Typical Wall Decor for the 1930s

Interior design in the 1930s was heavily influenced by the machine age. The lines and colours became simple, stark and minimalist. There was heavy use of shiny metal, chrome and nickel. Designs were composed of simple straight lines and large curving lines. While this progressive approach to interior decorating began in 1920s, the style did not find its way into the average living room until the 1930s.


In the 1930s, there were no rules concerning the wall colours. Red was popular, and was used in the furnishings of the room and as a wall colour. Green was commonly used and could be a light green or a deep shade, depending on the colours being used in the furniture and the rugs. A soft dove grey was used to offset the deeper reds, greens or golds used within the room. Chintz fabric was used in upholstery, and often a colour from the flowered fabric was chosen for the wall colour. Wallpaper with abstract sweeping lines was used. Bathrooms were tiled in solid colour ceramic tiles, and the walls would be painted to match the colour of the tiles which usually were green, white and sometimes pink.


Metal and glass sconces were a favourite wall accent in the 1930s home. The sconces were typically manufactured in chrome or nickel with frosted glass. The designs were simple with long straight lines connected by curved lines. The glass shades were frosted and were either plain with no design or were embellished with straight lines and contemporary flowers. White was the most common colour of glass used for shades, but sconces could also be seen with red or green shades.

Wall Mirrors

Large mirrors could be seen on the walls of the stylish 1930s living room. There were used as large wall hangings and framed in chrome, nickel or inlaid wood. The inlaid wood would illustrate the forest or straight lines in an intricate contemporary pattern. The frames were wide and heavy. In the bedroom, mirrors could be seen in groupings of three. The centre mirror was rectangular flanked on either side by narrow rectangular mirrors with arched tops.


The art that hung on the walls in the 1930s was greatly influenced by the Art Deco and cubist movements. The images were very stylised and tended to be composed of flat planes and geometric shapes. Skyscrapers and steps, which represented the New York skyline, were popular themes in paintings. Artists often depicted dancing women and women dressed in high fashion clothes. Flat colours for the backgrounds were seen in much art of the 1930s with little shading used on the subjects.

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About the Author

In 1982, Mary Love's first book, "Shakespeare Garden," was published. She also authored professional brochures. Love was the subject of a PBS special profiling Northwestern Pennsylvania artists, highlighting her botanicals and birds. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pennsylvania.