Buying A 1920s To 1930s House

Are you lucky enough to own a 1920s or 1930s house? Whether classic Art Deco or a more unassuming 1930s semi, it will look all the better if it is restored and maintained with some thought for its original features and colour schemes. So, what is the style of the 1920s and 1930s?

By Sacha Markin


Is Your House 1920s Or 1930s?

The 1920s and 1930s was a hectic era in terms of house-building. In 1919, there were eight million homes in the UK, yet by 1939 there were over 12 million. Many of the 1920s houses were in suburban developments in rural areas, building around established towns.

Why Do 1920s And 1930s Houses Look Like They Do?

As with the late 19th century period, many new properties went up when the new railway lines appeared. Domestic houses evolved from the popular terraces and tended to be in semi-detached pairs - and owned rather than rented. A popular style in the 1930s, influenced from the Arts and Crafts movement, was the mock-Tudor or cottage style.

What Are The Classic 1920s And 1930s Features?

The typical house of the 1920s was slightly smaller than those of previous decades and craftsmanship gave way to the mass-produced. In the 1930s, again properties were still smaller than preceding years. Concrete walls were more commonly used in building. Sunbathing was the very latest thing, and many families built flat roofs, pergolas and balconies as sun traps.

The Exterior

Houses were usually a mix of red brick, pebbledash and half timbering with red clay tile roofs, and the new addition was often the garage. There was also the emergence of the new bungalow with all its rooms on a single level. By the 1930s, the bay window had progressed to angled sides, or was half-round. And the 1930s also saw a significant increase in the number of flats erected across the country.

As well as these new architectural styles, there were many new decorative styles: Art Deco appeared in 1925, while in the 1930s, modernism was becoming popular among many - with its minimal use of colour, streamlined shapes and lack of embellishments.


Glass, on the front door and around the property, would have been etched, sandblasted or enamelled rather than coloured. Many firms today offer window film, which offers the charm and the privacy of etched glass. Large galvanised iron framed windows were the norm, and there would often be a two-storey bay with square or angled sides.

Stained glass was common in the top panel of front windows, and panels in French windows and doors - familiar designs included sunbursts.


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