Home decor styles that we loved in the 1940s

What are the key elements of 1940s interior design and decorating style?

What colours, shapes, patterns and tones did our post-war homes have?

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After the war, there were thousands of houses to rebuild and a desire to finally provide housing fit for all.

However, the skills and materials required weren’t readily available, and so new system-built homes were designed, which could be mass produced in factories and quickly erected on site.

Once the shortage of building materials was over in the early 1950s, most houses were re-built.

However, to keep costs down, the simple form of these prefabricated homes was retained.

Hence roofs were pitched and not hipped, windows were smaller and had plain glass, and bay windows were a rarity.

Inside, traditional wood furniture in dark or blonde tones graced every room of the home.

Most rooms had fireplaces too, often iron grate and in a tiled surround which was another opportunity to add some colour to the room.

Some other key elements of 40s design include linoleum, wall to wall carpet, abstract art, colonial style, large scale floral, striped, and plaid wallpaper, built-in furniture, knotty pine, ruffled edges, and wood paneling.

Patterned wallpaper was particularly popular as not only did it brighten up rooms, it conveyed a sense of positivity and sweetness and, above all, safety and calmness after the war.

It was not necessarily about happiness, but about injecting some colour into lives and homes when money was still very tight for many.

Kitchens were still mainly white wooden cabinets and metal stoves there was also room for colour again on the walls.

Another area where things could get colourful was the bathroom a style the Americans called deco jazz.

Carpets tended to be patterned too and floorboards could also be covered up by patterned rugs.

Several of these ideas are enjoying a surge in popularity today due to the country’s current love for all things retro and vintage.