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Wondering how to add a dose of glamour to your living space? Art Deco interior design just might be the answer. Opulent, luxurious, and inspiring, this style continues to inspire nearly a century after its heyday. Marked by bold colors, geometric patterns, and statement accessories, Art Deco provides plenty of opportunities to enliven a 21st century home.
We spoke with Theresa Seabaugh, an award-winning interior designer based in Brooklyn, New York, to discover how Art Deco is trending today. As someone who has designed beautiful interiors for over eight years, Seabaugh knows a thing or two about pulling this trend off in the modern home. Read on for an overview of the current Art Deco trend and tips to pull it off in your space.
Trend overview: Art Deco through the decades
Art Deco, short for Arts Décoratifs, first gained popularity in the 1920s and ’30s. The name comes from the Parisian Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, where designers first exhibited the style in 1925. Art Deco remained at the height of popularity throughout the 1940s, celebrating modern ideas of progress and technology, as well as glamour, luxury, and sleek style.
Art Deco takes cues from a wide variety of design influences. You’ll find the geometric features of Cubism, references to the new technology of the era, the machine aesthetic of Constructivism, and a rich selection of cultural elements from the world over, including Mesopotamian, African, and Egyptian art. Art Deco embraces luxurious fabrics like velvet, gold and silver finishes, and rich gemstone colors such as emerald, sapphire, and ruby.
Given that we’re entering this century’s twenties, it seems all the more appropriate for Art Deco design to make a comeback. Seabaugh says she sees Art Deco influences everywhere in the market these days, particularly organic, curvilinear pieces, like curvy sofas, club chairs, and upholstered chairs.
“It makes you feel cozy like these shapes are enveloping you in their warmth. It speaks to what’s going on in the world today. We all want to be comforted now,” Seabaugh notes.
The key to making this 90-year-old trend work in a modern home is by focusing on a few design touches without compromising comfort or going overboard into period piece territory.
Get the look: Here’s how to pull off Art Deco Interior Design
Art Deco’s opulent gold and silver finishes, fabulous fabrics, and bold furniture designs can elevate your interior to new heights. The following tips will help you add some Art Deco flair to your home (without making it feel like a museum).
1. Mix old and new decor pieces
One of the best ways to incorporate Art Deco is by mixing antiques with new pieces. Seabaugh says that having a mix “makes for a more interesting home and stops it from looking too kitschy. It’s important to realize that it’s cool to have some vintage pieces, but you don’t necessarily want all vintage pieces.”
2. Focus on geometric patterns
Art Deco is all about symmetrical geometric patterns. Think sunbursts, chevrons, zigzags, and overlapping triangles. Here are a few easy ways to incorporate Art Deco patterns in your space:
Seabaugh suggests adding “a repeating pattern carpet of square or two-toned colors, maybe an off-white and a charcoal.” Choose a pattern that’s not too busy but still gets the point across and adds texture to your room. The Rug Company has a great variety of rugs with abstract, Art Deco designs.
Seabaugh notes that she’s seeing Art Deco influence in the tile world, especially with hand-cut tiles. Even though tiling is a big commitment compared to decor, it’s a striking way to add interest to bathrooms and kitchens.
Jazz up your space by adding some Art Deco wallpaper to a powder room, laundry room, or home office. Select a statement pattern for an accent wall or a more subdued geometric pattern to cover an entire room.
3. Incorporate jewel tones
While black, white, silver, and gold might be the first colors that come to mind when you think of Art Deco, the style also includes bold jewel-toned hues. These colors (think bright ruby, emerald green, sapphire, and amethyst) are ideal for soft furnishings like pillows, ottomans, and armchairs.
For a more subtle look, edge these striking colors with black. For example, Seabaugh suggests offsetting brightly-colored tiles with a black border in your bathroom. Check out @cheapoldhouses on Instagram for some vintage bathroom tile inspiration.
4. Go for sleek lighting fixtures
An easy way to add Art Deco flair to your space is through lighting. Look for fixtures with geometrical and round shapes, minimal detailing, and etched glass shades at local antique shops and online retailers reproducing the antique look. Etsy has a large assortment of unique finds, like this affordable green and gold lamp and this hand-blown opal glass fixture. This Coco Delux Wall Lamp by Contardi, with its shiny chrome finish and geometric shape, is another authentic Art Deco interpretation.
5. Embrace different textures and metals
Art Deco design is known for its sleek and reflective materials. Mix gold, silver, stainless steel, and chrome finishes to achieve a Gatsby-worthy interior.
“If you’re preparing your house to sell and want something more updated, you can switch out your kitchen cabinet knobs and make them in a different metal finish for an Art Deco feel,” Seabaugh advises. “Maybe you have brass cabinet knobs with a stainless steel refrigerator.”
6. Curate a room with statement artwork
The roaring twenties was all about living large and enjoying the finer things in life. The art market boomed, with people often buying over-the-top sculptures and oil paintings. Today, you can curate your interior with Art Deco-inspired mirrors, paintings, and sculptures to get this sophisticated look. Framed vintage posters are another easy way to throw back to ’20s style.
7. Don’t be afraid to reupholster
Fantasizing about fitting your old sofa or chair with Deco-inspired fabrics? While reupholstering furniture can be expensive, it’s also a cool way to breathe new life into an heirloom or item that has sentimental value. If you don’t own any vintage furniture, you can purchase original Art Deco chairs at antique stores or on websites like Chairish and have them recovered. It costs $50 to $2,000, or $800 on average, to reupholster a chair. Go wild with zebra and tiger prints, or play it safe with velvet and leather materials.
8. Incorporate thoughtful Deco details
A little goes a long way when it comes to Art Deco. With that in mind, it’s best to limit Art Deco home decor to a few items per room.
“The easiest way to do it is through your accessory pieces,” shares Seabaugh.
“That can be anything from mirrors or a couple of round pillows, ones that maybe your grandmother had on her sofa, or with a side chair.”
She recommends browsing the website Modway to find unique, inexpensive Art Deco pieces for your home.
Art Deco interior design leaves a lasting impression
There’s a reason that Art Deco interior design is alive and well 100 years after the style first arrived on the scene. The repetitive designs, so often seen in nature, say ‘home’ to us and reassure the senses. When it’s time to sell, touches of this elegant style can make potential buyers swoon.
If you’re still struggling to implement the trend in your home, partner with an interior designer or real estate agent to bring an objective eye to the process.
Header Image Source: (Kaysh Shinn / Theresa Seabaugh Interiors)