A Flirtation with the Forties

There are many periods of history to draw inspiration from when decorating your home, from the Victorian’s to vintage. For an elegant, vintage look try emulating a touch of 1940’s in the home, based on the glamour of post World War II. It was during this period that there was a move away from the austerity that was suffered during the war; rather than ‘make do,’ the emphasis in interiors was on warmth and comfort.

The first half of the decade was filled with the horrors of World War II, the atrocities that happened during the holocaust, its affect was felt globally, but beyond the war and later in the decade there was swing and cinema, Frank Sinatra and the beginning of the rock ‘n’ roll movement. There was Hollywood glamour, with screen sirens such as Katherine Hepburn, Rita Haworth, Joan Crawford and Grace Kelly. This frivolous, fun glamour was transferred to interiors of many homes as people sought a more cheery look after all the gloom that had preceded the time.

Hence why the perfect 1940’s look is classical with a touch of kitsch, it’s charming without looking to chintz and overdone throughout. It’s sentimental and innocent, with touches of patriotism; there was very much a focus on a family orientated environment during this period in the home. But how is it possible to replicate the style of the 1940’s in your home?

Firstly, pay attention to your colour scheme, colours from this period tended to be neutral tones, it is possible to incorporate a bolder colour for impact, although veer away from anything too bright as it will overpower the style you are hoping to create. In terms of pale colours think eggshell blue and soft, dusky pinks. Wallpaper’s were often bold or featured patterns, and complemented the style, with fabrics featuring floral patterns and gingham designs.

The furniture of the forties included pedestal tables, tulip chairs, pendant lights, chrome and vinyl stools, Formica tabletops and button back chairs. Within the home it is likely there would have been vintage style cabinets, sideboards and display units, with the TV increasingly becoming the focal point, TV tables and units would have been popular.

Furniture was elegant and graceful in France during this period, post-war design favoured fine furniture that could be massed produced such as the Knorr chair, Art Deco French walnut dining chairs are of particular value from this period. Laminated wood was also a feature of 1940’s furniture, as was Colonial style furniture also popular.

There are a number of names that contributed to the style of furniture produced during the 1940’s, these include Jean Prouve who used aluminium in his furniture design, and Bruno Mathsson was a notable Swedish designer of chairs. As was Marcel Breuer at Bauhaus, who was famed for his tubular steel furniture and Wassily chair. Eileen Gray was part of the modern movement of architecture, who specialised in lacquer screens, her Bibenden chair and table glass with stainless tubular steel features was designed in 1929 and a feature of some rooms in the 1940’s.

For a touch of the 1940’s think Art Deco mirrors, vintage jukeboxes, a modest amount of colonial style furniture, mixed with abstract geometric patterns and floral fabrics. A 1940’s style is nostalgic and light, this vintage look embraced a time that saw the end of frugality, rationing became a thing of the past and people began to spend on home interiors yet again.

Image credits
Image 1- http://www.midcenturyhomestyle.com/inside/kitchen/1940s/gallery/page01.htm
Image 2- http://www.cnbhomes.com/1940s-interior-design/