Here is your ultimate guide on how best to infuse sophisticated Art Deco style into the heart of your home.
- The Origins of Art Deco
- Key Characteristics of Art Deco Style
- Examples of Art Deco Home Furnishings
- Incorporating Art Deco in Living Rooms
- Art Deco Bedrooms: Creating a Glamorous Retreat
- Elegant Art Deco Bathrooms
- Art Deco Kitchens: Mixing Style and Functionality
- Lighting in Art Deco Design
- Flooring and Wall Treatments
- Art Deco Furniture and Accessories
A select few design movements can depict exuberance, innovation, and over-the-top glamour in history like French Art Deco. This style is amongst the few captivating and influential design and arts movements of the early 20th century that travelled through time and frontiers to champion an unapologetically elegant lifestyle.
A refined iteration of maximalism, the Art Deco movement is an ode to bold colours, striking patterns, geometric designs, delicate craftsmanship, and sometimes eye-wateringly luxurious materials.
Needless to say that Art Deco, known in France as Arts Décoratifs has garnered a huge fan base amongst the well heeled of Europe and North America since the design movement emerged on the artistic Parisian scene of the 1910’s.
Whilst the style has evolved over time to embrace muted shades, the timeless glamour and expensive materials associated with Art Deco remain enduring stamps of this cultural movement that had a tremendous impact on visual arts, interiors, architecture, and fashion .
So, let’s look at the essence of the Art Deco style, its evolution in history, its key characteristics, a few furnishings examples of this design movement, and how to incorporate this timeless aesthetic into your living spaces.
This post contains independently selected affiliate links. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission. See our disclosures here to find out more.
The Origins of Art Deco
At the eve of the First World War in the 1910s, against a backdrop of the global Industrial Revolution (1760 -1 840), a new cultural movement emerged in Paris, France – Art Deco.
The movement reflected society’s cultural transformation and a desire for change and innovation.
Known in French artistic circles as Arts Décoratifs, the Art Deco artistic movement influenced the world of interiors, architecture, visual arts, product design, fashion, and jewellery.
The flourishing of Art Deco in France’ artistic scene, was closely connected with the elevation in status of decorative artists in 1875, who were until that time considered as mere artisans. That year, the term Arts Décoratifs was created.
In 1901, decorative artists from the textile, visual arts, to the furniture making industry gained official status with authorship rights similar in prominence to that of painters, writers, and sculptors in French society.
The 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris played a pivotal role in popularising the style, giving it its official name and a platform for global recognition. Luxurious materials such as ivory, gold, silver, chrome, lacquer, exotic woods, glass, and delicately crafted textiles and furniture pieces were on display at that show. These materials added a sense of glamour and sophistication to the designs.
During the 1920s and the early 1930s, Art deco sophisticated style expanded to Europe and the United States, with the construction of impressive skyscrapers and tall buildings in some affluent districts of New York City and North America. Think Empire State Building!
In the 1930s, the Great Depression (1929–1939) resulted in a severe economic downturn in the United States and around the world. Such a change in many wealthy people’s fortune led to a more restrained version of Art Deco. A tamed form of the design style capitalised on the emergence of new materials such as plastic, stainless steel, and chrome to infuse buildings’ architecture and interiors with curvy forms and shiny, polished surfaces.
Art Deco’s prominence gradually faded towards the beginning of the Second World War (1939 to 1945), paving the way to the rise of Modern Design characterised by non frivolous design styles where form and function had to serve a strict purpose.
To this day, Art Deco remains an influential interior design style. Its influences can be found in various interior design styles, including Moroccan decor style under French occupation in1912. Its elegant features continue to subtly infuse many people’s home interiors and architecture around the world.
Key Characteristics of Art Deco Style
The Art Deco style at its core is an opulent art-de-vivre. The design aesthetic is a departure from the excessively ornate and intricate designs of the Art Nouveau movement that preceded it.
Art Deco embraced a more streamlined and geometric aesthetic, symbolising modernism, luxury, and progress.
Various artistic movements, including ancient civilisations, Futurism, Cubism, and Constructivism helped shape Art Deco architecture, visual arts, and interiors.
As the cultural movement evolved over time, a number of distinct features helped define Art Deco as a design style.
2.1 Bold Geometric Patterns and Shapes
Art Deco embraced geometric forms such as rectangles, triangles, circles, and trapezoids. It often features symmetrical designs, such as chevron motifs, stepped forms, and sunburst patterns. These bold geometric elements create a sense of structure and visual interest in interior spaces.
2.2 Luxurious Materials and Finishes
Art Deco embraces opulence and luxury. Materials like exotic woods, polished metals such as chrome and stainless steel, lacquered finishes, marble, and mirrors are commonly used to create a sense of glamour and sophistication. Velvet, silk, and intricate tapestries add an additional layer of elegance to the overall Art Deco aesthetic.
2.3 Streamlined and Sleek Lines
The streamlined and sleek lines of Art Deco design evoke a sense of modernity and progress. Furniture and architectural details often feature clean, crisp lines with minimal ornamentation. This simplicity contributes to the overall elegance and timeless appeal of Art Deco interiors.
