Art Deco interior design is gaining in popularity after its heyday in the 20's, 30's and 40's. This design guide will help you incorporate some Art Deco interior elements in your home.

Art Deco is a highly distinctive and original style which flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, and extended into the 1940s in some countries.

The name Art Deco was given to this new style of interior design, architecture and fashion because it emerged at the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II. It was also known as ‘ Style Moderne ’ or ‘The New Rationality’. Art Deco thrived on an optimism among professionals after World War I, particularly engineers and architects who had found new solutions for old problems during wartime. In peacetime, they built on those ideas to create glamorous, streamlined designs with sharper angles, bolder colors and heavier use of glass in interior spaces.

The Origins of Art Deco

Origins of Art Deco

The roots of Art Deco can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution which led to a new era of mass-production, urbanization and wealth in Western Europe and North America. There was a cultural fascination with high technology, especially as expressed in automobiles, aircraft and architecture. Modernism became a dominant design style in Europe from about 1917 to 1933. In 1918, Prohibition in the United States gave rise to criminal gangs who serviced the illegal liquor trade by building elaborate nightclubs that showcased Art Deco design motifs like chrome plating and streamlining with decoration or stylized animal shapes emphasizing linearity.

In the 1920s, many American cities had architectural design competitions for public buildings with nearly all incorporating Art Deco designs. In France, where state-owned buildings were constructed during this period, the major reconstruction work left a distinctive legacy of buildings that still evokes associations with Art Deco architecture.

Learn more about the history of Art Deco here.

Advancements in Interior Design During the 1930s

The 1930s saw the introduction of new materials to interior design, like stainless steel and laminate surfaces. The popularity of Art Deco was at its height during this decade, with many homes being built in this style, especially in Miami. Art Deco furniture designed for the home was often manufactured from durable metals such as chrome or nickel-plated metal. Furniture designs often incorporated curved lines and tubular shapes, although some pieces had a straight appearance. As with everything else in the 1930s, 

Recommendations for Art Deco Interior Design

Recommendations for Art Deco Interior Design

If you are considering a renovation or want to create an Art Deco theme then the following should be taken into consideration. - Use neutral colors for the base of your walls and use bold, bright colors as accents. - Use geometric shapes with strong lines and sharp angles and curves in interior design.

  • Focus on symmetry and clean lines in furniture design.
  • Use natural lighting, such as skylights, windows and mirrors to make space feel more open.
  • Add metallic accents to the space like bronze or gold touches in lamps or patterns on chairs.
  • Consider using reflective materials that bounce light off objects; for example, mirror tiles on a coffee table which reflect light beautifully through a room.


Art Deco kitchen example

Design Most kitchens in the Art Deco movement were of the more compact variety. Kitchens were often small, so to not take up too much space in their homes, and because many people were newly working outside of the home. Kitchens were also considered a utilitarian area of the house and as such, they would often be designed with efficiency in mind.

One of the most important aspects of an efficient kitchen is an organized pantry, which will help save time when cooking as well as provide easy access to food items. The color schemes and design elements are typically based on geometric shapes and features a lot of metal accents. The metal accents are usually made from stainless steel or brass and can include refrigerator handles, utensils, fire suppression systems, and coffee urns. Aesthetically, Art Deco kitchens tend to feature clean lines and glass surfaces for countertops so that it does not take away from other décor items in the room.

Living room

Art Deco living room example

The living room is often the most prominent room in a house or office. It is the gathering place for conversation, games, and other activities. For this reason, it is important to have a well-decorated living space that represents your family's taste and style.

In order to recreate an Art Deco living room, start by selecting a color scheme. The colors are typically muted with black and white being popular choices. Next, add furniture that is both stylish and functional. Select furniture that has clean lines and geometric shapes such as a table-shaped desk with a slanted top and sleek metal chair. You can also include leather or glass accents to create an elegant overall look. Finally, use artwork to fill empty spaces while continuing the theme of geometric shapes in your décor choices.


Bedroom interior example

There are a few things you should keep in mind. First, it's important to select furniture that has a modern design element or features geometric shapes. One of the most popular pieces of furniture is the Art Deco dresser. It features open shelves and drawers that allow plenty of storage space for clothing, jewelry, and accessories. The dresser can be paired with other matching pieces like armoires and nightstands for a cohesive look. If you're looking to create an even more cohesive look, you can also consider purchasing a headboard that matches your bed frame for a more modern feel.


