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Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Vintage Modern Inspiration


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
8 Comments » | Published in Design Books, Design Press, Eclectic Style, Thrift Shopping, Vintage Looks, Vintage Modern  |  8 Comments

I think perhaps I am a little too obsessed with vintage decorating books lately, but they offer such a wealth of great images. I like to see how some pieces have remained the same but their surroundings have changed, how some rooms could work great as-is today, and how some just need a few tweaks with accessories. This week I am sharing Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Ideas: New Room-by-Room Decorating Tips for Every Taste and Budget.

How great is this room? I love everything about it with the exception of a few tchotchkes. Is that a Nolli map? Which city do you think it is? I’m trying to guess with the radial streets and that big swath down the middle – is it a river or a grand boulevard? I’m guessing it’s probably Paris or Rome.

I LOVE yellow, black and white, and these sofas are perfect. I’ll leave the butterflies for Mariah Carey though:

These vintage books always have the most charming illustrations:

This bold and posh Regency bathroom is pretty chic by today’s standards:

Not sure why I scanned these, but since I did, I thought I’d share:

Cover photo from Customer Images at You can pick this book up for under $2 there.

All other photos scanned from Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Ideas, Meredith Publishing Company, 1960.

About Becky

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the "Editorial Director" here on Hatch, you can find me spewing lots of design opinions and tips over at Houzz. Make me happy -- leave a comment!



  1. Terry Kearns says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 5:27 am (#)

    The map is Paris for sure.

  2. Becky says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 6:51 am (#)

    Thanks Terry!

  3. Jessica says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 8:54 am (#)

    These are fantastic! What great modern style…

  4. Becky says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 9:20 am (#)

    Thanks Jessica, I’m glad to know you appreciate them – sometimes I wonder if I am the only one obsessed with these vintage looks from old magazines and books!

  5. Susie says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 11:32 am (#)

    You are NOT the only one who is obsessed! My furniture design instructor was cleaning out an accociates office and found a whole swack of stuff for me, enough to fill a box! I was elated.

  6. ayaz says:

    July 7th, 2008 at 8:30 pm (#)

    This is neat and clean stuff. I really appreciate the yellow one.

  7. Jack says:

    July 8th, 2008 at 4:30 am (#)

    The huge problem is? This stuff is not new. It is nearly antique. This crap was done 50 or more years ago people. Hence, the lesson? Classics remain. Nothing here is new, they just churn out the same old crap over and over again and toss in words like “modern” new exciting, fresh, contemporary, etc. It’s all BS.

  8. Richard Dietzel says:

    July 8th, 2008 at 6:25 pm (#)

    I was thinking London…

    You can never have too many design books. I am entertained by them but I am also educated by them. I came to design via the social sciences and they serve as inspiration as well as social documents. I loved seeing a Boy’s Room with built in storage for rifles.

    In 1981 I was devouring the stacks at Cranbrook Academy of Art, (my ex-wife was a student) and I was struck at how infrequently older books on design, architecture and the like were checked out. The temptation to abscond with one of Lee Simonson’s books was great, (his “Part of a lifetime” hadn’t seen the light of day since the fifties), knowledge that three generations of librarian family members would either haunt or just smack me was enough to prevent the crime.


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