Living Room Decoration: 1940s Style

Written by angela brady
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  • Introduction

    Living Room Decoration: 1940s Style

    The 1940s saw an explosion of new materials and manufacturing processes that made interior decorating more accessible to the general public. Living room decor that seems commonplace now was considered revolutionary and very modern at the time.

    Glass block was a modern window alternative. (its all clear to me now! glass blocks... image by isatori from

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    "This is the age of colour," says Helen Koues in The American Woman's Encyclopedia of Home Decorating (circa 1948). Gone are the pale ivories and taupes of the '30s. Bright yellow, red, blue and green added excitement and visual drama to the 1940s living room. Wood panelling was popular, occasionally used on just one wall.

    Wall colours brightened up in the '40s. (colour chips image by Charles Taylor from

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    Some homes still had small scatter rugs, but the trend was to use one rug for the entire room, with a 6- to 12-inch border of bare floor around the room. Very modern homes went so far as to use wall-to-wall carpeting.

    Wall-to-wall carpeting was only for very modern homes. (Background carpet image by fotolia © 2happy from

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    Venetian blinds became popular, and cheery barkcloth prints made curtains into active decor instead of simply a window covering. Grouped windows were treated as a single unit, and elaborate valances and tassels were common. Glass block was used in very modern settings.

    Venetian blinds were newly popular. (venetian blind. image by guiney from

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    Swedish design came into vogue, and clean, minimal lines made furniture look sleek and leggy. Wood was light but may have been rubbed with a yellow antiquing stain for an expensive-looking touch. Painted chairs were used to add visual interest and contrast.

    Furniture was leggy and light. (Stühle image by Kica Henk from

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