Art Deco Style: An In-Depth Guide

Written by Laura W

Exuberant Luxury

The interior design style of Art Deco has been a timeless style for a century now, originating with an appreciation for geometric shapes, lines, color, sumptuous materials, and an unabashed sense of fun. Although most people don’t go full-on Art Deco in their homes today, you can express this maximalist aesthetic in small doses for a fresh, modern take.

Where Did Art Deco Decor Originate?

Art Deco gained popularity in France after a Parisian exhibition titled Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in 1925. The style took off in the US during the “Roaring Twenties,” aka the “Jazz Age” or the “Golden Age” — a period of giddy prosperity amid liberating technology like automobiles and in-home radios. It fell out of favor around World War II, resurged in the 1960s, the 1970s (coinciding with the 1974 movie The Great Gatsby), and again in the 1980s (when the TV series Miami Vice flaunted the Art Deco vibe). 

Who Does Art Deco Decor Appeal To?

Those who appreciate the finer things, geometric shapes, symmetry, rich color palettes, and an eclectic look will likely enjoy showcasing Art Deco elements in their home. This style overlaps somewhat with the Glam Decor Style.

art deco dresser

Capturing the Art Deco Spirit

Even though it’s rare to see pure reprisals of the Art Deco era today, its appeal is enduring and you can infuse the movement’s principles into any space. Incorporate some of these iconic elements to create the romance of the Art Deco throughout your home.   

  • Symmetrical forms and repeated patterns
  • Geometric shapes, especially triangles, trapezoids, chevrons, sunbursts, and Greek key designs
  • High-end upholstery fabrics like velvet and leather 
  • Diamond, biscuit, channel, button, and blind tufting
  • Uniquely shaped furniture, including curved, fluted, and scalloped edges
  • Metallics such as brass, gilt, and chrome
  • Lacquered surfaces on tables, chairs, doors, even walls
  • Ornamental light fixtures, such as chandeliers, sconces, or floor lamps
  • Bold, chromatic artwork, wallpaper, or murals
  • Palettes of rich jewel tones, sometimes contrasted with neutrals or soft pastels
  • Daring uses of black — or black and white, as in checkered flooring
  • Marble and granite countertops and floors
  • Faux fur rugs and throws
  • Lamp shades in pleated or floral designs
  • Streamlined house plants like royal palms or fiddle-leaf fig trees

Art Deco Style, Room by Room

Bold or subtle? Light or dark? Color palettes and distinctive patterns will shape the overall look you’re going for. Let’s see how Art Deco can play out in a few essential rooms.

Art deco living room
Art deco living room white and beige

In Your Living Room

Grandiose shines here in the space for hosting and entertaining. Art Deco is known for its rich hues, but soft pastels can rule the room depending on your tastes. A high-end upholstered sofa with channeled tufting —uniquely enhancing any piece — is classic Art Deco. In both photo examples here, brass accents repeat to help bring cohesion to each room. High ceilings and long drapes accentuate the vertical space; architecturally, skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building were prominent in the Art Deco Age. At least one piece in the room can be a conspicuous conversation starter, like the Siamese cat lamp above. 

art deco kitchen island

In Your Kitchen

Think “showy” for the kitchen and let that ideal guide you. Accentuate a stove hood with metal or gold. Creative cabinet insets allow glassware to become part of the shimmery scene, especially when lighting comes into play. Magnify the shine with black-lacquered bar stools and brass or gold hardware finishes. A neutral palette balances the dazzle in our example. Repeated lines or chevron-patterned hardwoods are another Art Deco touch in the heart of the home. 

art deco green bedroom
art deco light bedroom

In Your Bedroom

A tufted velvet headboard in a saturated shade and neutral bedding sets the Art Deco tone in your nocturnal oasis. Slip out of bed onto a faux fur rug. Art in gilded frames or ornamented wallpaper spice up the walls, while metallic chandeliers, sconces, and floor lamps light up the space with glam. Note the simple take on the classic Art Deco sunburst in the first bedroom. Furniture in the bedroom can be a solid lacquered chest of drawers in a deep, bold color — with gold trim and hardware. Nightstands? Sleek and modern. Abstract artwork softens geometric lines. 

moody bathroom

In Your Bathroom

Going over-the-top Art Deco can be fun in a bathroom, where a smaller space intensifies the ambience. Start with deep color on the walls or embellished wallpaper. In this example, the backlit mirror helps reflect the sparkling gold-tiled wall. A funky metallic chandelier could be another lighting option. Go modern with a wood vanity and streamlined sink, or more classic Art Deco with a marble sink and vanity. Alternatively, you may want to go 180 degrees from this photo, embracing light and bright with cream or pastel walls, glazed subway tiles (stacked rather than staggered for an updated feel), basketweave floor tile, and a pop of bright, geometric wallpaper.  

Go Get the Look

In its heyday, Art Deco was considered futuristic thanks to its streamlined shapes. Now, we tend to view the style as retro, with all the charm and romance that nostalgia brings. Whether you pursue the style fully or with a lighter touch, we encourage you to go forth and create an Art Deco aesthetic that’s all you.

Last Updated January 22, 2024