We never cease to be amazed by the timeless cycle of some decor styles – in particular 1940s interior design. This decade might have been heavily dominated by the Second World War, but it seems we emerged from those troubled times with a strong and positive approach to design.
Nothing sums that up better than the cover of our October 1946 edition of Ideal Home.
The original 1940s interior
This grand space has been brought to life with rich colours, while an eclectic collection of hand-painted ceramics and the decorative woven rug all nod towards a well-travelled owner with artistic flair.
There’s no three-piece suite to be seen. Instead each item of furniture brings its own unique sense of style to the room. This is a look that has been carefully curated over the years, and where shapes are deliberately juxtaposed – note the boxy sofa in contrast to the elegant curved legs of the coffee table.
Key pieces for a 1940s look
The pieces we’ve suggested for a modern update of this look echo the bold use of colour. We’ve kept the classic armchair and found colourful ceramics that only require a trip down the high street. While floor to ceiling windows aren’t the norm, the window pane mirror will reflect both the original architecture of this room and the light.
A bold Ikat rug adds a vibrant finishing touch.
1. The mirror
Proving steel frames never go out of style, this simple mirror will give your room and extra window on the world.
2. The armchair
Rich teal or emerald green upholstery will channel the 1940s aesthetic.
3. The rug
Ikat patterns are traditional to many parts of the world – but are particularly prevalent in Indonesia, India and Japan. Their popularity grew in Europe in the 19th Century, and since then they’ve never really gone out of fashion.
4. The throw
Post-war, navy blue, red and white, light green and this sunshine yellow were the colours to decorate with.
5. The coffee table
Practicality was a watch word of the 1940s – and this table is certainly that. A tray-style edge keeps anything from sliding off the top.
Buy now: Aldwych coffee table, £430, Neptune
6. The vase
Use vases to add unique character.
Buy now: Atticus ceramic vase, £50, Habitat
Which aspects of 1940s interior design will you be weaving into your 21st-century interiors?