Stepping into the 1930s, you find yourself surrounded by an era of transition in home decor, where the dazzling allure of Art Deco met the emerging simplicity of modernist design.
This decade, nestled between the roaring twenties and the pre-war forties, held its own with distinctive styles that influence even today’s interiors.
The hallmark of the 1930s design aesthetic was a careful blend of ornament and functionality, giving your home a touch of elegance without sacrificing practicality.
Art Deco, your flamboyant companion from the preceding decade, didn’t just fade away; it evolved. Within your home, you could find its bold geometric patterns and rich colors tempered by the more streamlined and futuristic lines of modernist influences.
The Art Deco movement showcased a love for exotic woods, mirrored surfaces, and luxurious fabrics, all while the modernist trend introduced you to the clever use of new materials such as Bakelite, chrome, and glass.
Whether you find charm in the rich veneers and stylized motifs or prefer the sleek aerodynamic shapes, your home can become a testament to an age that beautifully married the old with the new.
Before diving into the specifics, you should understand that the 1930s were an era of stark contrasts in home decor, influenced heavily by economic and cultural shifts. This section explores the profound impact of the Great Depression on household aesthetics as well as the enduring charm of Fashion and Art Deco that characterized the period.
Influence of the Great Depression
The economic struggles of the Great Depression defined much about the 1930s, including how your home might have looked.
Budget constraints introduced a preference for simplicity and functionality in home furnishings, while luxury was often considered impractical. Despite this, public buildings and the homes of the affluent still featured opulent designs that contrasted sharply with the prevailing economic hardship.
Fashion and Art Deco Influence
The vibrant world of fashion in the 1930s brought with it a surge of Art Deco influence in home decor, which you’d have seen in everything from skyscrapers to cinemas and homes.
The aesthetic was all about sleek, geometric forms blended with luxury materials like mirrors, chrome, and glass, creating a stylish escape from the everyday. While many households couldn’t afford the extravagance of Art Deco, the style left a lasting mark on the design sensibilities of the time.
The 1930s saw a blend of tradition and modernity in architectural design, with a fascination for the past as well as eager anticipation for the future shaping homes throughout the decade.
From the sleek lines of the modern movement to the revered forms of historic styles, you’ll see how these designs innovated living spaces.
Art Deco Architecture
Art Deco emerged as a luxurious and optimistic style that became symbolic of the era. Your home might feature geometric patterns, bold curves, and the iconic stepped or ziggurat outlines that conveyed elegance and progressivism.
This style often included fenestra casement windows, providing a streamlined look while ensuring functionality.
Modern Design and Colonial Revival
The 1930s also embraced Modern Design, which brought about a cleaner and more practical aesthetic compared to the ornamental Art Deco. In contrast, the Colonial Revival style honored American heritage with symmetrical facades and decorative shutters, often reflecting a pride in the nation’s history through architectural form.
Distinctive 1930s Home Features
Characteristic features of the decade included a mix of English Revival Style, known for its cottage-like appearance and use of brick and stucco, and the simplicity and handcrafted feel of Colonial Revival. Homes often blended these with modern conveniences, providing you with both comfort and style.
Interior Design Principles
As you explore the interior design principles of the 1930s, you’ll discover a blend of bold Art Deco elements, Modernist influences, and practical approaches that marked the era with its unique style. These design aesthetics not only captured the spirit of the times but also set a precedent for timeless elegance in home decor.
Art Deco Interiors
Art Deco is synonymous with luxury and opulence. The style often features geometric shapes, symmetry, and rich color schemes that include deep hues alongside neutrals. The lavish use of metallics, like chrome and gold, contribute to a feeling of grandeur.
Reflective surfaces and mirrored accents can captivate your guests with their striking visual appeal. In Design Inspiration | Interior Design in the 1930s — Lilabeth Interiors, you’ll see how economic influences of the time shaped the use of materials and designs.
Modernist Design Aesthetics
In stark contrast to Art Deco, the Modernist design principles in the 1930s emphasized simplicity and functionality. This movement stripped decoration to the minimum to focus on clean lines and craftsmanship.
The influence of the 1930s on interior design still resonates in today’s emphasis on practical spaces that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to live in. Furniture was designed to be functional and often featured a mix of natural and man-made materials.
