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Colour Lookbook: The Decade-Defining Shades of the 1930s - Exploring Art Deco and Modernist Inspiration with Dulux

1930s style is all about subtle elegance, informed by a post-war desire for simplicity and understatement. Interior designers of the era loved soft, muted tones - with a particularly fondness for pastel green.

Read on to find contemporary inspiration from this decade of quiet glamour and clean, charming design - a sneak peek into the Dulux Anniversary Book, our in-depth colour examination of the past 90 years.


Dulux’s humble beginnings

In fact, our journey to becoming the world’s best-loved paint company begins in 1931, with the marriage of two companies, each with a passion for colour. The world-renowned varnish makers Naylor Brothers, and explosive manufacturers Nobel Chemical Finishes came together to create paint that was strikingly modern and uniquely colourful.

In the 1930s, there were no finishes quite like Dulux for quality - and we’re proud to say the same in 2021. To learn more about how we’ve helped inspire and define retro home décor for over 90 years, be sure to check out our article here

dulux beginnings

The gentle power of pastel tones

Why were pastel shades of green so popular in the 1930s? As gallery owner and curator Andrew Weaving notes, this return to simplicity stemmed from a desire to get rid of all the pomp and fuss of the previous decades.

It was an era that was decidedly ‘modern’ - new, clean ways of living, fashion trends, decorating, and interior design. Dulux created the understated colour palette to go with it all.

Post WWI, homeowners wanted to live in the comfort of cool, calming art deco design - characterised by sleek, simplistic geometric forms, which were beautifully complemented by more muted pastel tones. Furniture was minimalist, atmospheres were peaceful, and walls and soft fixtures were very green indeed.

For the modernist home, pastel green represented an escape from everyday life and a return to nature - and the same remains true today.

To learn more, read our article on green colour combinations here

pastels shades of green

A green renaissance

The 1930s was a decade of forward thinking, as well as a little uncertainty - much like today. Perhaps that’s one reason we’re seeing so many interior designers return to art deco for inspiration, utilising beautiful shades such as Tranquil Dawn or Willow Tree which are similar to Eau de Nil.

Back then, almost everything came in green - from cutlery to cars, refrigerators, even the exterior of buildings. Today, we can afford to be a little more selective.

These soothing greens add more than just colour - they can add a splash of nature to our homes and our lives. Green of course also means ‘go’ - ideal for those looking to the future with energy and excitement.

If you’re looking to go green, consider a lighter shade such as Tranquil Dawn for your walls, coupled with darker shades such as Emerald Glade for accents or feature walls.

Green renaissance

Revisit the 1930s and more, today

From the 1930s until now, Dulux has proudly helped to define over 90 years of bold, beautiful colour. If you’re looking for more retro interior design inspiration, our limited-edition Anniversary Book provides a beautiful, 200-page insight into nine decades of style, décor and era-defining shades.

Pick up a copy today, and add a splash of colour to your home.

Order your copy of the Anniversary Book for only £45.

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