Bedrooms of the 1930s typically displayed no-nonsense classy earthy tones, notable for their geometric designs and simple aesthetics. The prevalence of this style was largely due to both period art influences and to economic factors such as the significant advances in large scale production of household goods such as furniture and appliances. For many though design sensibilities were not a priority as financial upheaval and personal hardship prevailed, and for the majority spartan décor, rather than any specific style might just have been the order of the day.
Within the homes of the middle class sombre colours defined the look of the era with earth tones such as coffee brown and cool creams dominating much of the design aesthetic, with flashes of colour reserved for smaller intricate items and accessories. The typical 1930s bedroom colour scheme made significant use of light and shadow to lend added depth of character. Manufacturing advances meant also that electric home fixtures such as lighting became widely available, with designs that became refined to a point where artificial lighting was readily integrated within the overall room decor. The overall effect though remained dark and moody, albeit with a cosy persona, with bedspreads and upholstery generally matching the restrained décor schemes, although deep rich reds remained a favourite choice for upholstery and fabrics.
Furniture of the era saw a prevalence of hardwoods as well as spring and cotton stuffed upholstery. In a bedroom setting this normally equated to wooden beds constructed from quality hardwoods with matching bedside tables, chests of drawers and vanity units, all in deep rich timbers. Iron bed designs remained popular, perhaps as a legacy from turn of the century popularity, and synthetic materials such as plastic derivatives were becoming more and more commonplace. Specific products such as polystyrene and acrylic resin had just hit the market, meaning that some plastic products that in this day and age would be considered gaudy, would then have been viewed as status items or at the very least have been seen as quality items and accessories.
Art deco influences which had their roots in in Victorian England and 19th century France dictated a significant part of the design culture of the era in spite of economic austerity. The Victorian style, when deconstructed into its simplest aspects, chiefly focuses on a balance of comfort and restrained craftsmanship, whilst by contrast the Art nouveau furniture popularised by the French was highly ornate, often to a level of impracticality, although it showcased a high degree of sculpture-like detailing in woodcarving, such as the popular leaf designs of the style. Art deco by contrast removed many of the frivolous, ornate aspects from both older styles, whilst retaining the clean shapes and comfortable practicality. In part the demand for decorative and artistic furniture was driven by the American middle class in the mid 20s when the Art Nouveau style was formally announced by the French Exposition Internationale. These demanding consumers sought to emulate the more expensive furniture which was the preserve of the wealthy, and whilst the design sensibility originated as a mimicry of other styles, it was eventually to evolve into a widespread and distinctive design aesthetic of its very own.
So it was then, that as much as the furniture and design industries of the American 1930s tried to popularise the image of Art Deco, it was in essence a style ultimately based on convenient mass production. The still evolving mass production techniques of the time meant that highly ornate work remained an extremely expensive proposition, and therefore an aesthetic of stylish simplicity was a matter of cost consideration and sensible business practice. Clean geometric design therefore was to be the order of the day influencing a host of simple, cleanly styled and practical items that defined the typical 1930s bedroom in the Western world that remain relevant today.