Vintage home wall decor from the early 20th century
Article from the Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California) January 2, 1910; Images 1-4 below from Peaslee-Gaulert Co. Inc (1913) & Image 5 from Sears (1916)
Wall decorations occupy the attention of the homekeeper much more than formerly. In former times, it was the custom for people of moderate means to invest all spare money for decoration in heavy, solid pieces of furniture, which were meant to last for generations.
In those days, the walls were a minor consideration, usually being left to the paper hanger. He invariably chose a dark wallpaper because it was serviceable — and the pictures, generally one or two heavy oil paintings in gorgeous frames and a few cheap engravings, were placed wherever they would fit, without regard to surroundings.
Today, the mistress of a house is quite as concerned over the wall decorations as over the furniture, and cabinets, bookshelves and pictures vie with one another in giving those finishing touches to the furnishing of a home without which one feels there is something lacking.
Do not decorate your walls with china plaques. If you have some choice ones of real value, place them in a wall cabinet or have a set of hanging shelves in your dining room and arrange the plaques on them.
Bas-reliefs are sometimes very decorative. Many plaster reliefs are excellent copies from classic works and are decorative. There are long and short panels of these reliefs, medallions and squares which may be used to advantage in a narrow wall space between windows or in corners, but they should be chosen for their merit and their fitness with the general surroundings, and not simply because there is a space to be filled.
With regard to wallpapers
Light tones in wallpapers give space, and dark ones seem to contract the size of the room. A paper chosen in a strong light will look several shades darker when placed in large spaces on the wall, and the room when furnished will also look darker. For this reason, it is wise to choose light papers for small rooms.
We know that there is a fashion in wallpaper and materials in the upholstery to match papers. Cretonnes [linen fabric used for upholstery or curtains] follow the general patterns of bedroom paper.
A north room will be given a sunny atmosphere by the use of yellow paper, while a south room flooded with sunlight will be toned down by using blue or any cold shade.
Stylish vintage home wall decor examples from 1911
The Ivanhoe: Decor to complement a Craftsman-style home
The Hampton: Classical white and blue wall decor
The Woodland: Fanciful leafy interior design for vintage home wall decor
The Berwyn: Draped bouquet borders
The Byzance: Beautifully-detailed decor for a dining room
The Langham: Sunny flower decorating for a bedroom
The Gregorian: Dark-toned wallpaper and borders for a den
The Sweet Pea: Purple flowers for a sitting room
The Alameda: Floral decor for a bedroom from the 1900s
The Bird of Paradise vintage home wall decor for a lounge area
Vintage home wall decor inspiration: How to combine wallpapers, borders & fabrics to create stylish home decor for every room (1912)
From the catalog Wall papers with special cretonnes to match, by Gibbs Bros. (Publication date 1912)
On these pages, we have endeavored to illustrate in miniature a few of the new season’s wallpapers and cut-out decorations with cretonnes to match.
In the past year, there has been a decided leaning toward the Oriental and 18th Century styles in mural decorations, and the best artists and decorators, both in America and Europe are searching through old century styles and colorings for materials for reproduction, and in our designs, the Maintenon, the Kashmir, the Owari, the Fleur de Pommier and the Orange of Faun are shown some of the finest examples of the old masters, for in these decorations the French, the Italian, the Persian and the Japanese schools are represented.
For refined room decorations, it is impossible to excel the cut-out borders, and the fact that all of the borders here shown are cut out by machinery which accurately follows the tracings of the designs, adds greatly to their value and gives them the true hand-painted effects.
Bedrooms with floral vintage wallpaper & borders
The FLEUR DE POMMIER is a charming French design showing a graceful ribbon arrangement interfaced with natural stems of apple blossoms painted in the soft pastel colorings. In the drawing the beauty of the design is apparent. The cretonne, which matches the decoration, was manufactured expressly for it in England, and is of excellent quality, and can be obtained at very moderate cost.
Japanese-inspired wallpaper, borders & fabric for a bedroom
The OWARI— The device upon which this design was built was taken from an old 18th Century hand-printed chintz and the pattern is typically Japanese. The intricate and well-balanced arrangement of the flowers hanging beneath the knotted branches produces a splendid decorative effect. The same Japanese influence is carried out in the cretonne and the ensemble is certainly one of the most fascinating chamber decorations that has been brought out in many years.
Dining room with wallpaper and paper border home decor
The ORANGE OF FAUN— In the ruins of Pompeii there have been found some of the finest examples of Italian Mosaics, and the motif of our design was taken from a small border in one of the Mosaics in the “House of the Faun.” The design is bold, at the same time wonderfully attractive, and makes a superb and dignified dining-room decoration when used with the sidewall, which is a reproduction of the hand-painted walls in one of the dining-rooms of the Cafe des Beaux Arts in New York.
Stairwell and sitting area
The KASHMIR is a characteristic Persian decoration of unusually strong definition. The prevailing colors are peculiar to the Orient and harmonize with the colorings shown in Turkish, Persian and Indian rugs. The colorings in the cretonne are in fine complement to the border, which is a splendid decoration for either the hall, the living-room or the den.
