Mad for 50’s Era Decor


One more Mad Men post, I know I’ve become a bit focused on it. After watching the remaining episodes yesterday (which were incredible– holy plot twist Batman!) I felt very inspired to do a post on getting the 50’s-60’s decor seen in the show. It certainly has made a resurgence, so it wasn’t terribly hard to find items that bring back that devil-may-care, sleek yet kitschy look.

Jonathan Adler
has perfected the modern throwback look often seen on the show’s sets- this tufted, glamorous headboard and swoopy low slung chair clearly took clues from the 60’s.


I noticed that when Mrs. Draper is at her therapist’s office, she spills her guts while reclining on a Barcelona daybed with her cigarettes perched on a nearby Tulip Table– still complete classics today (but no longer in any shrink’s offices I’ve seen, which is too bad!)

This tight back tufted Adler couch reminds me of the green couch in Sterling’s office- bright, square edges and straight lines. And this Adler fixture just felt very “Sterling Cooper” offices to me.

The fabulous vintage brass bamboo chairs from Downtown could be found in any 50’s/60’s home, as well as these Womb chairs from Knoll, made popular in the 50’s.

This Duquette style decoupage screen is very feminine and glamorous (and Ellen Ward Scarborough Antiques is AMAZING-check it out) and reminded me of Mrs. Draper. This Springer style cabinet has a more masculine edge to it but is still quite decorative.

Ceramic lamps top almost any surface in this show, be it office or home. These refurbished vintage originals from the era are from Downtown as well.

Dorothy Draper not only shares a surname with the main character, but her style was one that pervaded the era in which the show takes place. These are originals from Ellen Ward Scarborough, that would look simply amazing in today’s interiors as well.

These vintage covers from 50’s magazines could look whimsical and cheeky framed in groupings on a photo wall.

And in honor of what the show is about, some advertisement posters from the era, perhaps created by original “mad men”. Oh, and the popular accoutrement of any mad man, a martini shaker- this one with recipes built right in.

These Adler needlepoint pillows capture exactly what this show is about… :) I love his pairing of preppy needlepoint with blunt, bold sayings. I have one on my own couch…

This sketch by Don Carney reminds me of the hats worn by business men in the 50’s (minus the feather!), and this rug, called the Richard Nixon rug was a “must-post” since Nixon is talked about so often in the first season (and it’s a fabulous rug to boot!) Last but not least, it amazes me how MUCH and how often people smoke in the show (in the office, the elevator, the DOCTOR’S OFFICE!)- so here is a table top vintage lighter, for you to now light pricey scented candles with (or smokes, whichever is your vice!)

If you want to experience decor like this in the flesh, just book a week at The Parker. You’ll thank me.

13 comments

  1. Wow! That was such an impressive posting. I felt like you really incorporated so many aspects of style from the 50s era. That must have been fun to put together. Nice work!

  2. I just love Jonathan Adler’s creations, they can be from 50s to 60s style but they also fit perfectly in modern and contemporary designs. It only shows that good design and furniture is not bound by time.
    Nice post.

  3. OMG, I think those Bamboo chairs are my “road side” find!!!!! They look exactly the same. Too funny..

  4. Julie- I know! I thought of you when I saw them- did you SEE how much they are being sold for???

  5. What a gorgeous post! Love the era, love the decor! Love your picks!

    I’ve never seen the show, but isn’t it coincidental that the therapist is Mrs. Draper? Lynn

  6. oh I’ve been lusting after that bed forever now…well, at least a while anyway. I’ve just added you to my dailies. fantastic!

  7. I just blogged about MM earlier today, lamenting that I know NO ONE else who watches it, and then I caught this post. I’m so happy to see it. You have hit the nail on the head with your modern-day suggestions and I hope you keep up with the posts like this – you do it better than the magazines do!

    BTW, I believe Season 1 begins in 1959-1960, right on the cusp of so much cultural and political change and turmoil. It catches everything on that brink so well – divorces, realizing smoking is bad for you, being a bohemian artsy type in the village, analysis, women in jobs other than tight sweater secretarial positions, etc. are all starting to bust at the seams out of the fifties and into the sixties.

    Also, if you’ve never checked it out, look at victoryvintage.com. It’s one of my favorite stores that could easily fully furnish the offices of Sterling Cooper.

  8. Well thanks Becky! If any shelter magazine wants to hire me as a market editor, I’m available… :)

  9. Great post! I am just now getting into the show after getting the first season from Netflix. I am so hooked! I love it. I find it so fascinating to see the roles that men and women played in society. The decor is so fun, too.

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