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Hailing from Paris, Art Deco was symbolic of sleek anti-traditional elegance, wealth, and sophistication. It found its way into the rest of Europe and the United States during the 1920s and early 1930s, with some of America’s crowning achievements of the style present in New York City’s Chrysler and Empire State Buildings, along with the Miami Art Deco District. This period incorporated geometric forms combined with the use of man-made metallic fabrics and materials, and rich, contrasting colors.
Art Deco interior design is characterized by simple, clean shapes and contours that create a streamlined design within a given environment. Designers accent the style's linearity with bold, contrasting color choices.
While Art Deco was first embraced by society’s elite, it eventually worked its way into the middle class as materials and products became more economical. Art Deco's popularity has survived through evolving interior design trends for a century now, resurfacing in mainstream culture due to the modern buyer’s fascination with ultra-clean layouts, simplicity, and striking colors.
Below, we look at some of the defining elements of modern decor approaches to Art Deco for fresh ideas on decorating and furnishing your home.
Regardless of the price tag and era, an Art Deco home projects a luxurious and exotic feel. If you are going with an Art Deco motif, curate products with molded or iridescent glass and upscale natural materials like shell and antique or faux animal skins such as shark and zebra.
These are often contrasted with polished, high-shine surfaces, which can be used throughout your metals from faucets to lighting to hardware. Modern options such as stainless steel and aluminum-based products are commonly used, and accents often integrate unusual inlaid woods.
Also consider stucco, concrete, smooth stone, and marble in your furnishings. These materials add instant luxury to a space, even in the smaller details evident in our Jarek Square Cabinet Knob and Curved Rectangle Carrara Marble Vessel Sink. If you choose plastics, then opt for high-end, fashionable plastics of the era, such as Bakelite or Xylonite, or celluloid (think faux tortoiseshell). Go for fabrics such as rich leathers, velvets, and textured shiny upholstery—you are, in a sense, making a fashion statement with your home decor.
Geometric shapes are a dominant component of Art Deco design. Zig-zags, trapezoids, and chevrons should make an appearance in walls, flooring, ceilings, and furnishings.
The main idea here is creating a definition in your lines, which can be accomplished effortlessly in bathrooms using our Holmesdale Vanity and Tenaya Hexagonal Decorative Vanity Mirror. Other popular patterns among the era include sunburst and detailed fan motifs, which offer a more ornamental take on the style. Regardless of which patterns you choose, for any sophisticated look, they should be included discreetly and in moderation.
For Art Deco silhouettes, while the sleek, angular shapes fit along seamlessly with geometric patterns, if you are drawn to the curvier motifs, opt for classically detailed fixtures. Overall, it’s best to stick to similar silhouettes throughout the same space to ensure your vision comes through, working together to form an overarching theme. If paired haphazardly, they could clash rather than complement.
If you need a cultural context for Art Deco design, the films “The Great Gatsby” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” make an excellent visual introduction. What you instantly recognize in these films are the color schemes.
The movie sets are rich with sharp, contrasting shades of black and white, elegant silvers and lavish golds, deep yellows and light blushes, along with bold yet carefully used jewel tones. You’ll want to mimic these effects with your own furnishings, with our Van Noord 5-Light Pendant showcasing how a rich indigo can be incorporated.
Art Deco colorways should put you comfortably at ease and give you the feeling that you are surrounded by opulence. Remember, when it comes to color, it's possible to be bold without being gaudy; your palette in this era of style comes with a sense of refinement.
Art Deco lighting is more about the fixtures than the bulbs. Designers take great pride in adding that final touch with the right lighting products; therefore, Art Deco lighting fixtures are subjected to the same style guidelines as above.
Instead of colored glass, shop for etched, enameled, or frosted glass inlaid in metallic, geometric framing, as seen in our Alfaro 6-Light Chandelier. Era-approved fabrics and patterns make for a smart choice as well, with our Duxford 5-Light Pendant flaunting a sunburst cutout within its brass frame.
Lighting should be glamorous in feel as well. You’ll want to create a relaxed or intimate mood in an Art Deco design, which can be accomplished with the right lighting. Try to avoid harsh or direct lighting by including plenty of accent lighting with sconces and lamps.
Homeowners should play with contrast in smaller spaces like bathrooms, making them the perfect choice for incorporating Art Deco design. Since this style loves a statement, go bold with your vanity through a dramatic color or intriguing geometric inlay (or even both). Console vanities are another option for evoking the era while conserving space.
Complete the setup with a striking marble countertop or vessel sink, and of course, an eye-catching Art Deco mirror. Moving onto those metallic surfaces found all throughout the bathroom, these present an excellent opportunity for contrast.
Using those lavish gold tones or sultry silvers, choose a bathroom collection to unify the whole space through finish and silhouette. For primary bathrooms, consider a clawfoot tub, which exudes luxury and decadence with gilded, delicately detailed feet.
Art Deco Kitchen Ideas
Transporting your kitchen to the Art Deco era is all about creating a mood. Heavily achieved through lighting, find a dazzling statement chandelier and add in lots of accent lighting with pendants, sconces, and integrated lights—this ensures your space gives off a warm ambiance rather than harsh, unappealing tone. Complement your choices with a shiny faucet, and if you incorporate any open shelving, Art Deco style shelf brackets will add that extra touch of glamor. Use era-appropriate patterns in your tile or flooring, and contrast your fixtures with a fearless wall or cabinet color.
Now that you’ve been acquainted with how to bring Art Deco’s unapologetic opulence into your home, does it feel right for you? If you’re drawn to its contrasting colors, sleek shapes, and high-end textures, be intentional with your product choices. Find those constructed of highly durable materials and premium finishes to ensure your Art Deco abode can be enjoyed for the ages.