooked on GREEN!

Julie at Organizement January 30, 2009 at 3:46 pm

I am hooked on chocolate! Not just the food, but the color as well as decorating with chocolate accessories!

Julie at Organizement’s last blog post..Hooked on…

Pam Kersting January 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I’m new here. This looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to see what everyone is hooked on today!

Pam Kersting’s last blog post..Color in the Garden

Ms.Tee January 30, 2009 at 7:03 pm

That almost is the same yellow – how about that! I love it when you do the retro posts, too, Julia – have a great weekend~ :)

Ms.Tee’s last blog post..Postcards from summer

jill January 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

That yellow dining room is to die for! So crazy, fun, retro! Looking past the almost shocking yellow in high dosages (why not just a splash here or there… we – us homemakers – are so much more refined these days, eh?) I do like the idea of adding floor to ceiling drapery over a blank wall. It is especially great for the dining area to limit echoing and warm the space up texturally. I may “recycle” that look!

Debbie January 31, 2009 at 8:33 pm

HI Julia, Better Homes has always got it goin’ on! I have some of their vintage sewing and quilt books. Love their stuff and it’s fun to have it out…because I enjoy looking at them…love those pictures you showed!

Deborah Milne February 1, 2009 at 11:38 am

Hi Julia:
No wonder I loved the designs in your vintage B H & G’s design book as I am a 56′ vintage version as well! I immediately was drawn to the yellow dining room. It is always fun to see great design never truly fades away. I purchased last year an Ikea parsons style white lacquerish kitchen table for a steal & hung their glossy black drum style light fixture.I loved the lamp you posted as well. Yellow like that just makes a person smile even in the worst of moods. Thanks for showing us those terrific images. What fun!

Lisa February 2, 2009 at 1:11 pm

How much fun is this! I know i’m a little late in the game here but this has definitely brightened up my Monday. Makes me wonder if my mom still has some early Vogue and Seventeen. Am new to blogging and am constantly amazed at all the inspiring gals out there. Hope I can be of some inspiration too.

Lisa’s last blog post..

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