The designs found in a home's interior during the 1930s was a direct reaction to World War I and the war's negative impact on the economy. The war's influence on home decor may be seen not only in the furniture, but also in the choice of floor tiles. Incorporating a 1930s-themed flooring into a modern home requires a closer look at some of the basic characteristics of the tiles that were popular during that tumultuous decade.
While the floor tiles during the 1930s displayed a wide variety of colours, the colour tones had a strong tendency to be either muted or dimmed. For instance, rather than a bold red colour, homeowners would have preferred a rustic burgundy colour. Or instead of white and fluorescent green, shades of cream or olive green would have been favoured. Floor tiles were not necessarily monotone. Often, a variety of complementary colours were placed together on the same tile to produce an intricate pattern.
Floor tiles from the 1930s had two main influences: a cultural influence by way of France and a popular design trend known as art deco. The French style is characterised as having feminine curves with patterns resembling an ornate flower. The art deco style is characterised as being geometric, symmetrical and modern with sharp edges, as opposed to the flowing lines characteristic of the French style. In some cases, a combination of the two may be found, with the presence of geometric curves.
While some of the more modern tiles are currently composed from stone, marble or clay, during the 1930s, ceramic tiles were the most popular and possibly the only type of tile available. A popular type of ceramic tile was encaustic tile, a decorative tile in which a stamp is firmly placed into the tile to cause an indentation of the surface. The indentation is then filled with clay of contrasting colours before it is left to dry. This process produces a colourful design that is inlaid directly into the tile's surface, as opposed to a painted or glazed surface.
Recycled Floor Tiles
A budget-friendly way to acquire tiles from the 1930s era is to visit old bungalows from the same time frame that are scheduled for renovation. Speak with the owners about possibly taking the old floor tiles off their hands to use in your own home. Repeating this process with a few neighbourhood bungalows will give you quite a collection of floor tiles, and you can be as creative as you like with them. For instance, you can combine complementary tiles to create a floor mosaic and use leftover tiles as a backsplash in the bathroom or kitchen.