A Look at Better Homes and Gardens 1968

by Susan Myers on May 27, 2013

So this week we are going to stop by and visit 1968 for a little while.  Why 1968?  Well I just happened to get a whole new box of vintage Better Homes and Gardens magazines in yesterday, all from the 60′s.  Ebay is pretty awesome that way.

vintage better homes and gardens magazine

Anyway, the first one to catch my eye is this October issue of Better Homes and Gardens.  So let’s stop and take a look around 1968.  For those of you that may or may not have been alive then…

I’ll refresh your memory:

  • The price of gasoline was 34 cents a gallon.
  • The price of a movie ticket was $1.50 (Now it is $10.00 to get in the movies and you have to take out a loan and give up your first born child in order to buy a box of popcorn).
  • The ATM was invented.  Most likely so that we would be able to get money for the movies in the future..
  • Airbags were invented and the 747 passenger plane made its first flight.
  • Popular movies included:   The Graduate, Planet of the Apes, and Rosemary’s Baby.
  • The top songs of the year included: “Judy In Disguise” by John Fred and His Playboy Band, “Green Tambourine” by the Lemon Pipers, “Love Is Blue” by Paul Mauriat, and “The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding.
  • Popular TV shows included: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC), Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (CBS), Bonanza (NBC), and  Mayberry R.F.D. (CBS)

You still don’t remember?  Quit trying to make me feel old.  I know what you are doing…

Better Homes and Gardens seems to focus on decorating homes and gardens.  Imagine that.  So let’s look at how they decorated homes in 1968…

better homes and gardens vintage decor

The magazine reads: ”The cotton print revives the canopy bed opulence of long ago.  Remember that a one-fabric extravaganza such as this, works best when the colors in the print are quiet so as not to disturb the tranquility you want in a bedroom”.

Ummm… okay.

Aunt Ethel, here is the guest room.  Like the way I decorated it?  There was a sale at Walmart and I picked up this fabric for a steal!  Just put your bags over there and check out the bed.  I bought a comfy mattress just for you!

…No it’s over there.  Further to your right.  No, your other right!  Take a few steps more.  See the bed?  It’s right there in front…crap.  Someone help Aunt Ethel up.

better homes and gardens vintage decor

…Can you hear the “Brady Bunch” theme here?  This has to be the  bathroom that the Brady kids shared.  True to the Brady Bunch, we not only have a huge flower power thing going on, but also have no detectable toilet.

Frankly, I don’t know how you’d find it in that jungle.

The magazine reads: “The pow of big, big blooms packs a pattern wallop in a small bath.  To keep this pattern from becoming overwhelming, the pattern is cut away following the irregular lines of the flowers”. 

We wouldn’t want it to be overwhelming, would we?

better homes and gardens vintage decor

The magazine reads, “Undulating flame stitch fabric makes a dramatic move to revive a tired and dispirited room.  The wood dado anchors the spectacular wall background and keeps it from being overwhelming”.

What??  I can’t hear you over the wall-noise!

Aunt Ethel?  Did you say something?

better homes and gardens vintage decor

I’m thinking the same designer came up with the decorating ideas for my hotel room at the beach last year.  Check out the brilliant mix of patterns.

We pretty much had to wear earplugs in order to get some sleep.  The Brady Bunch called and they want their furniture back…

Okay, lets look at the food in 1968.

It would have to be better than the decorating…

better homes and gardens vintage food

What to do when there is a great sale in the canned green bean aisle?  You have twenty cans of green beans and Aunt Ethel is ready for lunch?

Check this out!

This one is called the “Bean Dandy Sandwich” – dark rye bread, margarine, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, turkey slices, and salad dressing.  Topped with a whole mess of green beans.  You can use a whole can if you want.  Yummm!

And then we have the “Dinner Ring”- A gelatin ring consisting of carrots, celery, olives, french dressing, gelatin, cottage cheese, miracle whip, milk, parsley and onion.  But why stop there?  Lets top that gelatin ring with another whole mess of green beans.

I’m thinking that they had recently discovered olives and gelatin in the 60′s because they seem to be in everything.

