1940s Utility Furniture

Utility furniture was made in the UK during and just after World War II until 1952, as part of a government scheme designed to cope with the shortage of raw materials and rationing of their use. Lack of timber suitable for furniture making, combined with bombing and the establishment of lots of new households, led to a severe shortage of furniture.


The Utility Furniture Catalogue of 1943 was produced full of approved designs for strong, well-designed furniture, which made efficient use of timber. The same logo was used for Utility furniture as for the Utility clothing scheme consisting of two capital Cs and the figure 41, which stood for "Controlled Commodity 1941" but soon became known as "the two cheeses".
These Utility chairs belonged to our lovely client Sheila’s mum and were bought in the 1940s. The matching pair were left to Sheila and her son Adam, who brought them to the Reloved studio for their makeover. We absolutely loved the potential these chairs had, with their stunning bentwood arms which are very current and on trend.


It was lovely deciding on fabrics with our clients to fit each of their tastes and interior schemes. Sheila decided on the beautiful ‘Deco Martini’ print by Divine Savages.

Whilst Adam chose ‘Pollen’ by Patternistas. The wood was stripped back and waxed on both chairs, bringing them bang up to date.


It was quite fitting that the day after Sheila came to collect her chair was her mum's birthday. Here she is pictured next to the chair now it’s sitting comfortably back at home.

Simion gave both chairs a modern Reloved twist by upholstering the legs. How stylish does Adam’s chair look in situ at his home? We think this fabric choice is perfect for the interior - we were told that Grandma was a very thrifty lady, so would have approved of the choice of Patternistas fabric, which is printed by Panaz onto fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.

Love the look of these chairs and fancy one of your own? Then you're in luck as we have one available over in the online shop now! Follow this link to take a look - available in your choice of fabric so do get in touch to chat about your ideas.


Photo credits: National Museum Wales