From our archives: 1950s Scandinavian folk art kitchen border

Posted on | October 22, 2008 | 4 Comments

Here’s a unique border concept from United Wallpaper c.1955; a border for your kitchen soffit that can be trimmed seven different ways!┬áDesigned with several horizontal stripes, it can be, according to its accompanying sample book page “cut… to any of 7 heights and still have a complete pattern…a 7 fold chance to show your decorative talent”. And to add to the chances to display those skills, the manufacturer provided at least 4 (sorry, not seven) lower wallpaper patterns as companions to this versatile decoration. I’m no good at math, but that would seem to offer a dizzying range of combinations.

Here’s a closer look at the border decoration itself…

The pattern was inspired by a growing trend in Scandinavian design. Its popularity here in the States surged after a three-and-a-half year exhibit entitled “Design in Scandinavia”. Launched in 1954, the show travelled through the U.S. and Canada. The purpose of the exhibit was not just to showcase designs from the five Nordic countries termed “Scandinavia” but also to promote the “Scandinavian Lifestyle”. It was tremendously successful and served to influence some of the most popular “modern” styles of decorating even beyond the mid-century…


4 Responses to “From our archives: 1950s Scandinavian folk art kitchen border”

  1. Mid Mod Pam
    October 24th, 2008 @ 9:10 am

    Hi Stephen,

    What a great post. I really like learning how certain style trends took root. And it’s interesting to hear, how in pre-TV days, exhibits and expositions spread new ideas. People actually went outside, LOL!

    Regarding this Scandinavian look, I’ve also seen period magazines promoting stenciling these images right onto the cabinets. Hmmm. While this particular Pennsylvania Dutch – Scandinavian illustration is not my personal favorite, you gotta give it credit for its integrity.

    Finally – on the combinations… isn’t this a question of using exponents. Or maybe it’s just 7×4=28 different combinations. Heck, it’s bad to grow old and forget your high school algebra!

  2. Shirley Rosenberg
    June 20th, 2009 @ 5:12 pm

    I am looking for Scandinavian Wallpaper borders.

  3. Shirley Rosenberg
    June 20th, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

    I am looking for something in Scandinavian red and blue, perhaps that looks like rosemaling.

  4. steve
    June 27th, 2009 @ 12:35 am


    Thanks. I wish we had exactly what you are looking for, but the border shown in the post is the only one we have that we could readily make. Are you interested in a more red & blue version of that? There are other color ways…


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