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Tonya Lee

Design Rewind: Vintage Girl’s Bedroom

By September 21, 2011

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Girl's Bedroom, 1950

In the past, the great outdoors was generally safe and toys didn't have a multimillion dollar marketing campaigns, so children's bedrooms weren't considered the playgrounds that they are today.

But times have changed, for better and for worse. It's no longer wise in many areas for children to spend unsupervised time out-of-doors. (Worse.) And toys have become safer and less expensive to produce so children have more indoor playthings. (Better.)

The photo above portrays a typical child's bedroom in the 1940s to early 1950s. (Families who were wealthy would have decorated more, but this photo is more typical of a working or middle-class family.) Later on in the 1950s, you'll see kids' bedrooms become more elaborate, but not just yet.

Why do you think this shift occurred during this decade or era - the late 1940s through the 1950s? What was going on during this time that would have influenced children's rooms, and children? Post in the comment section below.

And if you need a little modern photographic inspiration, see these photo galleries of amazing kid's room ideas.

Decorating Inspiration for Your Kid's Room
Girl's Bedroom Photos
Boy's Bedroom Photos
Baby Nursery Photos
Playroom Photos

Check out more weekly photos on About.com.

Photos © Cushing Memorial Library and Archives/Texas A&M


September 21, 2011 at 8:27 am
(1) Susan says:

I love the way this room looks, but I was a kid in the 1950s and never had a room this old-fashioned. I had the hardwood floors but not the braided rugs, and I had a chenille bedspread instead of a quilt. Oh, and I had a bedroom suite–very cutting edge! In the 50s we were looking ahead, not backward, and we were relatively prosperous and optimistic, something we expressed by going out and buying matched suites of tacky furniture. At least that was my experience.

September 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm
(2) Tonya Lee says:

Susan, you are right. By the mid-1950s, this look would have been long gone for those who had the money to redecorate. The room in the photo is more indicative of the 1940s, though the photo was taken a bit later.

Does anyone know why children’s room design and decor might have become more of a focus in the 1950s? Think about what all was going on during that time. Home decorating also had a huge surge in popularity during this time.

September 21, 2011 at 9:52 am
(3) Newlyweds Guide Francesca says:

Simple and sweet! It reminds me of the rooms in the homes I’ve visited and lived in when in my family’s native Italy. They’re still like this today.

September 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm
(4) kerry says:

I love the light in that picture. Gorgeous and simple.

September 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(5) Sukhmandir Kaur says:

The black and white photo makes this room look sparse and utilitarian, however the walls appear to have been papered and probably have color to them. The room appears very spacious, the bed has a frame and the windows have double hung full length drapes, so someone certainly had money for furnishings.
It appears to an older child rather than a young child’s room or there would be some evidence of playthings perhaps a rocking horse such as the one I had in the early 50′s With springs). My granddaughter’s stuffed horse has no rocker but probably did originally. She still manages to climb on and ride it so that much at least has not changed.

September 22, 2011 at 1:46 am
(6) phylameana says:

My sister and I shared a bedroom in the fifties. We lived in ranch style home with hardwood floors. In the bedroom we had no throw rugs, but window treatments floral curtains my mother sewed, a pair of paint-by-number paintings of women wearing colorful silk dresses were hanging on the walls. I still remember by parents sitting at a card table in the evenings painting those. Our twin beds had no headboards. We did have toys and games that were kept neatly stored inside the closet when we were not playing with them. So, all in all, our bedroom looked pretty sparse by today’s standards.

September 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm
(7) Mom2Four says:

Thank you! I have been looking for information about this for a while and yours is the best I have found so far.

October 5, 2011 at 9:49 am
(8) JJ says:

My bedroom didn’t look all that much different from that in the 50s and through the 60s, until I started putting posters all over the walls in the 60s. That might have been the difference — and then there were marketing campaigns for fancy wall decorations, plus research that by the 70s had many parents painting their kids’ rooms in bright colors.

October 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm
(9) Wilma says:

Really cool photo. Did the change have anything to do with the depression ending?

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