A home library in dark colors
The FOLIUM is a verdure tapestry of unusual beauty and strength. The intricate arrangement of the design and the excellent balance of old tapestry colorings makes it one of the most fascinating of fabrics. The cut-out decorations can be used separately with a plain coloring or striped paper or with the tapestry sidewall which they match, and are superb decorations for the dining-room, living-room or library, where the tapestry effects are desired.
Living room with fireplace
The PAON is a modern English extension frieze eighteen inches wide. The motif of this design is m fine complement to the mellow blended field upon which it is built. The figures can be inserted at stated intervals to fit the various space requirements. It is a splendid decoration for either the dining-room, living- room, den or hall.
Simple guest bedroom decoration
The POPPY is a conventional pattern of unusual strength, due to the stitch work in the construction of the design that gives it the embroidery effect which in wallpaper decorations is entirely new.
Parlor/living room wall decor & furniture
The De MAINTENON— The motif of this design was taken from a tapestry valance in the boudoir of Madame de Maintenon in the Palace of Louis XIV at Fountainbleau.
The design was reproduced upon a very expensive cretonne in Paris this year. It has also been reproduced upon cretonnes by an American house, as shown in our drawing, and this cretonne to match our border can be obtained at a very moderate price. The Maintenon decorations adapt themselves nicely to either chambers or living rooms.
Colors to use for interior decorating: Advice and examples from 1915
Text from The decorator up-to-date, by Charles Herman Koenitzer; Images from Wall papers and cretonnes, by G.G. Marvin Co.
THE ENTRY HALL
The Hall is the Index to the Home, or like the Hero in a book, it is the center of attraction and is the first introduction the visitors have to the house, and should be treated in warm, cheerful colors; so far as it is possible. Reds, Yellows, Browns, or Forest Papers. The foregoing colors are also peculiarly well adapted for a basis to work from for color schemes for the balance of the rooms downstairs, and especially where the Hall is situated between two rooms, for instance, Parlor and Dining Room.
PARLOR AND LIVING ROOMS
The colors used in these rooms express the owner’s personality. The walls can be decorated solid all over, from baseboard to a molding, and can be either a two-tone figured, striped or plain material.
Where the two latter are used, if desired, they can be treated with a cut-out border, or a small border can be stenciled below the picture molding, following the molding around the room; or the walls may be paneled, using Gold or White Enameled Beading with Comers or Panel with Silk Gimp.
THE DINING ROOM
Necessity compels all the members of the family and visitors to congregate in this room together, and is the Family Assembly room, and should be treated in Cheerful Colors.
There is no room in the home which affords the decorator a better chance to show his ability, owing to the many beautiful papers made which are suitable for this room, and these papers in themselves offer a hundred different suggestions in ways to decorate.
Many of the old dining rooms offer the decorator an excellent chance for reconstructing; such as putting in beamed ceilings, plate shelves, paneling space below plate shelves with two-inch wooden strips 18 to 24 inches apart, as the case may suggest, giving the room elegance and artistic stability. Much of the woodwork added in this way becomes a permanent part of the room, and the extra expenditure will never be regretted.
FOR LIBRARY OR STUDY
The Decorator should remember that comfort should not be opposed by art. It is impossible that any one arrangement of theory of furnishing could be equally pleasing to all tastes, yet, there is a happy medium of correct environments which strikes a responsive chord in the minds of the majority.
The surest guide to a successful arrangement of this room is an acute sense of the “Fitness of things.” These rooms while often decorated elaborately should be done in quiet, self-toned effects, suggesting rest and ease.
THE BILLIARD ROOM
The treatment of this room should be somewhat masculine in character, and can be treated in plain or tooled leather, or Lin-0-Wall or Lincrusta Walton.
THE DEN OR SMOKING ROOM
The usual furnishings of this room suggest elaborate and sometimes extreme colors. Oriental Colors, Browns, Reds, Lincrusta Walton, Lin-0-Wall, or leather effects below Plate Shelf and Panel space under shelf with strips of wood, etc.
This room may be the Guest’s room, the Family Bed Room, or the Child’s Bed Room.
If used as Guest’s Chamber, it should be treated with much grace, and the Decorator should remember that this room may be assigned either to a Lady or a Gentleman, therefore care should be taken not to decorate in tones too feminine or masculine, but more on the majestic order, which will give the room the needed prominence.
The balance of the Bed Rooms should be treated to suit the surrounding conditions, such as exposure, woodwork, amount of light, and whether it is used by children, a young lady, or young man, or the Family Bed Room.
Vintage home wall decor & wallpaper color schemes to inspire you – from homes in the early 1900s
Boston: Colonial bedroom decoration, 1900s revival-style (1917)
St Louis: Interesting guest chamber wall decoration from the 1910s
San Francisco: Modern dining room decor with wood accents
Kitchen and bathroom wallpaper patterns
New Orleans: Pleasing hall decoration from before WWI
New York: modern living room decor from 1917