Young Color (1972)

Come with me dear reader in to the (unintentionally) hilarious world of Young Color 1972.Young colour1Blog

These two large format decorating booklets have been in our ‘visual research’ collection for several years and each time we look through we are mesmerised. But its the sheer awfulness of the copy that hits like an orange Ford Cortina. It belongs to another much earlier time, although it desperately attempts to be 70’s hip and happening.

The scintillating story of the Fishers and the Swifts! Two swinging couples who got the Young Color bug! Bob and Carol Fisher are very very close friends of Ted and Alice Swift. You wouldn’t believe that four people could be so compatible. Bob and Carol bought a house. Ted and Alice bought the one next door. Now, you wouldn’t believe that four such compatible people could have such widely differing ideas on home decoration! Take a wander through Young Colour 1972 and see for yourself.

Wow, the american spelling of colour in a UK publication and that hint of sexual freedom – ‘very very close friends’ who are ‘swinging couples’. Nudge, nudge! Never has a bit of paint and wallpaper seemed so naughty, so exciting.

Young colour3BlogBob and Carols ‘playroom’. They had those ‘steps’ specially built. All adds to the pleasure of sprawling (it’s not new, the Romans did it).

Very cosy idea isn’t it? Doesn’t it show of the floor covering? The room seems very green, but to Bob and Carol that’s the most restful color. And it is really! The Sunway Matchmates to a great things to the window area.

Young colour4BlogNothing seems to go together yet it all seems to fit!

Purple carpet and mauve ceiling (they’re Rosslite Polystyrene Tiles painted with Colourizer) are bridged by a very formal vinyl pattern on the walls- adds to glow of that coal fire. Like that yellow table!

Polystyrene tiles painted mauve. Bring it on I say!

Young colour5BlogAlice’s choice…Isn’t it the most fantastic…….! Just like you would be – speechless with excitement if you owned it. And why not? Young Colour ideas aren’t just for gentry you know!

Its only when you get to the back of the booklet the reason for this forced hipness is revealed.

Young colour2BlogWhy couldn’t have someone, anyone, taken Phil and Laurie aside?

” Look guys, I know its your firm but a bloke with a pipe and a suit shouldn’t actually be a face of a company called Young Colour”.   “And maybe you shouldn’t write the 1950’s into the 1970’s copy?”

Clearly they had no real friends!

I realised some ten years ago that Young Color wasn’t just a set of madcap interior decorating booklets. People actually decorated their homes like this.

Someone I worked with criticised another staff member constantly, underneath the smiles there was seething resentment. One day over coffee he told me the reason. He had bought the other chaps beautiful large Victorian house in the early 80’s. The bedroom ceiling, huge window frames, fitted wardrobes, skirting, walls, everything had been painted deep, deep purple.

“Just like a 70’s whorehouse” is how he described it.

Some twenty years later he was still trying to paint out the colour and as he lay awake at night all all he could see was another patch of 70’s purple seeping, oozing through the clear white paint.




About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. The bathroom would be great in a Hammer film.. “how do I get out.. help.. anyone there?” argggg

  2. I think Alice is a clever girl with her choice of wallpaper – just looking at it gives you a nice wobbly hazy heady feeling as probably LSD would 😉

  3. Haha, I loved the last part of the story! Still trying to remove the purple from the wall… I think the 90s version of this would be black walls. Got to love the 70s, very groovy 🙂

  4. That bathroom! Looks like a casserole exploded! Gotta love the 70’s!

    • I have to admit there were a fair few rooms I loved in the Young Color booklet. There were some wonderful kitchens with huge deco inspired floral walpapers but some of the spaces you couldn’t imaging living in without having a permanent headache!

  5. This IS hilarious and just a little . . . pathetic. And, do you know there was an American film, called “Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice”? It was about wife swapping! 😉 Very hip, very 1970s!

    • I knew the name groupings seemed familiar! The Young Colour booklets are rich seam of awfulness. There is lots of casual sexism with carol and alice in the shower/biknis etc and some terrible photography that shows the rooms are sets (a 2mm crop would have sorted it out but…) but worst of all are the colour combinations!

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