I recently found a website describing interior design styles from the 1920s and 1930s. What I like most about the site are the descriptions of certain rooms, complete with color names, fabric descriptions and furniture styles. At the beginning of the article is a great quote from Bernard Jakway, author of The Principles of Interior Decorating published in 1922.

"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."

Isn't this exactly what interior designers today are faced with for each new client? It's nice to know that 90 years later designers are faced with the same design challenges. A little later in the article, there are several descriptions of different rooms. One of these descriptions particularly interesting because of it's similarities to today's trends:

"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 finished 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."

I thought, wouldn't it be fun to take this design concept and show what it might look like in today's design world? Here's what I came up with.

Yellow walls. I would want something rather buttery in tone, but still with some depth. The yellow in this room would fit the bill rather nicely. 

Glossy Gray Trim. Gray can be a tricky color, especially as a trim color. We would want it too blue or too brown. A nice charcoal or medium gray would pair nicely with the buttery yellow wall color.

Chintz Drapery. Chintz is a printed and glazed cotton fabric typically with a colorful floral print. In true JBi style, we would try to find something a little more up-to-date or maybe even a global style ~ less "your Grandmother's drapes."

Delft Blue Duco Furniture. First off, Duco is basically lacquer. So, we're talking about a table and chairs in a rather bright blue lacquer. That's an amazing image to consider in the early part of the 20th century.


Now that we've seen all the pieces, here's what they would like all together. Would this look fly in today's design world? I think so.

portland interior designers show what the 1920s might look like in today's design world