Create a 100% Authentic 1960 Vintage Tiki Decor Home and Backyard
In July 1960, Los Angeles’ World’s Fair Market (not to be confused with today’s World Market) advertised a complete luau themed tiki set. “The World’s Fair has created a Hawaiian atmosphere complete with all the tropical settings of the South Seas,” said the ad, listing twelve items that you could place in your own backyard and indoors to give your house an instant Polynesian feeling.
By 1960, the tiki craze of the late 1950s was at its absolute peak. Here are ten of those twelve items re-created as close to 100% as possible from current sources. To abbreviate your search, you can also check out Jerome Coudrier’s TikiMaster.com. Based in Kailua, Hawaii, Tiki Master has an impressive range of all products tiki-related.
The Tiki Torch is the natural place to start–and the easiest. Tiki Brand Torches are found everywhere during summer months. Tiki no longer offers the exact model that they sold in 1960, but they do have an even better-looking one–the Barbados Bamboo Torch 4-Pack–available on their site.
Back-Then Cost: $0.99/each
Current Cost: $4.00/each
Tiki Idol Head
Tiki heads, too, are prevalent. Most today are cast in resin and look far more like real stone than the old ones. You’ll find this one, Easter Island Granite Resin Head Statue, at Home Depot.
For far more stylish tiki heads, go to TikiMaster.com’s Outdoor section.
Back-Then Cost: $10/each
Current Cost: $60/each for the Home Depot tiki head. Tiki Master heads begin at $119.
Samoa Basket Chair and Beaded Bamboo Curtains
That’s right; you’ve already figured this one out. What’s called a Samoa Basket Chair is today called a papa-san chair. Don’t go for the usual cushioned papa san chair (though they are comfortable!). Go for the more authentic vintage-style Braided Rattan Papasam Chair from Wayfair.
Back-Then Cost: $3/each
Current Cost: $205/each
Oriental Party Lites
Check out the paper lantern string light sets from Redwood City, CA’s own Asian Import Store for a low-cost alternative!
Back-Then Cost: $6/each
Current Cost: $10-$15/each
Matchstick Floor Screens
Matchstick is a certain type of larger bamboo that emphasizes the bamboo look. Substitute with this 5½ ft. Tall Bamboo Matchstick Woven Room Divider from Oriental Furniture
Back-Then Cost: $10/each
Current Cost: $145/each
The retail world abounds with natural and faux wood louvered shutters. For the cheap ones, try Home Depot’s homeBASICS Plantation Faux Wood Oak Interior Shutters.
Back-Then Cost: $1.59 for a 29″ high by 9″ wide shutter.
Current Cost: $78 for a 36″ high by 31″ wide shutter
Etsy is your best bet to find stylish bamboo tumblers.
Back-Then Cost: $0.50/each
Current Cost: $18 and upward/each
Bamboo Tiki Hut
Check out Forever Bamboo for everything bamboo related.
Back-Then Cost: $2 per pole for 2″ diameter by 12′ long bamboo poles
Current Cost: $9 per pole for 2″ diameter by 10′ long bamboo poles
Hanging Rattan Monkeys
Apparently, rattan monkeys were a big deal in mid-century U.S. culture. No more. Since you will not find any rattan monkey knock-offs today, you’ll need to search Etsy for actual vintage rattan monkeys.
Back-Then Cost: $1/each
Current Cost: $40 to $400/each