Mother-in-law's room and a window in the toilet: what things in Soviet apartments seem wild nowadays

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Soviet houses are still considered the standard of discomfort

Although some people still tend to romanticize the Soviet past, it was an era of poverty and indifference to human dignity and comfort. A striking example of this is the housing built in the USSR. We will not even mention communal flats, where several families had to share square meters at once. They were often built in pre-revolutionary buildings. We will rather talk about private housing that was already designed in the Soviet Union.

Some of the features of Soviet apartments may seem like a real wildness to today's generation. And OBOZREVATEL tells about the main ones.

Blue and green entrance

Even now, in some old houses, you can find yourself in the entrance hall, which by its blue or green coloring causes a feeling of discomfort. The common area of the house began to be painted in these colors after World War II. At that time, they were the most available, as they were used to paint military vehicles, trucks and farm machinery. Dark oil-painted walls also helped to visually hide defects of the building  like uneven walls, etc. It was also believed that in case of fire and smoke, people would find it easier to navigate to get out.

A staircase painted on the edges

The habit of covering the edges of the stairs with paint also comes from the USSR. A painted surface was easier to clean and polish. Wet surfaces tend to be slippery, so the center of a staircase is kept free of paint.

An entrance door that opens to the inside of the apartment

Under normal circumstances, the front door should open into the entryway. It's more convenient and safer. But when it comes to the so-called Khrushchev houses, they were built so cramped that the option to open the door outside simply did not exist. This way you could block the neighbor's entrance or hit someone coming down the stairs. Again, fire safety was an argument for this solution. If there was a fire, the door could be kicked down. The rescuers would have had to saw off the hinges if the door opened to the outside.

The window between the bathroom and the toilet

The purpose of these windows (as for the window from the toilet to the kitchen) is still debated. One of the main versions explains that they were made for security purposes. Toilets and bathrooms in Soviet homes were very small, so doors and locks were of poor quality. Thus, person could find himself locked inside. The option of kicking the door out fell away, because it also opens inside and could injure a person. That's why those narrow windows were made. Also they served as an additional source of light, because during the Soviet Union there were often accidents on the electricity grid.

The niche under the window

The hollow in the wall below the window was invented at a time when Soviet citizens did not have access to domestic refrigerators. This niche could partly perform its role in the winter. Then they also began to install radiators for central heating.

Tiny kitchens

Even a very small apartment can be made comfortable by a successful layout, including the placement of the kitchen with a dining area. But this is definitely not about Khrushchev and other Soviet construction. The cooking corner was not given much importance, so there was very little space for it and no concern for comfortable proportions. A fairly tall man, standing in the center of such a kitchen, could reach out his hands to each of the walls and even reach up to the ceiling.

"Mother-in-law's room"

Speaking of cramped quarters. In some two-room Khrushchev apartment variants, you can find a narrow windowless room, which can be accessed from one of the rooms. It was supposed to serve as a closet. But over time it suffered the same fate as balconies: people began to move all sorts of junk and cans with preserves in it. Such coveted jars in the years of food shortages were often supplied by relatives from the village, such as the parents of the apartment's inhabitants. Therefore, the room received the ironic name "mother-in-law's room".

Square parquet

Soviet builders inherited the classic method of laying parquet in a French herringbone pattern from pre-revolutionary times. But it needs a decent amount of wood and it takes quite a long time to invest. Therefore, this method was quickly abandoned and people began to cover the floors with cheaper square wooden tiles.

Previously OBOZREVATEL told about three bad habits that came from the Soviet Union, from which it is high time to get rid.

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