Just Plain Gorgeous: Essential Tips for Glamorous Art Deco Style

Updated: June 15, 2024
Art Deco style emerged in 1920s post-WWI era and featured bold geometric shapes, sleek lines, and lavish materials. Iconic architecture, luxury ships, Hollywood films made this modern style popular worldwide. Characteristics include chevron patterns, exotic motifs, chrome accents, and handcrafted details. Balance sleek and curvy lines. Use symmetry. Choose quality vintage or replica pieces. Hire a designer to help find authentic Art Deco furnishings and accessories. Create visual interest with a black and white palette and eye-catching metallic accents.
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Art Deco is all about glamour, sleek lines, and a touch of luxury. This iconic style burst onto the interior design scene in the 1920s and has never really gone out of fashion. With its bold geometric shapes, lavish materials, and nods to far-off places, Art Deco adds a sense of drama and excitement to any space.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the history of Art Deco and walk through the essential elements that make up this aesthetic. We’ll also provide tips to help you bring some Gatsby-era glam into your own home. InteriorxDesign can guide you to create interiors with timeless Art Deco panache.

What is Art Deco Style?

Art Deco refers to a decorative style that emerged in the 1920s and flourished until the 1940s. It pulled inspiration from various avant-garde art movements like Cubism, Constructivism, and Futurism. This new style offered a fresh perspective after World War I shook up the art world.

Art Deco rejected the flowing, organic shapes of Art Nouveau that preceded it. Instead, it celebrated technological innovation and the machine age with bold geometric forms, sleek lines, and luxurious materials like chrome and glass. The imagery and motifs reflect the public’s fascination with travel, archaeology, mysticism, and Hollywood glamour in the Roaring Twenties.

While Art Deco started as an architectural movement in Europe, it soon spread to all areas of design including furniture, jewelry, fashion, and visual arts. This opulent aesthetic left its mark through magnificent skyscrapers, swanky cruise ships, and lavish movie palaces around the world.

History of Art Deco Style

The Art Deco movement emerged out of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, a decorative arts exhibition held in Paris. This world fair showcased the exciting new styles of the period that broke away from traditional forms.

The term “Art Deco” comes from the name of the exposition. While “Arts Décoratifs” refers to the decorative arts in French, the phrase shortened to Art Deco in English. This name ended up sticking as the label for the groundbreaking modern aesthetic.

Art Deco reached the height of popularity in the 1920s and 30s. Sleek skyscrapers changed city skylines, with iconic examples like the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building in New York. Luxury cruise ships like the Normandie brought Art Deco motifs and materials to their lavish interiors. Hollywood films broadcasted the glamorous style far and wide.

After World War II, Art Deco fell out of fashion as Mid-Century Modern and other sleek, minimalist styles took center stage. However, Art Deco experienced a resurgence starting in the 1960s, and it continues to inspire interior designers today. Its timeless elegance and hints of exoticism give it an enduring, romantic appeal.

Characteristics and Key Elements

Some of the most recognizable traits of Art Deco interiors include:

  • Geometric shapes – Sharp zigzags, chevrons, sunbursts
  • Sleek lines and angles
  • Luxurious materials – Chrome, glass, mirrored surfaces, glossy lacquer
  • Bold contrasts – Black and white, gold and silver
  • Intricate linear patterns – Chevron, zigzag and geometric motifs
  • Exotic cultural influences – Egypt, Mayan, African
  • Nautical elements – Shiny surfaces, porthole windows, ocean liner-inspired forms
  • Fusion of crafts – Beautiful wood marquetry, handmade glasswork, artisan furniture
  • Murals and motifs inspired by machines, animals, dancers, stars, and flowers
  • Lavish ornamentation – Opulent yet sleek details on furniture, light fixtures, doors
  • Grand architectural details – Vaulted entryways, sweeping staircases, tall columns

These eye-catching elements came together to create a glamorous, refined, and modern aesthetic unlike any before. While Art Deco celebrates ornamentation, it does so with a controlled elegance. Every detail is carefully considered and exquisitely crafted.

How to Incorporate Art Deco Style

There are many routes to bringing Art Deco style into your home. You can go for an authentic Art Deco interior with vintage furnishings and historically accurate details. Or, take inspiration from this iconic era and give it a contemporary twist. Here are some tips for working Art Deco glam into your space:

Use geometric patterns:
From furniture to rugs to wallpaper, bold geometric prints epitomize Art Deco. Chevrons, zigzags, starbursts, and concentric circles all add movement and drama. Try black and white patterns for contrast.

