1940s Decorating Inspiration With Vintage Advertising

Retro Staff Comments

How our homes are decorated says a lot about who we are. Utilizing decorating styles that remind us of wonderful, nostalgic times can make a statement of cherished values from the time as well as create a cozy refuge from the outside world.

For example, this Barclay wall paneling sample from the 1940s is a color inspiration piece for those who are planning to create a vintage look in their own home or business—whether you lived through that decade or simply love the design esthetic of that time.


Barclay Samples


In addition to the colors and decorating ideas mentioned in our earlier blog, 1940s Decorating Style, this salesman’s sample is a beautiful example of the colors that were popular at the time. In addition to soft shades of pastel, vibrant red, white and blue were popular at the time to show patriotism and support the war effort. Of course, black and white never seem to go out of style and make great accent colors.

This sample is of Barclay wall and ceiling paneling. It was manufactured as an economical material and to serve as permanent, modern wall covering. A man-made cellulose fiber was pressed and processed to be a non-porous, easily maintained, lasting wall and ceiling covering. Recommended uses for the home were in kitchens, bathrooms, attics, playrooms and basements. It was also meant for offices, service stations, restaurants, and supermarkets as you can see in the sales catalog page below.


Barclay Ad


If you’d like to create this look without using the authentic 40s wall paneling, this same effect can be achieved today using paint, wallpaper, laminates and synthetic wall paneling. On the other hand, it’s also possible to use the wall paneling color palette simply as color inspiration only, choosing fabrics, paints and accessories with a similar color palette.

We’ve chosen a few of our retro products that can help you when creating your own 40s inspired decorating style:


Mint Green ClockSeahorse Decal


Peach Towel


Creamer and Sugar



Songbird ShakersCake Stand


You can shop for all kinds of products by decade (from the 40s to the 80s) on the RetroPlanet.com site. Click here to shop our 40s product category. Enjoy—and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions you’d like to share!

Last updated: Aug 29, 2017
Filed under: Retro Decorating Ideas Tagged with: 1940s, Decorating Ideas, vintage advertising