Learn about Life in the 1920s

Many homes of this period were decorated in the Arts & Crafts style, variations of traditional Georgian and Colonial styles, or Art Moderne which embraced the marvels of the Machine Age of the 1920's and 1930's.

Lounge Room with Furniture

Improved Quality in Houses and Furnishings

"One who sets out to furnish a given house for the occupancy of a given family faces a three-fold problem. He must select and arrange in the house such things as suit the age, sex and temperament of the individual members, meet their needs, express their tastes and aspirations, and fit their purse. He must, moreover, see that the things so selected and arranged suit the house itself, in scale, coloring and style. Finally, he must see to it that these things are not only suitable but intrinsically good-looking, and that they combine to form a harmonious and beautiful whole." ...The Principles of Interior Decoration by Bernard Jakway 1922

INTERIOR OF A 1920's HOUSE

Architects and interior designers of the period recommended simplicity, inside and outside the home. There was an emphasis on functionality, efficiency, economy, and cleanliness. Kitchen, living and dining rooms opened on to each other creating a larger space that achieved unity by the use of similar finishing materials in each room. Built-in furniture, such as bookcases, breakfast nooks, sideboards, china cases and window seats, reduced the amount of free-standing furniture. This enabled rooms in bungalow type houses to be small and cosy without being cluttered.

Bathrooms and kitchens were very utilitarian before the 1920s, but by the mid 1920's bathroom d├ęcor in particular became a fashion statement. The earlier white sterile environments were brightened by the use of colors like blue, green and yellow.

Here are some examples of color schemes for different rooms as decorated by prominent 1920's interior decorators:

Kitchen - For the kitchen cabinet, the wainscoting, and the corner cupboard I chose Nile Green and Navy Blue, using Blue for the trimming and the shelves of the corner cupboard. The table I painted solid Nile Green. In the sunny breakfast nook I painted the benches and the table with the same Navy Blue. Then I was ready for the touches of contrasting color. The wall was finished with Ivory flat wall paint, spotted with Green Tint flat wall paint, harmonizing beautifully with my Green and Blue. So I painted the chairs and stool with Duco Mandarin Red, and repeated this gay note in the checked gingham that made the window curtains and tie-on pads for the chairs...Agnes Foster Wright

Bedroom - For the beds and nightstand I selected Duco Nile Green - lovely against the pink and white sippled wall of Flat Wall Paint and quite perfect with the deep green of the plain carpet and the chintz of the upholstered chair and stool. For the dressing table and bench I used Duco Canary Yellow, with decalcomania transfers in pastel shades. And then, for the mirror and picture frames, Duco Gold. Bedspreads of soft pink with comforters in a soft wine shade...lampshades and accessories in pastel shades - these completed the color harmony...Elsie Sloan Farley

Living Room - For the table I used Duco Sagebrush Green - a rich color - and for the desk and ladder-back chair Duco Mandarin Red. A wooden screen I first painted with Duco Nile Green and then decorated with some pasted-on old French designs and a narrow border of the Sagebrush Green. Duco Ivory to line the desk and paint the desk chair completed a color harmony which I think you will agree is both cheerful and restful...Ruth Collins

Dining Room - In the dining-room we have used No.16 Yellow Tint Flat Wall Paint on the walls, with Gray Interior Gloss for the woodwork. Glazed chintz draperies are used with a creamy background pattern in a floral design in red, green, orange and black. The buffet is fished with French Gray Duco, which is extremely interesting against the yellow walls, while the Delft Blue Duco table and chairs complete the quaint and dignified picture.

Bathroom - For the walls and ceiling in this room we have used Ivory Interior Gloss, with chair rail and baseboard of Duco Jade Green in contrast with the dado of Nile Green Duco. Then for the bathroom stool we have used Chinese Yellow Duco. The picture is completed by the addition of a rug in tones of lavender, which is repeated in the lavender shower curtain.

INTERIOR DECORATING RESOURCES

The Principles of Interior Decoration
Bernard Jakway's guide explains the prevailing principles of interior decorating in the 1920's.

Drapery Decorating
Correct construction, fashion, styles, the season, textures, colors, line, and design are all covered in these 1920's articles.

Decorative Draperies and Upholstery
Solutions to familiar problems in decorative draping and upholstering, embodying complete color schemes. 1929

Theatrical Drapery
Drapery was an important part of the interior decoration of Theaters and Picture Palaces that contributed to the overall splendor.

Furnishing the Small Home in 1921
Selecting furnishings for the small home to create a well thought out and carefully executed interior.

Furniture in the Small Home
The importance of Furniture Selection in making a Small Home efficient