1940s house plans met the post-war moment
Many 1940s homes were small starter homes that were inexpensive, practical, and could be constructed quickly. To that end, there were lots of catalogs produced offering floor plans for sale, and many companies got into the prefabricated (“prefab”) home business to meet the increased demand.
These designs were a reflection of a world changing rapidly after the hardships of the war years. Families desired simplicity and comfort, but they didn’t want to sacrifice the charm. Enter the iconic 1940s house plans: the darling of practicality and style.
From compact yet spacious Cape Cods to the low slung, functional charm of the Ranch style, 1940s architecture styles blended functionality and fashion like a well-mixed martini.
These homes might have sported less square footage than their modern counterparts, but they made up for it with ingenious layouts that optimized every inch for living space.
Here, see a collection of these little suburban 1940s houses — most of them under 1000 square feet.
1-story western-style small starter home (1948)
Horizontal frame siding, brick, and shiplap all contribute to the interesting appearance of this one-story Western-type home.
The blue roof and yellow entrance door very effectively set off the ever-popular white exterior. The picture window and the two side windows in the large living room provide plenty of sunlight and ventilation.
In Plan 1, without basement, the garage is somewhat longer than in Plan 2, allowing additional storage space without increasing overall dimensions.
1-story small 1940s floor plan (1948)
There is a lot of living comfort in this well planned small home. The exterior is unusually attractive — the interior arrangement both practical and convenient. The large view window and porch are pleasing features.
The Ball garden-view starter home (1949)
We call it a “garden” view home because the living room is at the rear and overlooks the garden. The old and the new are admirably combined in this modern adaptation of a conventionally planned home.
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1940s house plan: The Beck post-WWII starter home(1949)
THE unusual arrangement and design of this modern brick veneer home makes it equally attractive from the wide or the narrow dimension, and it can be faced either way on the lot.
The large living room, the efficient kitchen with its dining space and other innovations make it seem to be a larger home than it actually is. The plan provides for a full basement.
The Barden vintage starter home (1949)
THE large T-shaped living room with its natural fireplace and picture window would certainly seem to hold little in common with the parlor of its colonial forebear.
Efficient planning has successfully combined an exterior which is basically colonial and a floor plan that brings the owner every modern convenience.
The dining space in the living room makes a dining room unnecessary, and gives this four-room house the efficiency of five rooms.
The Bosworth ’40s small home design (1949)
THE modern pleasing hip roof is featured in this bungalow design and another very attractive and eye compelling item is the massive chimney.
This is the outlet for the natural fireplace in the living room, and its location is such that it dominates the living area yet does not break up the ample wall space.
Note the ventilator which is also provided under the picture window. The breezeway which is shown in the floor plan adds considerably to the spaciousness of the house, but it may be eliminated if a smaller width is desired for a narrow lot.
The exterior wall is of frame construction with double course wood shingles.
MORE: 7 budget small house designs (1956)
1940s floor plans: The Benton plan (1949)
1940s house plans: New England Colonial design home
New England-style vintage home
1940s house styles: Old-fashioned home design with siding
Rustic English bungalow design
Vintage American-style home
Vintage English-type brick design
Barden 4-room home
Barth 4-room home with attached garage
Beck home plan with brick veneer exterior
Bingham 4-room home design
Blake 4-room house plan with garden view
1940s house plan for five rooms with one story
Oakton vintage 4-room house plan
Olton home design with porches
Osborn Colonial bungalow 40s house floorplan
Oxford home with attic space
Palos small property concepts
Platt home design for a narrow lot
Old 1940s small house plan with four rooms
Tiny 3 room home – 589 square feet
Vintage 1940s four room 1 story home
4 room home with 850 square feet
1050 square foot small home
Bluff 4 room small home plan
Braun small 3-room home design
Charming Pitman 6-room home from the 1940s
Parker small Colonial home plan
Piper home with entry porch
Romantic ranch home design
Small 1 story home with 4 rooms
Bosworth Western bungalow design
Charming English cottage design
Colonial one-story home
Design for a home haven
Early American traditional home (1944)
Modern home with unusual windows
Oberly garden-style home
Pearce 4-room home
Small 1940s Colonial home
True vintage 40s ranch home
Cape Cod home with a bay window
Vintage 1940s house with four rooms and one story
The Pinson design house plan from the 1940s
Tiny modern-style 1940s home
Home with a terrace and snack bar
800 square foot 1 story home
Benton bungalow floor plan for a 1940s house
Four room one story home from the 40s
Western-style home with outdoor ‘living room’
This western-type of home departs from conventional adherence to style into a great freedom of design. It is a rambling, informal, yet conservative type.
The plan indicates sensible construction, and the exterior design reflects the functional plan. A really unusual feature is the Outdoor Living Room at the rear of the house, accessible from both kitchen and main rooms. Thus, it may be used in many ways — as an outdoor porch, a play space for the children or an outdoor dining room.
One should not overlook the grill built into the main chimney and serving this outdoor recreation spot. Large windows in the main living room exemplify the use of large glass surfaces so much in demand.
Comfortable rambling ranch home
1940s small home with 978 square feet
One-story western-type home plan from the 1940s
Horizontal frame siding, brick, and shiplap all contribute to the interesting appearance of this one-story Western-type home. The blue roof and yellow entrance door very effectively set off the ever-popular white exterior. The picture window and the two side windows in the large living room provide plenty of sunlight and ventilation.
1200 square foot Colonial-style home – 1940s house plans
Small 5-room home floor plan
Small compact home design
Little vintage home with a Colonial design
1940s small white painted brick home
Adaptation of English style home design
Cape Cod Colonial brick home design from the 1940s
Charming stone and English stucco style home
Distinctive small old-fashioned style home plan
In the rivalry for distinctive homes, unique effects can always be had by some very simple applications of details to a design which ordinarily would appear quite conventional. Striking designs which can be worked out at a minimum of cost are indeed popular and also rare, but in this plan, a few simple tricks give it distinction above the average of this type.
Covering a comparatively small area, but adhering to the popular demand for a large living room with fireplace, the plan was laid out very skillfully utilizing every inch of space. With two bedrooms and bath occupying the side wing, a central dining room and a well-planned kitchen with breakfast nook, you have a home that will give complete satisfaction.
English cottage-style home design from the 1940s
1940s house plan: English-type stone bungalow
Picturesque quaint brick home
Modernistic residence – 1940s house plans
Found a 1949 steel home. Walls, roof, structural all steel. Existing plan does not match any by “Lustron of Ohio”.
I can not find where Sears or Wards did steel homes. Any thoughts?
This type of home architecture is making a comeback in “over-55” communities designed to attract seniors looking for small, low maintenance, single-story houses. They’re great for a single person or a couple, but beyond that they get cramped… which is why many houses of the 1940’s/50s vintage have heavy modifications and expansions.
I agree with Brian above; the original houses have been altered too much. These house are perfect for seniors and also for anyone wanting a smaller home instead of the two level homes that seem to be more common in my area.
I would love to see similar styles built in a community for seniors and may consider one myself in the near future.
Always a fan of smaller well-planned homes but can’t see a house on land 2br or 3 br not being at least 1,000 sq ft. I can see altering plans for eating in the kitchen, having a dining area/room to look forward to using for having guests and at least a 1/2 bath to keep the full bath private. I’m starting my own railroad town without a railroad, ‘think I’m a frustrated developer from a past life, have fun.