Practical yet Fashionable Living
The 1930s principles of design also revolved around creating comfortable spaces that radiated warmth while being practical. Soft, inviting color palettes allowed for timeless elegance, which could be enjoyed daily without being too extravagant.
Textiles brought color and texture into rooms, providing comfort without skimping on style. As described in these vintage photos of elegant house interiors of the 1930s, homes during this period balanced between the functional needs of the Great Depression era and the desire to maintain a stylish abode.
In the 1930s, home interiors balanced traditional elegance with the novel flair of modernity. As you explore the quintessential living spaces of this era, you’ll discover a rich tapestry of design elements that defined a decade of style evolution.
Living Room Highlights
The living room in the 1930s served as a showcase for household elegance and contemporary design. A popular feature was the 1931 Sealex Veltone linoleum, known for its durability and stylish patterns that complemented the furniture.
The 1935 modern living room in neutrals was on-trend, using a soft, monochrome palette to create a calm and sophisticated space. Fireplaces, often a focal point, provided warmth and an inviting atmosphere, often enhanced by overhead pendant lights which added both illumination and opulence.
Dedicated Dining Room
Dining rooms were designated areas for formal meals and social gatherings, distinct from the living room and kitchen. These spaces often featured rich wood finishes and a statement dining table as the centerpiece.
The aesthetic balance between utility and beauty was crucial, and lighting was meticulously selected, with pendant lights or even chandeliers providing a stately ambiance befitting of the room’s purpose.
Multi-functional Sun Rooms
Your 1930s sun room by Armstrong may have acted as a versatile space, harnessing the beauty and warmth of natural sunlight. Sun rooms often served multiple purposes: a tranquil reading nook, a casual breakfast spot, or a plant-filled sanctuary.
The preference for brightness and nature was echoed in choices like the 1936 key lime living room, reflecting a desire for cheerful, light-filled interiors. These rooms symbolized the merging of indoor comfort with the natural world outside.
In the 1930s, the heart of the home underwent significant changes to become more efficient and stylish. Here, you’ll discover the birth of modern kitchen design, the rise of linoleum as a favored flooring, and the introduction of functional furnishings.
Modern Kitchen Concepts
During the 1930s, the concept of the modern kitchen began to take shape. For instance, the 1936 yellow Armstrong kitchen with geraniums showcased how color could be boldly used to create a cheerful atmosphere.
This era also saw the integration of the 1935 Armstrong kitchen, which incorporated new ideas like continuous workspace and built-in cabinetry, paving the way for the modern aesthetics and practicality you’d appreciate today.
Linoleum – The Flooring of Choice
Linoleum became the go-to flooring material in the 1930s for its affordability and variety of designs.
The 1931 Armstrong sunny yellow kitchen featured this versatile material not just on the floors, but also as a linoleum counter, marrying durability with style. Meanwhile, the modern Congoleum kitchen highlighted how linoleum could mimic expensive materials, giving your home an elegant touch without the hefty price tag.
Functional Kitchen Furnishings
Functionality reigned supreme with kitchen furnishings in the 30s. Enameled metal tables and chairs were not only trendy but also easy to clean—a major plus for any busy household.
Cabinets and appliances were designed to maximize space efficiency. Most notably, the 1934 yellow kitchen by Sealex emphasized the importance of combining aesthetic appeal with practical use in everyday kitchen furniture.
Bed and Bath Style
In the 1930s, the design of bedrooms and bathrooms took a notably stylish turn, with an emphasis on form, function, and a touch of luxury, even for the middle class. You’ll find that details like Carrara structural glass and sleek fixtures gave these spaces a polished look.
Master Bedroom Designs
Your master bedroom in the 1930s might have reflected the period’s aesthetic with streamlined furniture and luxurious textures.
In 1936, the middle-class bedroom often featured bold geometric patterns, and a harmonious color palette, offering comfort without sacrificing style.
- Furniture: Sleek, lacquered pieces with chrome accents.
- Color scheme: Monochromatic hues with pops of vibrant colors.
Artifacts like a Deco bedroom vanity or a reading nook could add a touch of everyday opulence. Typically, the balance between aesthetics and functionality remained a cornerstone, especially for designing a cozy, stylish, and yet practical master bedroom.
Art Deco Bathrooms
The Art Deco bathrooms of the 1930s were elegance incarnate, often incorporating new materials and designs, such as the highly prized Carrara structural glass, which provided a luminous and modern aspect to the space. By 1937, the Johns-Manville fancy designs could have turned a simple daily routine into an indulgent experience.
