Advice and Inspiration

1940’s Interior Design

Welcome to Decor Through the Decades, 1940s style. We'll be taking a look at this decade's movements and styles in the world of design. We'll tell you what was popular at the time and how to recreate a 1940's look in your home.

The History of 1940's Design

With World War 2 ending in 1945, the 1940s was a decade of two halves. The tragedy and conflict of the war brought with it instability, new technology and a damaged economy - all of which would shape a generation.

1940's interior design was characterised by the strong sense of "make do and mend" brought about by the war - and now popularised in vintage fashion. Suddenly being flashy with your cash was seen as unpatriotic, and instead people wanted to look modest and frugal as a mark of respect to our soldiers. Despite the late to mid-1940's introducing new features and designs, many households kept a simple yet effective look when it came to the feel of a room.

1940's Flooring

Flooring in the 1940s was, to put it bluntly, terrible. Linoleum especially in bold geometric patterns, was new and exciting. This flooring material was strong and long lasting, making it an ideal choice. Despite needing a lot of regular maintenance to keep it looking shiny and clean, linoleum was available in a range of designs and bold colours. Whilst linoleum made tile-effect flooring accessible to a wide audience, what was installed was cheap, soft sheet flooring with very unconvincing tile designs. Often these included intricate tile effects and block colours. Thankfully, however, nowadays we have LVT tiles which are much more durable, waterproof and visually realistic.

View our range of LVT  for a 1940's inspirational feel in your home.

1940's Colour

The 40's introduced and shifted to lighter, more neutral tones with metallic and exotic pastels. 1940's decor was dominated by muted colours and heavy fabrics with a lot of floral patterns - often recycled from old furniture or curtains. Colours including yellow, red, and blue were incredibly popular, as well as soft greens including mint and aqua. Mix and match these tones with furniture and stand out patterns to create the ultimate 40's look in your home.

1940's Patterns

Patterned styles that were popular in the 20's and 30's continued to remain a feature throughout the 40's, including hexagonal tiles, checkerboard patterns and mosaic tile patterns. Hexagonal tiles were popular in bathrooms and hallways, with a mixture of simple designs, where others would feature large rows of solid colour. Checkerboard tiles are the perfect additional feature in a kitchen floor, pairing contrasting colours such as black and white, blue, and yellow, green and beige. Add depth to your space and create character within your home.


Recreate a 40's Style in Your Home

Houses in the 1940's weren't flashy with accessories or designs. A lot of furniture was second hand and had aspects and influences of Art Deco which dominated the 20's and 30's. Upper class houses had fridges and electric vacuums, as most of them were new and exciting inventions.

The focus of a room was the fireplace, where families would gather to listen to the trusty wireless. These were very popular through the early 40s, and had become a vital part of every household.

Shopping list:

If you're looking to recreate the 1940s look, here's a handy shopping list to get you started with the key elements:
  • Floral curtains - rich, heavy, plush patterns.
  • Vintage furniture - from 1940s or earlier, dark brown.
  • Paint - Cream and Pastel green.
  • LVT tiles - light brown stone effect.
  • Vintage radio - a modern radio old-style design.
  • White appliances - fridges and ovens.
View more of our décor through the decades including the 1920's décor and 1960's design.

What we like

Deep Red 1940s Club Chair

Ascot Pencil Pleat Floral Curtains


Winchester Wooden FM/MW radio

Check out our inspiration centre to see a collection of moodboards, before and after images and Our Floors, Your Style to see how our customers have styled our floors in their own homes.