The Ideal and the Real: interior linings in 1930s New Zealand homes


  • Eva Forster-Garbutt Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington



Ceilings, Floor coverings, Wall coverings, Interior painting, Paperhanging, 20th century, History, New Zealand, Interior Architecture


The choices made by New Zealanders in terms of how they line the floors, walls and ceilings of their homes, both today and in the past, is driven by various influencing factors. These include economic factors such as supply and demand, changes in technology, societal norms, as well as the agency of people themselves, ranging from the manufacturer and supplier to the designer and homeowner. In 1930s' New Zealand, architectural and building publications aimed to influence consumer behavior in terms of the products and methods used to design, construct and decorate buildings. These magazines also played a pivotal role in both reflecting and shaping current societal ideals and the associated ideal homes, which are almost always the homes of the middle and upper classes. This paper takes a case study approach by looking at the first eleven issues of the Home & Building magazine between October/November 1936 and November 1939, extracting from these the construct of the ideal home interior and the types of interior linings that were advertised and used for this purpose in the homes that are presented. To investigate the extent to which these trends are reflected in the homes of real New Zealanders, a sample of Wellington building consents and historical interior photographs available through DigitalNZ are used.


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How to Cite

Forster-Garbutt, E. (2021). The Ideal and the Real: interior linings in 1930s New Zealand homes. Architectural History Aotearoa, 18, 43–58.