The 1940s home

Ever fancied injecting some 40s style into your living room, then Ria has put this lovely piece together for you to give you some inspiration and a few top tips for a 1940s home!

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The 1940s was a decade unlike any other, and those living during that generation experienced both extreme heartache and extreme elation as the decade saw the beginning (ok, nearly the beginning) and the end of the second world war. The 40s also saw huge advancements in modern science and technology so, needless to say, it was a revolutionary time of progress and development.

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Alongside this progress and development saw a contract in fashion and design, especially in comparison to the brighter 50s! Subdued, earthly colours, uniform and bleak imagery is generally how one would describe the 40s – and you wouldn’t be wrong! And it is this colour palette which was injected into homes around the country.

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It’s important to remind ourselves of how the world was like back in the 1940s in order to create an authentic 40s feel in your own home and have it truly capture that 40s spirit.

Floral patterned wallpaper and curtains plagued the majority of living rooms in the 1940s, but to get that iconic 40s style into our modern homes (without turning our living space into a 1940s nightmare of clashing patterns and colours) we should focus on key elements and then combine them with a modern touch!

So … lets get down to business

To achieve the perfect 1940s home, a floral pattern is paramount! Other popular designs include abstract geometrical patterns, though they were often used on linoleum floors in the kitchen or other non-carpeted areas. Did you know that they were used in conjunction with rugs to give the illusion of larger spaces and separate room areas?

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  • A charming way to use 40s-era wallpaper in your living space could be to use the patterned wallpaper on a single accent wall, with neutral but complementary colours painted on the remaining walls. Then for that hip modern twist, mount your super flatscreen HD TV to your 40s accent wall for a bold contrast. For added effect, using the same (or very similar) wallpaper for some extravagant full-length drop curtains will complement the accent wall and follow the 40s trend of repeating patterns throughout the room’s decor, without going overboard. If you have certain sections of the room that you particularly want to highlight, an accent wall is a great way to frame the area.
  • A few 40s era signature pieces in the room will create stunning focal points and make for brilliant conversational pieces but, for the most part, to achieve a comfortable home you will probably want to keep your furnishings modern. Modern aspects of your room should not distract from the vintage signature pieces, but simply emphasise the vintage chic of your 40s inspired room with a subtle contrast.
  • Why not include a fab vintage jukebox? The 1946 Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox is known as the biggest selling jukebox of all time (typically it’s American), but you are able to buy modern versions of vintage jukeboxes online that are capable of storing dozens of CDs for play and features iPod and USB connectivity to play your MP3 player. You could load it with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Vera Lynn, Ella Fitzgerald and other popular 40s music, but also with your modern pop Lady Gaga or what have you!

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  • We love the idea of an antique mirror hung on the wall, mirrors can be found at many antique and vintage shops and are relatively inexpensive! After all, how else can one ensure their Victory Rolls are intact before heading out!
  • Lastly … remember the wireless! No 40s living room is complete without one!

World War Two. England. 1938. The family at home, tuning in to hear the news on the radio news. They have gas masks at the ready.

The 1940s era is often considered a “sentimental” generation and that high level of post war sentiment was really reflected in the British people’s choice of home decor. Home interiors of the 40s were far more humble than the extravagant home furnishings of the decades preceding, and people simply made do with what they had. The late 1940s was a happy time, one of hope and optimism and this was made evident by the change of approach in decorating the home going into the 50s!

Good luck and have fun!

Thanks Ria … are you inspired to take on a 1940s challenge?

We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x
(and of course Gina) 

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