21 ideas for your 1940s ranch, bungalow or cape – 40s kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and more

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Quickly after World War II ended, Americans plowed right into making a wonderful new life for themselves – starting with building their dream kitchens, dream bathrooms – dream houses. Looking at periodicals from 1946, I can see a few distinct trends – this was a transitional period…you still see many Deco influences…you see a lot of primary colors…and definitely, interiors were “sweet”, although in ’46 homeowners certainly would have declared them “modern.” Read on for ideas from each of six great interiors, including a bathroom, two living rooms and a bedroom. 1946 was a very good year!

Tips from the first kitchen image — isn’t the “life through a Pyrex pie plate” awesome?:

  • This color combination: Dark cherry red linoleum countertops, primary green linoleum floor, white metal (or wood cabinets) with deco pulls seems to have been very, very common.
  • In this image, you also see a light chartreuse green on the wall – this, or yellow, also seem to have been popular secondary colors.
  • And flowered fabrics… These kitchens are pure prettiness. Image: Pyrex, of course.

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Isn’t this Briggs Beautyware bathroom just gorgeous.  To be sure, there is a lot going on. Observations:

  • Great color combination: beige – almost salmon tile, light baby blue (ala today’s “spa blue”), brown linoleum floor. The darker floor in both this image and the kitchen above “anchor” the rooms.
  • Very ’40s: the fringy rug in front of the tub, striped and monogrammed towels, chenille-scalloped rug in front of the sink, tufted dressing chairs, and all the Carrera glass (used instead of tile on the walls).
  • Last time I checked, today’s linoleum is not recommended for bathrooms – but if you are dedicated to keeping standing water off the floor – or want to use it in a 1/2 bath, go for it.
  • Notice the full length mirror behind the dressing table at the far right.
  • That full length drape – and of course, the glass block – both add to the luxe feel. Image: Briggs Plumbing.

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  • Blonde wood – similar to Heywood-Wakefield’s classic champagne (I believe) finish. This room definitely has a primary color feel.
  • The lampshade: I’d call that “40s”…”waxed foil”?
  • The patterned rug – definitely promoted heavily in the 40s.(You can see it in my header!)
  • The built-in couch … a continuation straight of of 20s and 30s moderne designs

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  • Oh my gosh, oh so ’40s: lavendar walls, emerald green floors. Combining these “secondary” colors of the color wheel is always on the “recommended” lists that were so common during this period.
  • Chintz draperies – scalloped valance
  • Notice the Staffordshire dogs on the mantel – very classic.
  • Not a ton of furniture in 40s interiors. (Today, our interiors are way jammed compared with the immediate postwar period.)
  • Note the style of the deco club chairs. And, there’s a colonial wing chair in the foreground. Image: American Home.

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  • Here’s the purple/green color combo again.
  • I’m calling the bedding: dove gray, although it’s hard to tell from this image.
  • The wallpaper – very sweet, simple…and combined with the chintz curtains and scalloped valance (again…) even more so. Note: I’ve found some not-too-expensive wallpaper in this vein and will feature it soon. Image: American Home.

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  • Cabbage rose chintz pinch pleats with frilly undercurtains. American Home.

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Remember this palette? It’s from the Church toilet seat company – and it captures the 40 palette very will indeed. Happy decorating all you owners of 40s homes… Jason K…Carleton Heights Girl… Neil.. and more! Ad: Church Plumbing.

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Comments

  1. Neil says

    I just know my sister in Nashville would kill for a Purple (!) Cracked Ice toilet seat for her 40’s bathroom! Simply divoon.

  2. Melissa Welch (@WelchWgrapes) says

    Was a styles of home furnishings in the 1940’s,50’s and even early 60’s that were called ‘Chinese Modern’ and the other being.’Hawiian Modern’? I know of the Chinese Modern although I can find neither of them on the internet..

  3. Adam Douglas says

    Wow a rose colored bathroom was quite the thing in suburban California late-40s (and early 50s) tract homes. My grandparents had a 1949 built house with a rose colored bathroom. Even the toilet and bathtub were made out of this dusky rose porcelain. The countertop was ivory blonde formica with gold flakes in it. Phew. When they sold the home, the new owners couldn’t rip it out fast enough.

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