Vintage Business #9: Office Decor

Most workspaces today are so sterile that I doubt there will much to make fun of in the future.  How do you find humor in cubicle mazes and sparse minimalist interiors? Thankfully, the vintage world had plenty of character, and loads to point a finger at. 

Take for instance the photograph above.  The dame in the miniskirt certainly is nice, but even a short skirt can't compensate for that mess on the wall.  It looks like John James Audubon vomited all over the wall.  The palm fronds and wicker-lamp thingy are lost in this fowl haze - that lamp is like Tippi Hedren in The Birds.


What's really fascinating about the 1970's color palette for home decor is its schizophrenic tendency to either go with strong colors (i.e. a bathroom done entirely in candy apple red) or be completely "browned".  Indeed, Harvest Yellow and Avocado Green certainly had their place atop the list of favorite colors of the seventies, but brown wins by a landslide.

This next office space is unmistakeably 80s. It seemed like every professional environment became a mix of chrome, greys, black, and pastel accents. No earth tones to be found.

And next we have the early 1960s...

at the office

No wonder they went all psychedelic day-glo crazy a few years later! The potted plant is the only bit of decoration in the entire workplace.  Operating rooms aren't this sterile.


Eegad! We're definitely back to the seventies again! A great sea of brown accented by strong colors.  The very definition of the decade's sense of style. And check out that massive dot matrix printer on its enormous pedestal... and that itty bitty monitor!


  1. Five photos, five observations:

    Photo #1: The woman on the phone is a dominatrix.

    Photo #2: The leering man is a toned-down, yet sinister glam rocker (note his eyeshadow). I think he may have been a member of Sweet.

    Photo #3: Sure, there's sexual energy, but with all those sharp edges what comes next is gonna hurt.

    Photo #4: Only the man has got wood.

    Photo #5: The first dot matrix printer I bought cost more than my first computer.

  2. They have finally painted out orange walls here in the university library where I work. Now it's putty. We still have some orange chairs, and some red and brown ones too.

  3. Paneling! Damn, I wish I had paneling in my office.