Your Introduction to Space Age Interior Design

Your Introduction to Space Age Interior Design

Interior Design
By Mateos Glen Hayes September 09, 2022

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Consider space-age design for a unique interior design that is truly out of this world. This 1950s design sports a unique and eye-catching aesthetic that is unmatched. It harkens to an era of unprecedented confidence and technological achievement and is replete with abstract futuristic shapes and ornamental tailfins. The space-age design style became popular during one of the best periods of economic growth in American history, so it’s a hugely attractive design style because of this history.

History of Space Age Design 

Space age design provided a breath of fresh air in the aftermath of WWII.

Space age design provided a breath of fresh air in the aftermath of WWII.

The space age design style is a relic of the post-WWII era and came during a period of huge technological advancements in the aerospace industry. As such, it comes from an exciting time when engineers, scientists, artists, and philosophers were reimagining what society could be and what it could look like. The old designs of the interwar era such as the art deco style were gradually fading away and it seemed that the future was coming fast.  

Origins 

Space age interior design is a thoroughly 1950s trend that was a direct response to America’s major achievements in space travel. American spacecraft achieved many milestones in space travel, first transporting animals into space before eventually taking humans into low earth orbit. This was also an intensely ideological contest since the Soviet Union also sent up its spacecraft and was actively trying to overtake the United States in the field of scientific achievement.

The classic American diner is exemplary of the space age style.

The classic American diner is exemplary of the space age style.

In other words, the space race not only was an important scientific endeavor but a source of national pride as well. The massive media attention that the space race garnered proved a cultural phenomenon and one of the trends that emerged from it was the space age aesthetic. Space age art, structures, consumer products, and cars with space-age motifs. Cars were designed with huge tail fins, and simple products such as televisions or toasters incorporated space-age materials and curvy designs.

Space age architects translated this artistic movement into a range of new styles and materials that had previously been uncommon. New polymers and composite materials allowed for intricate ornamental designs with futuristic and curvy forms. Everything from lampshades to couches was reimagined with lightweight materials, bright colors, and streamlined designs. As such, space-age-style structures became common throughout the country in the form of homes, offices, and even restaurants.

Everything Has Its Heyday

Space age interior design reached its peak during the 1950s, and it remained popular into the 1960s. However, it quickly tailed off by the end of the 1960s as the space race died down and tastes evolved. Even though it had been considered the peak of futuristic design, the space-age design eventually came to be seen as old, outdated, and stuffy as newer interior design trends took over.

Space age design often mimics designs from aerospace, such as these space helmet-shaped light fixtures.

Space age design often mimics designs from aerospace, such as these space helmet-shaped light fixtures.

Resurgence 

In recent years retro nostalgic designs have become hugely popular throughout the globe. Aesthetics that had previously been ignored as ‘outdated’ are now the hot new thing. Retro designs have made their way back into many homes both new and old. The space age interior design style is of course no exception. Streamlined designs with smooth flowing lines have become very popular as of late, and so the space age design style is getting a new lease on life.

Space age design can be an attractive option for those that like the look of a minimalist design, but want something with a bit more character than your standard neutral-colored minimalist layout. Plus, we are in a bit of a space-age renaissance now thanks to the emergence of cool high-tech rocket companies such as SpaceX and others, so it’s a perfect time to relive the unbounded optimism of the 1950s. 

Defining Elements 

One of the central tenets of space-age style design is streamlining regular everyday items such as this side table.

One of the central tenets of space-age style design is streamlining regular everyday items such as this side table.

There are a few central elements of space-age interior design that stand out immediately when you look at it. After all, a design style that takes inspiration from space is going to look pretty distinctive, allowing you to easily recognize it and spot the commonalities. These design elements can be found in interior design, fixtures, furniture, and even in common home appliances. Plus, the advent of even more advanced composite materials and the introduction of futuristic elements such as LED lighting accents that mimic neon lighting. These advancements in technology allow for even better and more modern versions of the space age design. 

Curvy Lines

A design couldn’t be space-age without a streamlined profile. Much as with mid-century modern design, space-age design makes generous use of round shapes. So it’s no surprise that airplanes and rockets alike are designed to be as smooth as possible and avoid extreme right angles. When this aesthetic is brought into the home it introduces a sense of smooth motion to the space.

Smooth forms and curved lines transmit the idea of being on the move, of going fast towards something new and interesting. This allows for a design that is unique, dynamic, and exciting. A well-executed space-age design will use this element to recapture the powerful optimism this design was originally meant to embody.

Lightweight Composites 

Modern composite materials are an integral component of the space age aesthetic for several reasons. For one, these materials are both lighter and more malleable, allowing for unconventional free-flowing designs that might be difficult and expensive to recreate with more conventional materials. Composite materials are also easier to make in various colors, allowing for bright hues that could otherwise be expensive to integrate into your interior design. The other benefit of composite materials is that they look very futuristic by default. The unusual texture of composite materials such as polymers, carbon fiber, and others makes for a design that just looks cool.

Bright colors and unusual lightweight materials allow the space age aesthetic to stand out in a big way.

Bright colors and unusual lightweight materials allow the space age aesthetic to stand out in a big way.

New Tech 

Space age interior design is always striving to be at the cutting edge, and so makes use of the latest technologies available. In the 21st century, that means LED lights, computerization, touch screens or touch pads, and maybe even wifi connectivity. These various elements allow the space-age design to feel more futuristic as well as look very cool.

These tech solutions might seem gimmicky but they can be quite useful for certain applications. For instance, a space-age kitchen might make use of computerization to allow for a smart voice assistant, automatic kitchen appliances, and lighting you can control from your smartphone or computer. 

How to Bring Space Age Design Into Your Home 

Bringing this design into your home is easy if you know which details to focus on.

Bringing this design into your home is easy if you know which details to focus on.

Fortunately, bringing this unique design aesthetic into your home can be done affordably and easily, so long as you know what areas to focus on. To avoid a common interior design mistake, it is best to have a lot of free square footage for the interior space age design to work without feeling cluttered.  

Furniture 

For your space-age style furniture, you have two main options: flea markets and retro furniture shops. Flea markets are quite good places to find space-age furniture because you can find authentic old pieces that are fairly affordable. Of course, this can be a bit difficult if you don’t have many flea markets near you or if the furniture you find isn’t in good shape. Fortunately, there are also new space-age furniture pieces on sale today. A space-age chair sporting bright colors and a curvy design is pretty easy to find. 

Fixtures 

When designing fixtures for your home you want to focus on incorporating space-age motifs. Aside from a streamlined form, that means putting in fins, composite materials, and shapes that evoke a rocket or an airplane. A dash of space-age decor with similarly streamlined forms makes the ensemble even better. Accenting with stainless steel helps to augment this aesthetic, but LED mood lighting can add a more modern touch. 

Precise LED light accenting makes for a modernized version of the streamlined space age design.

Precise LED light accenting makes for a modernized version of the streamlined space age design.

Textiles

Interestingly enough, textiles are an important part of a space-age design as they can work to complement the rest of the interior design quite nicely. Of course, this all depends on which textiles you choose. For best results, we recommend opting for textiles that stand out for their colorfulness and that look composite. In this case, bright red, greens, or even yellows can perfectly accentuate the design. Of course, space-age design is not maximalist, but a bit of texture can be quite good for balancing things out.

MG

Written by
Mateos Glen Hayes

Written by Mateos Glen Hayes

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