- Fixtures: Chromed metal and sleek lines on taps and handles.
- Walls: Oftentimes tiled with bold patterns or fitted with Carrara glass for a seamless look.
You might even have had a unique, built-in sink to wash the dog, blending functionality with the era’s love for novelty.
Whether it was the shiny fixtures or the streamlined shapes, bathrooms during this time were not just rooms for personal hygiene; they were showcases of personal taste and modern advancements.
Furnishings and Décor
In the era of the 1930s, your home would likely radiate with the sophistication of vintage pieces and the warmth of rich textiles.
The distinctive style of the decade can be seen in the iconic furniture, decorative elements, and material choices.
Iconic Furniture Pieces
Your choice of furniture during the 1930s would often include vintage chairs and quaint oak tables. A quintessential element of the time is the vintage furniture design that displayed both function and fashion. Look for pieces like:
- Chaise lounges: Perfect for adding elegance and comfort.
- Lavish armchairs: Often upholstered in rich fabrics that invite you to sit back and relax.
Decorative Art and Mirrors
The use of decorative art and mirrors played a significant role in adding character to a room. Mirrors, often framed in chrome or elaborately designed wood, could make your space feel larger and more open. Similarly, art deco pieces added a touch of glamour.
Textile and Material Choices
In the 1930s, your home’s ambiance would benefit greatly from rich textiles, which were a hallmark of the time. Material choices reflected the advancements of the era with elements like:
- Velvet and silk: These materials would bring a luxurious feel to any room.
- Bakelite and chrome: For a touch of the modern industrial age seen in accessories and fixtures.
By embracing these furnishings and décor elements, you can create a space that truly echoes the spirit of the 1930s in your home.
Gardens and Exterior Spaces
In the 1930s, your home’s garden and exterior spaces were more than just land; they were a continuation of your home’s architecture, showcasing elegance and functional design. These spaces were integral to the aesthetic and cultural fabric of the era.
Your garden in the 1930s was a harmony of artistry and functionality. It was common for gardens to have symmetrical layouts and geometric shapes, indicative of the Art Deco influence on garden design during this period. You would find that the garden was an extension of the home’s architecture, where linear forms mirrored the structural elements of the house.
To get a sense of the 1930 garden design, imagine lush flower beds edged with neatly trimmed hedges, and central water features serving as focal points. Pathways and walking trails were often constructed with materials such as brick or stone, complementing the home’s exterior.
Outdoor Living in the 1930s
Outdoor living areas in the 1930s were designed to be both practical and stylish, suitable for the era’s social gatherings.
Your home’s exterior would likely include a patio or terrace, furnished with wrought iron or wooden furniture, providing a comfortable setting for tea parties or leisure reading.
These areas were an embodiment of leisure and entertainment, reflecting the homeowner’s status and lifestyle. To incorporate the spirit of outdoor living from that time, think of integrating a classic pergola or gazebo into your garden, allowing for shaded seating areas that blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
Color and Patterns
In the 1930s, your home could echo the glamour and modernity of the era with its distinct color palette and patterns. From muted tones to bold Art Deco designs, your home’s interior would have been a canvas of contemporary style and elegance.
1930s Color Palette
The 1930s palette was a mix of sophistication and cheer. The modernist influence brought forward bold colors, often seen in cinemas and the glitz of Hollywood. You would have seen rich, jewel tones in homes, such as:
- Emerald green
- Sapphire blue
- Ruby red
Simultaneously, a feeling of comfort and warmth was maintained through the use of softer, pastel shades like cream, beige, and ivory. These shades added a gentle touch to the interiors, balancing out the vivacity of bolder hues.
Wallpapers and Fabrics
Moving beyond solid colors, 1930s homes commonly featured wallpapers and fabrics that reflected the geometric and floral patterns synonymous with Art Deco inspiration. Wallpapers could elevate a room with:
- Geometric shapes
- Floral prints
- Metallic finishes
Fabrics, on the other hand, mirrored this design approach with patterns that could add both comfort and a flair of modernity to any space. Whether it was through upholstery, curtains, or throw pillows, these fabrics were integral in completing a room’s look.
Selecting the right combination of colors and patterns could transport you to an era where style was both an escape and a reflection of the world’s progressing modernity.