2.4 Sunburst Motifs
Sunburst motifs represent the rising sun and symbolise optimism and progress. They were frequently used in mirrors, clocks, and other decorative objects at the height of the Art Deco design movement.
Today, such vintage mirrors could fetch for a little fortune and are a rarefied item to have in any room of your home.
2.5. Emphasis on Verticality
While horizontal lines are prevalent, Art Deco also incorporates vertical elements to create a sense of grandeur and height.
The imposing Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building in uber chic Manhattan in New York City with their jaw-dropping heights, both built in the 1920s and 1930s epitomise the Art Deco style in all its grandeur.
2.6 Vibrant Colours and Contrasts
Art Deco embraces vibrant colours, often incorporating bold contrasts. Black and white combinations, along with striking hues like deep blues, rich greens, and vibrant reds, are frequently used.
These colour schemes add energy and drama to interior spaces, creating a visually captivating environment.
2.7 Symmetry and Balance
Art Deco places a strong emphasis on symmetry and balance. The designs are often mirrored or centred around a focal point to help ground the space.
This helps to bring a sense of cohesion and equilibrium to a room full of vibrant shades and intricate fabrics and patterns.
2.8 Statement Pieces and Decorative Accents
Art Deco style embraces statement pieces and decorative accents. Figurines, sculptures, large pieces of handwoven textiles turned into wall art, and striking paintings are thrown into the mix to enhance the overall look of a room.
Intricate mirrors, chandeliers, and wall sconces with geometric patterns and motifs also serve as eye-catching focal points in Art Deco interiors.
Examples of Art Deco Home Furnishings
Sprinkle a touch of Art Deco in the heart of your home with these curated items. You can cleverly blend any of these pieces with other interior design aesthetics from transitional, bohemian, to modern design styles, just to name a few, to achieve a home interior that is quintessentially yours.
Shop The Look
Incorporating Art Deco in Living Rooms
Art Deco can transform a living room into a sophisticated and glamorous space. Choose furniture with clean lines and luxurious materials like velvet or leather.
Incorporate geometric patterns through rugs, throw pillows, and artwork. If you want to go really bold like maximalist decor lovers, invest in accent chairs in chevron or animal prints to bring a touch of nature inside.
Statement lighting fixtures and bold accessories will add the finishing touches to an Art Deco-inspired living room.
Art Deco Bedrooms: Creating a Glamorous Retreat
In an Art Deco bedroom, focus on a sleek and elegant design. Opt for a bed with a tufted or upholstered headboard. Dress the windows with luxurious curtains or blinds. Incorporate mirrored furniture and decorative screens to enhance the sense of glamour.
Balance your bedroom through a clever combination of vibrant shades and soft neutrals. Decorative throw pillows and blankets, bedside lamp tables, and a few vases are some ways in which you can infuse happy colours in your bedroom whilst playing with muted
Elegant Art Deco Bathrooms
Art Deco bathrooms exude elegance and sophistication. Consider using geometric tiles in black and white or bold contrasting colours for the flooring and walls.
Install fixtures with clean lines and chrome or gold finishes. Add a touch of luxury with a freestanding bathtub, an ornate vanity, and mirrors with intricate frames.
Art Deco Kitchens: Mixing Style and Functionality
Art Deco kitchens can be a perfect blend of style and functionality. Incorporate sleek cabinetry with polished finishes and geometric hardware.
Choose countertops made of marble or granite for a luxurious touch. Integrate Art Deco-inspired lighting fixtures and display decorative glassware or ceramics as accents.
Lighting in Art Deco Design
Lighting plays a crucial role in Art Deco design, creating a captivating ambiance. Install chandeliers or pendant lights with geometric shapes and metallic finishes.
Sconces can provide both functional and decorative lighting. Table lamps with frosted glass shades and sleek bases add an elegant touch to any room.
Flooring and Wall Treatments
In Art Deco interiors, flooring and wall treatments contribute to the overall aesthetic. Use geometric patterns or bold contrasting colours for tiled floors.
Parquet or glossy hardwood flooring can also enhance the elegance of the space. Incorporate wall treatments like beautiful wallpaper with Art Deco motifs or mirror panels to add depth and visual interest.
Art Deco Furniture and Accessories
Art Deco furniture is known for its sleek lines and luxurious materials. Choose sofas, chairs, and tables with curved or geometric forms.
Upholstery in rich fabrics like velvet or leather adds a touch of opulence. Decorative accessories such as sculptures, vases, and geometric artwork complete the Art Deco look.
Art Deco style in interior design is a timeless and captivating aesthetic that continues to inspire designers and homeowners alike. Its bold geometric patterns, luxurious materials, and sleek lines create a sense of elegance and sophistication.
By incorporating Art Deco elements into living spaces, you can transform your home into a glamorous retreat that pays homage to this iconic design movement that remains an enduring symbol of timeless luxury.