retro American diner furniture

The Best Retro Diner Furniture

You may not remember the 1950s, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t still love to experience them. Perhaps this explains the popularity of the 1950s retro diner. The 1950s were an exciting and vibrant era in America. The race for space was on, and focus was on home-cooked dinners and nuclear families. The anxiety of the war was only a memory, and prosperity and rock-and-roll loomed on the horizon. These were happy days for families whose members had survived the Great Depression and the second World War, and the good times were echoed in several exciting decor styles from this era, including:

  • Atomic
  • Geometric
  • Scandinavian
  • Minimalist
  • Abstract

It was perfectly acceptable to smoke in public everywhere you went in the 1950s. Afterward, family members returned home to play board games such as Name That Tune and Outburst. Or they listened to records by Elvis Presley, Rosemary Clooney, and Kitty Kallen. In the evenings, they gathered around the console/cabinet television if they owned one and watched Bonanza or I Love Lucy

Sit-down dinners were the norm, so was gathering around the radio for a listen. The 1950s kitchen bore little resemblance to today’s modern marvels in several ways. Think pastel appliances and furniture with rounded corners. Toss in acres of Formica and chrome, and add countertop accessories like pink cannisters, and you have a solid vision of how the 1950s home appeared. Local diners surged in popularity, both as hang outs for local teens and as hot spots for families who could suddenly afford to dine out one or two nights a week, and the living was mostly easy. It makes sense that today’s restaurateurs should want to revisit this joyous decade in time.

Recreating the Retro Diner Aesthetic


If you’re a restaurant owner who wants to recreate a retro 1950s dining experience for guests, it all begins with your decor. Vintage-look flooring, era-appropriate wall colors and patterns, and even lighting all play roles. Several surprising colors were popular in the 1950s kitchen from which most modern designers would shy away today, including:

  • Petal Pink
  • Cadet Blue
  • Canary Yellow
  • Turquoise Green
  • Sherwood Green
  • Woodtone

Even kitchen appliances like stoves, refrigerators, toasters, and coffee pots boasted vivid pastels. Earth tones were also gaining popularity, with the warm, wood tones of couches and end tables made from mahogany, teak, rosewood, and walnut. You can echo these elements in your choice of 1950 retro dining table and chairs.

After all, it’s your restaurant furniture that makes or breaks your retro diner feel. To give guests an authentic experience, you’ll need specific items, including 50s retro dining chairs and tables, soda fountains, and other pieces of commercial restaurant furniture that echo the theme while holding up well to everything your guests dish out. California Dining & Barstools has everything you need to bring back the excitement and enthusiasm of the 1950s. 

Retro Dining Table

Glass and metal high top round pub table and metal and blue upholstered barstools with backs and swivel.

If you’re in the market for a retro dining table and chairs, look for pub tables or dinette sets that feature molded-body or upholstered chairs with simple chrome-plated or metal legs. Bright colors, such as red, green, or yellow are always solid choices in 1950 diner furniture, so are tabletops that feature Formica or inlay designs. Shapes are important in recreating the feel of diner-style furniture from the 1950s. Therefore, restaurant furniture that features futuristic designs, such as our Elite Modern Crystal Dining Table Set is ideal. The Elite Modern Mason Dining Table Set is another solid choice for bringing in gorgeous retro diner style without sacrificing comfort. Both sets pair modern features such as glass tabletops and counter-height seating with the minimalist design features and comfy upholstered chairs of Mid-Century Modern design. 

But if glass tables are more high-end than you desire for your kid-friendly, retro diner restaurant, California Dining and Bar Stools has many other options from which to choose. Our sturdy Borkholder Simplicity Dining Table is easily paired with our Saloom Bowtie Dining Chair or our New Pacific Direct Valencia Red Dining Chair to provide a top-notch dining experience for guests of most ages. And for retro diner furniture that’s up to the task of seating larger parties, the Borkholder Double Pedestal Dining Table seats six comfortably, when paired with the Saloom 64 SU Dining Chair.

When combined with authentic Mid-Century Modern accents, such as brightly patterned wallpaper, colorful Formica countertops, and retro fabric window treatments, your 50s retro dining chairs and tables will go far to create the fun diner environment you’re hoping to invoke. 

Retro Dining Chairs

Regal Seating 513 Dining Chair

Mid-century dining rooms were airy and sleek. Furniture choices were lightweight and simple. Ornate, heavy pieces became echoes of the past, and in their place, dining room tables, chairs and dinette sets took on a new, minimalist feel. In local diners, jukeboxes became fixtures, allowing patrons to play their favorite songs in exchange for a single coin. Cherry Coke and milkshakes were staple beverage choices, along with coffee and root beer floats. You may want to incorporate several of these fun features into your own retro restaurant, beginning with styles of seating. Several were popular in the 1950s diner, including:

  • Upholstered booths
  • Upholstered chairs
  • Barstools
  • Banquettes
  • Chairs of molded plastic
  • Wood

Today, commercial restaurant furniture, and retro seating specifically, is one important way to recreate those happy days of the 1950s. At California Dining and Barstools, we offer several seating options that look and feel as though they could have been salvaged directly from your favorite mid-century diner, minus the odor of stale cigarette smoke. We recommend the following:

  • Regal Seating 513 Dining Chair: Sunny yellow upholstery provides comfort and a fun, vintage feel to every dine-in experience. 
  • Regal Seating 513V Dining Chair: Metallic red and white, these 50s retro dining chairs will make guests feel like they’re in the backseat at an old-school drive-in again. 
  • Regal Seating 513CB Dining Chair: Colorful, comfortable, and slim, this dining chair features a happy burst of red and functional, non-skid feet. 
  • Regal Seating 1107 Barstool: Vibrant red upholstery and a sleek, chrome appearance give this little barstool an automotive feel, perfect for a 1950s drop-in diner. 
  • Regal Seating 1106 Barstool: Green upholstery and chrome-look legs make this handy little barstool a mainstay for tight spaces. 

Crafted from durable metal and swathed in the bright, cheerful colors of the 1950s, our Regal Seating options are tough enough to handle big crowds and heavy traffic. Yet, they’re attractive and functional, too. Best of all, they recall that simpler time, when prosperity peppered every dinner conversation and expectations were high. You can bring a little of that joy to your own establishment by outfitting your dining room in authentic mid-century reproduction furniture at a fraction of the cost of high-end retailers. 

The Best in Restaurant Furniture

Glass and metal round pub table and beige barstool.

California Dining and Barstools offers only the highest quality retro-style restaurant furniture for your vintage-feel diner. When you’re ready to outfit your dining area with pieces that bring back the nostalgic era of the 1950s, we invite you to shop our diner-style furniture, including our dining room sets, dinettes, pub tables, barstools, and dining chair collections. You’re sure to find pieces to enchant and delight guests of all ages and to transport diners back to the happy days of 1950.