Home decor colors of the Post-Modern era reflected a broader movement.

Post-Modern Interior Design Colors

by Kristine Lofgren

Interior design has always been influenced by the art and fashion of the era, and the Post-Modern movement, which began in the mid-1960s and extended into the '70s, was no different. A wave of bold contrasts and new colors washed over the austere palettes of the Modern era, inspired by thought-provoking Post-Modern art and philosophy. Today, Post-Modern colors add funky charm to the home and, while your kids may not get the reference, can bring back memories of eras gone-by.


The colors of the kitchens of the times often featured the infamous avocado green, harvest gold or mustard yellow appliances that became hallmarks of the Post-Modern era. These colors, along with olive, burnt orange and warm brown were used throughout homes in the '70s. This color palette was considered natural, a reflection of the movement's desire to get closer to nature and away from the plastic and steel of previous decades.


In the mid-1960s, artists created works that reflected the fear and uncertainty of the Post-Modern era, and the colors in these pieces became popular colors for interior design. Robert Rauschenberg's "Retroactive" features cool gray, apple red, black and spring green. Jasper John's inverted flag painting uses dark blue, orange and spring green.


The youth of London were eager to shed the sober skins of their parents' clothing, and designers created clothes in a new variety of colors to accommodate the movement. These colors caught on and spread across the ocean to the U.S. into homes and fashion alike. Bright violet, orange, mineral red, cordovan and dark gray-blue were used in clothing, carpets, drapes, furniture and walls as well.

Using Post-Modern Colors

Bringing Post-Modern colors into your home adds a dash of retro-chic to any room, but a fine line exists between "trendy" and "museum." An avocado green sofa surrounded by harvest gold chairs, a brown rug and, heaven-forbid, a macrame plant holder may send your family and guests screaming out of the room. But an avocado sofa paired with a sleek bentwood chair, a graphic yellow rug and a kitschy '70s piece of artwork strikes just the right note. Just blend a little bit of old with lots of current trends.


About the Author

Kristine Lofgren specializes in interior design, Web design, photography and gardening. She owns an interior design business in Salt Lake City. A graduate of Salt Lake Community College's interior design program, Lofgren is pursuing a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Utah.

Photo Credits

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