1940s Living Room Decor

Written by danielle hansen
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1940s Living Room Decor
(Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

After surviving the great depression and rationing of supplies during World War II, most American families were looking for a fresh new living room style with an affordable price tag, and companies such as Admiral and Harrisburg were happy to accommodate them.

Floors and Walls

Wall colours in the 1940s featured bold colours, and greens and blues were particularly popular for living areas. Flooring consisted mainly of carpeting in similar bold colours, and patterned linoleum. Older homes were usually furnished with hardwood floors, and thrifty housewives would cover them with large area rugs to save the cost of carpet installation.


Furniture in the 1940s was designed with a postmodern look, and featured clean, straight lines. Colour choices in furniture mimicked those in wall and carpet colours, and colours later designers might designate as "clashing" such as red and green were commonplace. Because TVs weren't common in homes until the mid '50s, most living rooms centred around a radio and phonograph set. Home organs also gained popularity in the early to mid '40s, and could be found in many living rooms.


One of the most popular materials in both home decor and fashion in the 1940s was Bakelite, a phenolic resin that was melted down and moulded into a variety of objects. Lamp bases, vases, statuettes, and candleholders were all popular Bakelite items, and were oftentimes designed with simple, rounded edges and little additional adornments. Milk glass, a translucent or opaque milky white glass, was a more ornate popular choice for 1940s households, and both milk glass and Bakelite became available in a huge range of colours after 1945.

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