Sunday, November 7, 2010

1950s Formica And Chrome Tables Gaining In Populalrity And Value

Retro Lovers Adore 1950s Formica And Chrome Tables With Vinyl Covered Chairs

1950's Formica and Chrome tables with Vinyl covered chairs are gaining in popularity and also in value. Colorful kitchen sets or dinette sets in good condition are climbing in price. Once "White Elephant" items in any Antique shop, these treasures are now finding a captive audience of collectors who adore Retro style.

Colors And Styles Of Formica And Chrome Kitchen Tables

Formica topped tables came in a variety of colors and patterns. The patterned table tops usually sell for more money. Typical colors were red, yellow, gray, white, turquoise, pink, green etc. White tables are usually less attractive and harder to sell unless they have some striking black design on the table top or have interesting patterns. Often 1950s tables had Atomic Era designs on the Formica such as star bursts, boomerang shapes or speckles.

What To Look For When Buying 1950s Formica and Chrome Tables

When buying Formica tables, be sure to examine the Formica. Look for a lot of wear, scratches, burn spots, chips discoloration, burn spots (from a hot pot placed on the table), Examine the Chrome legs for rust and dents. Does the table come with leaves? How many leaves, one or two?
If there is a drawer, is it original?

Buying 1950s Vinyl Covered Chairs

Very often chairs are placed with tables that are not the original chairs that came with the table. It's perfectly fine to mix and match chairs and tables. If it appeals to you, than what are you waiting for! Examine the chair coverings. Is the Vinyl intact? Look for tears, extra wear, reproduced coverings. Sometimes a set is really attractive and only part of the chair has been replaced. If the price is right, you may be comfortable with this arrangement. Also a note about quality...some chairs are thick and comfortable with an interesting frame, while other chairs are very basic and frankly cheaply made. Be sure to factor in the quality and style of the chairs and the table when looking for your Retro kitchen furnishings. Better made sets are priced higher. The Turquoise set shown has the original chairs and a great color, but the set is not as well made as some of the sets shown in the photos above.

Where To Find a Bargain

While there has certainly been an increase in interest in these retro style favorites, some dealers are getting carried away with the prices. I would suggest also looking on Craigslist and other online sites. you may just pick up a table and or chairs for a real bargain.

Be sure to check out for tables and chairs.

Top photo is from

Other photos are from:
Plainville Flea Market, Plainville CT

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©.To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at dianne@cdiannezweig.comVisit my website, CDianneZweig.comDianne is a member of:The American Society of Journalists and AuthorsThe Authors Guild, Inc.


  1. You know what blows my mind? I can remember disliking these tables and chairs because they were dated. Now, I think they are great, but would only like one on my enclosed porch, not in my kitchen. I went through a spell where I rejected the look I grew up with and now, I appreciate it for the style and memories. I guess that happens to a lot of people. The lunchbox you feature is exactly like the one I carried to school. If you hold onto things long enough, they do come back in style.I never would have believed I would like some of the items I see listed on your blog, but I do. I think your blog is so informative and fun. I make a point to always read your newest post. I grew up in Connecticut and I sometimes miss certain things. Your finds and the shops you mention certainly do make me plan a visit back home.
    Have a great week!

  2. I remember outs had a cap thing over the hollow aluminum legs where we kids would put whatever vegetable we didn't want to eat. Usually pes!!

  3. I have a brite yellow formica top table with chrome legs in my kitchen, and LOVE IT. My black vinyl/chrome chairs and red & white checked seat cushions makes my kitchen pop with color. Growing up I thought my Mom's grey formica kitchen table was the ugliest thing ever now they make me smile every time I see one in an Antique store or second hand furniture shop. My curtains valances are made from yellow/red flowered vintage tableclothes and tie it all together along with my ever growing collection of vintage red & yellow kitchen things. Dianne -love your website and your books!

  4. Hi, I have an original 50s rectangle white formica top table w/ chrome legs and we bought 4 "Lucy Chairs" from Target about 15 years ago to match it -- we are moving & need to give the insurance company a replacement value. All I can find on line are copies and I know ours is original, bought in an antique store in Berkeley in 1998. CAn you give me some idea what it would cost me to replace it in Germany, and the chairs? I'd soooo appreciate it! thx, bonnie