Introduce sleek lines:
Sculptural furniture with sleek silhouettes and clean lines will give your space an Art Deco feel. Opt for curvilinear chairs, slender table legs, and streamlined cabinets. Avoid frilly detailing.

Add metallic accents:
Shiny chrome and gold scream Art Deco. Incorporate metal through lamps, frames, vases, silver serving pieces, and the hardware on doors, furniture, and light fixtures. Mirrors also bounce light around.

Display exotic objects:
Art Deco has global influences from Africa, ancient Egypt, Mayan culture, and more. Display art, sculptures, vases, and textiles from these regions. Look for black lacquer furnishings and accessories.

Choose luxurious materials:
From smooth leather to glossy marble, Art Deco celebrates lavish details. Use rich woods like mahogany and ebony. Glass, mirrored surfaces, and slick lacquer add sheen. Quality craftsmanship is key.

Include nautical elements:
For coastal flair, incorporate porthole mirrors, ships wheels, and rope motifs. Blue and white palette can mimic ocean hues. Add touches of navy blue and chrome.

Consider an accent wall:
Make a bold statement by painting one wall black or a vivid color. You can also cover a wall in an eye-catching wallpaper pattern. Geometric designs, floral prints or exotic scenes work well.

Incorporate architectural details:
Grand entryways with columns and archways create drama. Custom cabinetry with inlaid details adds ornamentation. Mouldings, vaulted ceilings and gallery walls lend an elegant statement.

Add Art Deco lighting:
Sconces, pendants and standing lamps with curved, streamlined silhouettes feel authentic. Go for striking shapes, frosted glass, or bronze and gold finishes. Make sure lighting is adequate.

Use vintage accessories:
Search antique stores and flea markets for Art Deco furnishings, travel posters, sculptures or accessories. Vintage pieces like cigarette boxes, perfume bottles, jewelry and portable vanities add authentic flair.

Best Practices for Art Deco Style

When decorating with Art Deco in mind, keep these best practices in mind for a cohesive look:

  • Stick to a sleek color palette like black, white, metallics, and ocean blue hues. Use bold colors like ruby red as accents.
  • Balance curved lines with strong right angles and geometric shapes. Avoid overdoing frilly curves or feminine details.
  • Combine different textures like smooth leather, glossy lacquer finishes, glass and marble for visual interest.
  • Quality over quantity. Choose a few dramatic antique or replica statement pieces rather than cluttering the space.
  • Maintain symmetry in furniture placement and wall décor. Art Deco loves clean lines and bold symmetry.
  • Incorporate lighting at multiple levels for ambiance. Use both stylish overhead fixtures and sleek lamps.
  • Consider hiring a professional interior designer who specializes in Art Deco. They can help find authentic pieces.
  • Invest in high-quality furnishings and materials that stand the test of time. Don’t skimp on pieces.
  • Reflect your personal interests and hobbies through the decorative motifs and artwork you choose.
  • Repurpose antiques like dressers as bars or console tables. Give vintage new life.
  • Display collections like seashells, globes, or statues on shelves rather than scattering.
  • Keep wall decor evenly spaced. Use gallery walls or symmetrical arrangement of frames.

Conclusion

With its timeless elegance, bold contrasts, and exotic motifs, Art Deco style makes a dramatic statement in any interior. To recreate the glamour of this iconic era, focus on sleek silhouettes, striking geometric patterns, and luxurious materials ranging from glossy wood to glass and chrome. Curved lines, symmetrical arrangements, and quality antique or vintage-style furnishings will give an authentic vibe.

Art Deco celebrates the fine craftsmanship and sophistication of a bygone era. With these tips, you can infuse a touch of Gatsby into your own decor for a space that dazzles and delights. InteriorxDesign has the expertise to bring this timeless, iconic style to life in your home.

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Mr. BS Parasher, Founder @ Interior x Design & UrbanDAC, For more than 20 years in the industry, He is the Top Interior Designer in Gurgaon & India's Premier Home Theater and Home Entertainment Designer, A Hi-end AV Expert with a deep passion, vision and knowledge about Interior Design.

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