Oh yeah, and then there are green beans…

better homes and gardens vintage food

This one has the required olive ingredient and I’m thinking it might be meatloaf.  I just can’t get over all the red sauce.  It seems like we might be witnessing a meatloaf massacre.  And the meatloaf totally lost.  I believe the culprit was Colonel Mustard with the Candlestick in the Conservatory…but I could be wrong.

better homes and gardens vintage crafts

And looky here!  We have crafts!  The 1968 version of a dead clown that you can hang on the back of the childs door.  It apparently holds dirty clothes and bad dreams.  Not to mention an unfortunate choice of placement for the lone red pompom…

The little ghost baby sitting next to it is not much better.  Sweet dreams…

better homes and gardens vintage crafts

And finally, we have this young man here showing us the “Men’s Front Interest Sweater”.  Someone must have told him to look “interested”.  Either that or he has been hypnotized by the flowered print in the bathroom.

We may never know…

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen C June 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Oh this is hilarious, your comments put it over the top and I laughed until I hurt. Designers had the dorkiest ideas then. Well, come to think of it some do now still, carrying on the tradition of silliness which we all need. I mean all the stuff being made out of old pallets, oh PLEASE, some is so ugly.
That clown was a pitiful thing and I would like to see that, uh, was it a chicken in the picture? I SO might want to make that chicken if that is what it was.

The food was the ickiest thing I’ve seen in a while. Got to put that on the fridge to keep me away from it. : )
Great reporting, MORE please from the sixties.

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2 Cynthia May 29, 2013 at 6:02 am

Oh. Suzy. You’ve outdone yourself on this one. I laughed until I cried. Poor Aunt Ethel–and the creepy clown with the interesting pompom feature was the icing on the cake. I’m going to be giggling all day…

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3 Jaan L May 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm

LOL! Gosh, I am really old, I remember that stuff. Thank goodness Mom didn’t go for that look, but she did paint her kitchen Poodle Pink. But at least I know why I don’t like clowns….cross eyes, geez that is spooky.

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4 Jeanne May 28, 2013 at 11:11 am

I have some old McCalls magazines from the 60′s and 70′s that I saved mostly for the doll patterns in them. Some are great, some are awful. All are fun to look at. You have to wonder if anybody actually ever made some of them, like the clown. Did anyone ever actually camouflage their bedroom with matching material on everything?

The recipe I love most is in a cookbook from the late 50′s. It called for Spam, a sauce of tomato sauce, sugar and vinegar, and canned peaches. Yum. NOT!

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5 Evelisa March 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

This was so funny I’m still laughing. Thank you for lighting up this rainy day for me. But it’s amazing to see the transformation from back then to today.

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6 Christie, Describe Happy March 14, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Oh my gosh.. I’m laughing so hard. Your narrartive to already funny pictures … just priceless! Thanks for perking up my day!

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7 brandi March 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Oh, but just like music, in twenty years someone will be looking at today’s BHG magazines and say OH HOW HORRID. lol. That food does look vomitable. Wow.

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8 carolyn s March 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

LOLOL! I remember those days, of course I was only a small child……

Great article, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Memories. Thank goodness we couldn’t afford
to decorate in what the magazines said was “chic”. My Dad would have had a cow if Mama
had tried any of these decorator rooms in our home.

thanks for the memories and the laughs.

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9 Juicer March 13, 2012 at 10:25 am

What a wonderful walk through my past. I loved those years.

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10 Teddie Seeley March 13, 2012 at 9:14 am

Suzy, another good article, you always make me laugh, boy do I ever remember the 60′s. I think that young man was trying to find Aunt Ethyl in that bedroom. Ohmygawd! The food, that just looked awful.
Here is one of my memories, from 1965, getting drunk with Jesus Christ, and dating the bad thief on the cross, in Spearfish, South Dakota.

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11 norene March 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

That was soooo entertaining. I love it when you bring out those old magazines. I never made those dishes or had wallpaper like that, but i’m sure it was around.

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12 KathyH March 13, 2012 at 7:33 am

Weren’t the sixties great?! Avocado green and gold everywhere, pleated skirts with those stupid pins…but my favorite memory of the sixties is my Barbies. You know, the ones with the limbs that don’t bend. And my favorite toy was this skipping thingy that had a ring you put around your ankle with a string and a ball on the end and then skipped and fell over it. Oh the memories…and the skinned knees.

Thanks again for making my morning!

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13 Anonymous March 13, 2012 at 7:57 am

I find myself always saying, “those were the good old days”, speaking of the 60′s when I was growing up. Well, I must say that I like the designs of today and the brighter, fresher pictures of food (the food in the old magazines looks gray). I am sure we loved the decor and such at the time. Thanks for sharing.

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