An advertisement from 1954, highlighting Kohler fixtures in Cerulean Blue.

Booming – that is one word typically used to describe the 1950s. No, not a loud noise, I’m talking about the economy, the population and the housing market. The economy here in the U.S. was strong, rebounding from the struggles of World War II during the ‘40s and the Great Depression in the ‘30s. The GI Bill subsidized low cost mortgages for returning soldiers and suburbs began popping up around major cities, allowing families an attractive and affordable housing option that included a yard of their own.


A Kohler color palette from 1953. 

Home construction and remodeling was on the rise, and so was color. White was again a dominant color of the 1950’s, but Kohler continued to push the envelope with seven non-fading hues. Three colors from previous decades–Peachblow (introduced in 1934) Cerulean Blue (1938), and Spruce Green (1945)–were joined by Argent (1952), Rouge (reintroduced in 1952) Sunrise (1953) and Suez Tan (1955).


This ad from 1950 highlights Kohler fixtures in Spruce Green.

Kohler ads created during this period used words like “quality”, “meeting essential needs”, “hygienic”, “easy-to-clean”, “reliable” and “affordable luxury”, highlighting practical needs for practical times. Happy, smiling families were shown enjoying kitchen and bath products, and our colors were described as fresh, clean and in the case of our Sunrise hue, “as cheerful as a song.”

   

During the 1950s, Kohler colors were beginning to move away from the delicate pastels that personified the 1920’s. The colors were becoming richer, more vibrant. Literature pieces showed that decorating trends were becoming bolder by pairing fixtures in color with different colored tiles and paint. Color officially survived the the war and the depression, and as the decade came to a close, it seemed things were as vibrant as ever. That is, until, the 1960s. Stay tuned!

Explore our color timeline.
Browse our current color palette.
See our colorful collaboration with Jonathan Adler.