Bathroom interior example

This room should be designed with your needs in mind. Art deco chairs and dressers, are perfect for this type of space because it works well with the modern lines of the décor. Art Deco furniture also has an aesthetic quality that will make your bathroom feel luxurious, while still being practical. The bathrooms typically come equipped with a sink and toilet, so you will want to make sure there is plenty of storage for towels, toiletries, and other necessities for daily use. An Art Deco dresser provides ample storage for both your bedroom and bathroom items that won't take up too much space on a smaller bathroom floor plan. They also come in different sizes depending on how big or small you need them to be.

Themes in Art Deco Interior Design

There are many themes that can be found in Art Deco Interior Design. Some of the most common themes include geometric motifs and shapes, which were often created by natural materials like wood, stone, or metal. Another popular theme is a reliance on nature and natural elements. Natural shapes like seashells and leaves were often used in ornamentation. A prime example of a design style heavily influenced by Art Deco is the Chrysler Building in New York City, designed by William Van Alen. The building’s exterior was designed for maximum publicity as well as beauty.

Common materials

Common materials of an Art Deco style are often found in the following places:

  • Furniture - wrought iron, chrome, glass and leather.
  • Lighting - brass, mirrors and colored bulbs.
  • Wallpaper - geometric patterns on plain backgrounds.
  • Flooring - wood or marble with contrasting borders.

Art Deco fabrics

The use of bold colors was one of the most distinctive features of Art Deco design. Reds, oranges, yellows and blues were popular choices for upholstery, draperies and wall coverings. Designers also used deep greens and browns to create a sense of warmth in their designs.

Changes in fashion during the 1920s also had an impact on Art Deco design, with men wearing dark suits with lighter ties and women wearing dresses with longer hemlines and high necklines.

Designers also used different materials in their work to create a distinctive look that would set Art Deco designs apart from others. They used glass extensively to allow natural light into interior spaces, along with aluminum and chrome which were considered more modern because they had only been introduced following World War I. They also added fabrics that included silk damask patterns on curtains or upholstery as well as heavily patterned carpets made with combinations of wool, cotton and jute fibers.

Use of sunbursts

Sunburst door handle

An Art Deco sunburst mirror is a great way to spruce up any home. A sunburst mirror has a circular mirror surrounded by an ornate frame of glass and metal. The urn-or sunburst form was popularized in the 1920s, and gained its name from the stylized rays which radiate outward from a central focal point.

If you have an Art Deco-style home, then a sunburst mirror will be perfect for your décor. The style of the mirror reflects the look of this architectural movement, with sculptural shapes and bold colors. Sunburst mirrors also work well in guest bedrooms, as they provide a fitting complement to other pieces in the room that are also styled in this fashion. 

Art Deco lighting

Another major component of Art Deco is lighting. Lighting is used to illuminate a space and can be done with both natural and artificial light; it can be a focal point or just an added detail. The key feature of Art Deco lighting is the use of geometric shapes, straight lines and bold colors. The most popular form of art deco lighting is the pendant light and chandelier. They are often made from brass, glass beads or metal rods that hang from the ceiling, giving a modern yet old school feel. Chandeliers and pendants in this style usually have heavy bases with many small lights that spread out - not too different from those you might see today!

Art Deco Colors

Art Deco color palette

In Art Deco design, colors are often selected to complement each other. This method is called 'chromatic harmony' and it is based on the idea that complementary colors create a sense of balance in an interior design. For example, red and green are complementary colors (they are opposite each other on the color wheel).

Art Deco designers often used a limited range of colors so they could be sure that all of their choices complemented one another. One popular Art Deco color scheme was red or golden yellow with black accents. You may also see dark browns combined with blues or greens. Pastel tones were also popular in this era.

The colors of Art Deco are diverse, with blue and bronze being the most popular. Blues were often made with cobalt, a pigment which at the time was a new discovery and highly desirable for its durability. Bronze is a combination of copper and tin that created a color that has come to represent Art Deco style. Many shades of green were also incorporated into the color scheme, particularly in furnishings. Multiple finishes on metal furniture, including chrome plating and gold leafing, were common in Art Deco-styled pieces. Art Deco can be seen as both masculine or feminine; it is not strictly gender-specific but is rather an aesthetic choice that can be used to reflect either sex’s preferences.

Art Deco Furniture and Accessories

art deco furniture

Many Art Deco pieces have a strong emphasis on geometric shapes, such as the table-shaped desk with a slanted top and the sleek metal chair. Furniture was often designed to be compact and streamlined in order to take up less space in smaller homes and offices.

Art Deco furniture was streamlined, so that it would not take away from the other aspects of the room's décor. The styles were then combined with a variety of materials that included leather and glass to create elegant designs for both homes and public areas.