The station was opened by the Metropolitan District Railway (MDR, now the District line) on 21 July 1884. The station was originally named Hounslow Barracks in reference to the Cavalry Barracks located to the south of the station on Beavers Lane. The station was the terminus of a single track branch line constructed from the MDR's existing route to Hounslow Town station (now closed) located on Hounslow High Street.
The branch line diverged from the main route about 300m east of Hounslow East station, although Hounslow East was not opened until later and when the branch opened there were no intermediate stations between Hounslow Barracks and Osterley & Spring Grove (now Osterley).
Electrification of the MDR's tracks took place between 1903 and 1905 with electric trains replacing steam trains on the Hounslow branch from 13 June 1905. On 1 December 1925 the station was given its present name at the same time that Hounslow Central and Hounslow East received their current names.
During 1930 and 1931 a new station building was constructed facing on to Bath Road to replace the original building which was parallel with the tracks and set back at an angle from the road. The new building, by the Underground's architect Stanley Heaps in conjunction with Charles Holden in a style reminiscent of Holden's designs for the 1926 Morden extension of the City & South London Railway (now part of the Northern line), was constructed in Portland stone and features a tall heptagonal ticket hall with glazed screens to all sides. The original building was gradually demolished as the new one was built and the new building opened on 5 July 1931. The building is very similar to the reconstructed station at Ealing Common built at the same time, also by Heaps and Holden.
Piccadilly line services, which had been running as far as Northfields since January 1933 were extended to run to Hounslow West on 13 March 1933. From this date, the branch was operated jointly by both lines until District Line services were withdrawn on 9 October 1964.
In the early 1970s works began on the extension of the Piccadilly Line from Hounslow West to Heathrow Airport. The original alignment of the tracks and platforms at Hounslow West was on a south westerly heading. Had the tracks been extended directly on that alignment a large section of residential west Hounslow would have been subject to demolition in order to reach the airport. Instead a route requiring little demolition was found by following the Bath Road and Great South West Road in a cut and cover tunnel in a trench alongside the road.
The first phase of the extension works was to construct two new platforms at Hounslow West in a covered trench with a more westerly alignment that enabled the chosen route to be reached. The new platforms were adjacent and to the north of the existing three and the access from the 1930s station building was extended to reach them. The new platforms were brought into use on 14 July 1975 and the line was opened as far as Hatton Cross five days later on 19 July 1975.