It was a prosperous time for many families and home décor began to emphasize entertaining, leisure, and comfort. Design was vibrant and many families could now afford a television set and modern appliances.
Revival of the Victorian notion of separate areas for formal and informal living had a considerable impact on decorating in 1957. The living room became more formal, but there was a counterbalancing demand for rugged and informal furnishings for the ‘den-television room’ or the ‘family room.’
Subtle and subdued hues contributed to the greater formality of living rooms and it was reflected in the popularity of French decor, traditional styles, and a new interest in modern furniture design. The family room, an amalgam of the back parlor and the living kitchen, came strongly to the fore in homes in 1957. Adjoining the kitchen, and frequently only partially separated from it, the family room usually shared its bright colors, wallpaper, and hard-surface floor covering, with emphasis on informality.
Typical 50s kitchens had white metal cabinets with brightly colored Formica countertops. The kitchen table was chrome and Formica and the matching vinyl chairs had chrome legs. The floor was either linoleum or checker-board floor tiles. Some had wallpaper covering the walls and ceiling. Families that could afford them had dishwashers and double ovens.
Electric and gas ranges were replacing wood burning stoves. Refrigerators (ice boxes) had to be defrosted, dishes were hand washed, and the ovens had to be cleaned. The appliances in the 1950s were made to last. Even when newer conveniences were available appliances were repaired, rather than disposed of just because some thing new and improved was introduced.