Soviet furniture: history of development, styles and photos

When it comes to Soviet furniture, most often you can hear 3 such things:

  1. "I never had my furniture in the USSR. It was brought from the GDR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia etc.».
  2. "She was terrible looking."
  3. "It was quality."

With each of these statements you can argue. But we do not want to do this. Let's just dive into the atmosphere of the past, see the photo and remember what it really was (yes, yes, it was) - Soviet furniture.

Types and styles of Soviet furniture

How did the production of household goods in the USSR develop? In what styles was Soviet furniture made? Let's consider these questions further.

To begin with, in pre-revolutionary Russia furniture was produced mainly by hand or semi-artisan way. Furniture factories were concentrated near St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga, Kiev and some other cities.

Russian furniture before the USSR

Under the USSR, industry began to gain momentum, and by 1940 there were already a lot of specialized enterprises in Moscow, Kharkov, Taganrog, Makhachkala, Gomel, Simferopol and other cities. They massively produced simple and cheap furniture for a wide population, as well as better and "chic" products for new hotel and administrative buildings.

During the Great Patriotic War, factories, for the most part, focused on the production of various goods for the front. After they were reorganized into sawmills and woodworking factories. Talk about the development of quality and design of Soviet furniture was possible only by the end of the 1950s. But let's see what happened before that.

Soviet furniture in the 30's and 50's

The most suitable for describing Soviet furniture of those times is the Empire style or more precisely "Stalinist Empire", combining the Baroque, the imperial style of the era of Napoleon I and late classicism. Its main characteristics are some pomposity and monumentality.

Stalin Empire in interior design

So, Soviet furniture was made from solid wood (often made of oak), had very impressive dimensions and, judging by appearance, was able to stand for about 100 years. Wooden details were decorated with elaborate carvings. For upholstered furniture, bright and patterned textiles were chosen. At the end of the decoration the interior was supplemented with stucco, carpets, bronze lamps, painted ceramics and crystal (of course, in the homes of those who could afford it).

Old Soviet furniture and lamps Soviet furniture of the 30s: armchairsAn old Baroque sofa from the USSR of the 30s

Among the most memorable models of Soviet furniture of the 30-50's worth to note the sofas with shelf and mirror, massive cupboards for cupboards and wardrobes for the key with two sections (for folding clothes and hangers).

Soviet sofas like that of my grandmother Soviet furniture under Stalin: a sofa 30-ies Soviet buffet and wardrobe for 20-30-ies

However, the "Stalin's Empire" was not destined to improve or develop. At the end of 1955, the USSR signed the Resolution "On Eliminating Excesses in Design and Construction." Thanks to this, Soviet furniture in style appeared on the stage minimalism.

The influence of the "thaw" on Soviet furniture

The next period in which the new direction of Soviet furniture design was forming was at the end of the 1950s and lasted until the late 1970s. It was also called the period of the "Khrushchev thaw".

В 1957 году мебельная промышленность СССР пережила свое второе рождение благодаря подписанию указа об ускорении темпов жилищного строительства. Его задачей было в короткий срок обеспечить квартирами как можно большее число людей. Поэтому квартиры эти (известные как «хрущевки») делали очень маленькими и с низкими потолками, в отличие от тех же просторных «сталинок». Соответственно, в таких условиях массивная советская мебель 30—50-х годов уже не могла пользоваться большим спросом. Это стало еще одной причиной, почему в тот период дизайнеры СССР поголовно ударились в minimalism.

Дизайн и мебель в стиле minimalismа Советского Союза

Also read: Модные журнальные столики в стиле minimalism

The main emphasis was made on the production of furniture sets, rather than individual pieces of furniture. Such sets were designed specifically for 1-, 2-and 3-room apartments. At the same time, great attention was paid to convenience: the necessary configuration of the table, chair or cabinet was carefully calculated on the basis of the average human growth index. To reduce the cost of furniture, the use of chipboard, plywood and polymer materials has become widespread. Also, effective lacquering processes were introduced into production.

Stylish Soviet furniture for the living room of the 50-60's Soviet furnitureв стиле minimalism 50-60-хFurniture from the Soviet Union in the Interior

Among the new types of furniture is a chair-bed, a sofa-bed, simple low walls on legs or without, folding tables and kitchen sets.

Советская кухня в стиле minimalism 50-хThe Soviet kitchen set in the interiorSoviet furniture - bookcases and shelves in the interior Stylish Soviet furniture of the 60sSoviet furniture, which is again in fashionSoviet furniture for the living room of the 50-70's

Also read: Furniture restoration: 25 best ideas on Pinterest

Интересно, что многие продукты, выпущенные в то время в СССР, не уступали по своему качеству и дизайну аналогичным зарубежным моделям. Мягкая мебель, кухонные, гостиные и детские гарнитуры, несмотря на свой аскетический характер и minimalism, выглядели очень стильно и по своей эстетике были не хуже, например, тех же датских и американских изделий.

Soviet armchairs of the period 50-70-ies Советский стол и тумба в стиле minimalism

Soviet furniture in the 80's and before the collapse of the USSR

Unfortunately, about Soviet furniture after the early 80's, you can say little what good. Aesthetics began to change rapidly and not for the better. So, to design the living room began to offer only the same type of "roller coaster". But they were not particularly pleased with their gloomy dark color, richly polished surface, which had to be constantly wiped, or chipping pieces of plywood.

Living room design in the Soviet UnionSoviet furniture Old Soviet walls and slides

As for quality, it also began to deteriorate gradually. The legs and corners of furniture began to deteriorate faster due to the use of low-quality plywood, metal and plastic accessories quickly loosened up and overall the design of the furniture left much to be desired.

Kitchen set in the spirit of the USSRSoviet furnitureиз фанеры

Именно от такой мебели сегодня все стремительно пытаются избавиться. Но что же касается более «древних» изделий из 50—60-х, то мы советуем вам хорошенько подумать, прежде чем выбрасывать советский книжный шкаф (полку, стол или пр.) тех лет на улицу. Возможно, им требуется небольшой ремонт, но он еще может стать достойным элементом вашего интерьера — ведь простые формы и minimalism снова вступают в моду! О методах реставрации советской мебели мы расскажем вам в одной и ближайших статей на Dekorin. Оставайтесь с нами!

UPD: Restoration of Soviet furniture with their own hands

Stylish and comfortable Soviet sofa Stylish Soviet furniture of the 60's, which can not be discardedStylish Soviet furniture for restoration