1940s-style interior decorating

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you're a history buff or you simply prefer more traditional interior design, the 1940s are a sure source of decorative inspiration when you plan a room. This time period is characterised not just by World War II, but also by a distinct set of typical design schemes. Though homeowners in the 1940s decorated in styles ranging from American Victorian to modern, these styles all featured some of the same elements. By using these common elements in your own decor, you can emulate the styles that helped define an era.

Choose coordinating colours in muted tones to decorate the room. 1940s rooms featured muted, grey tones and little variety in the colours -- for example, use the same shade of lavender in the drapes, the rug and the throw pillows. Some smaller rooms may even use only two colours, like green and white.

Place a rug in the centre of the room. Whether your floor is carpeted or linoleum -- either of which is appropriate for this style of decor -- an oriental or solid-colour rug in the centre of the room adds to its character.

Decorate the mantel with a small standing clock and a candles in brass or silver candleholders. Hang a round mirror above the mantel.

Incorporate floral designs throughout the room. For example, a floral-printed sofa is classic 1940s design -- furniture should be chosen for comfort before anything else, though.

Place furniture like side tables throughout the room, choosing pieces with tall, thin legs. Shorter pieces of furniture, like a coffee table, should have thick and simple legs without any carving.

Things You'll Need

  • Colour-coordinated wallpaper, curtains, draperies and other linens
  • Mantel clock
  • Candleholders, candles
  • Rug
  • Hanging mirror
  • Comfortable upholstered furniture
  • Furniture like side tables with tall, thin legs
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.