Classic colors for a 1940s kitchen: Ming Green, Ivoire de Medici, T’ang Red, and White

ivoire kitchenIdeas for a 1940s kitchen are always popular on the blog. I’ve completed three 1940s kitchen design boards and now that I’m decorating my own vintage 1940s A. Neely Hall dollhouse, I’m eyeballs deep in 1940s design colors and patterns and concepts for that. What a delightful era! Continuing my research, today I’m sharing all the images from a 1938 brochure fro “Standard” brand sinks and cabinets now in my personal collection. The four colors that the company was promoting:

  • Ivoire de Medici (soft yellow, I presume)
  • Ming Green
  • T’ang Red
  • White

Let’s take a look — these delicious illustrations are full of wonderful design details and ideas…

1940s-kitchen-1-2Above: Interesting to see that in these two views, the sink cabinet was still sitting separate from the countertops. I hypothesize: The company wanted farmhouse wives and others who had other pieces already firmly in their kitchen to know / see that they could just buy and install the sink cabinet, for that touch of modernity.

1940s yellow kitchenAbove: Ivoire de Medici cabinets and sink with soft blue floor and countertops. The countertop and flooring surely were linoleum. Light colors were not possible for early-days linoleum because of the materials and methods used. As a result, original linoleum floors were usually pretty rich in tone. 

1940s-kitchen-7Above: Do you love these sinks? You can still get this style in cast iron or now, acrylic, today.

1940s-kitchen-4Above: I speculate that black lineoleum countertops were the most popular color.

1940s-kitchen-1-4 Ivoire de mediciAbove: Be sure to includes some polka dot fabric in your 1940s kitchen!

1940s-kitchen-2 Ming green

Above: Ming and white… lovely!
t'ang dynasty red Above: Be still my heart, what must surely be the rare and wonderful T’ang Red, with cabinets in ivory. And more polka dots, can you spot them? I have to say, the Ming Green is usually my favorite but today, I’m lusting after the T’ang dynasty Red!

  1. Dan Hermann says:

    Hmmm . . . I’ma think those polka dots are actually a gingham check pattern on those plates.
    Anyhoo, I’m suddenly in the midst of an emergency counter top replacement (don’t ask) and I’m gonna go with a red WilsonArt laminate, and try to simulate that snazzy design as closely as possible. Should go perfectly with my 1939 Deco apartment in the Bronx, and my 1951 caloric stove and 1940 GE fridge.

  2. kathy says:

    Just last night, I was on line saw a house for sale with these same ivory/yellow cabinets! Such an unusual color, I thought it was the lighting in the photos. Now tonight, I amble over here and there they are! What are the odds?

  3. Carol Curtiss says:

    The sink with the double drainboards, mounted on the metal cabinet, is exactly like the sink in my 100-year-old house, except that my sink is white!

  4. Neil Ramski says:

    Sabrina, my partner and I remodeled our 1947 house in Jacksonville 5 years ago. We installed a Forbo marmoleum floor in a turquoise color to match our 1955 GE Deluxe refrigerator and also the same color on our upper cabinet doors. We designed an inlay in the floor using yellow and red marmoleum and then used that same yellow color on our countertops, trimmed in stainless steel. We never thought about any problem with water!!!! After five years, we have not had any problem with water and counters. We love having that product on the counters! Marmoleum is an all-natural material and is anti-bacterial. It is most commonly used in hospitals! Cleans wonderfully with water and vinegar!!! So for anyone considering it – Go For It!!! Yu won’t be disappointed.

  5. Marilyn says:

    I love anything 40″s….am I odd? These kitchens just feel more homey and comfortable….and ready to be cooked in….not just ogled…

  6. Nei; says:

    Every element in every one of these images is absolutely Divoooone (to paraphrase Jayne Mansfield). Having begun my domestic experience in the 50’s, among a tribe who were short on funds and were therefore cooking in lived-in kitchens from the previous decade, all these kitchens feel comforting and magnetic.

    All those 40’s shapes and materials and colors had an aura of being substantial and dependable, but at the same time appealing to the senses and redolent of pleasure. They were body-friendly; in those days, before synthetic chemicals took over the world, most household materials still conveyed a “natural” signature that felt familial and embraceable, and like a jovial grandmother they seemed to promise to get more dear with age.

  7. Josie says:

    I love the Ming green – would look stunning with some display dishes/canisters in jadeite.

    And I love the Ivoire. Would nicely offset dark green lino floor and I’d tie them together with a wallpaper with green leaves and yellow-and-white flowers probably. I’m assuming I can askew polka-dots if its in service of floral wallpaper? 😉

    Now, I’ve not thought about black countertops. Being honest, I do not really want them. But if I wanted the accurate ‘most popular colour’ what would I put them with? I think with a white tile walls with black trim, and checkerboard floor. Cabinets and freestanding sink in Ming. White stove. Probably cafe curtains in green and white *polka dots*, with a black ribbon trim?

    1. pam kueber says:

      Josie, I’d go with a rich colored floor (not checkerboards, they were not common in kitchens as far as I know and certainly not black-and-white checkerboard). Then, on the walls, probably another color.

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