Designing the Perfect Art Deco Dining Room

Designing an Art Deco dining room isn't difficult, but to get the elements right you need to have an understanding of Art Deco design as well as the perception of the dining room during the Art Deco period.


The Role of the Dining Room

Dining rooms were still seen as a very formal area of the home during the 1930s. Consequently, the designer must strike a balance between the luxurious and the ostentatious to provide the right tone. Too much decoration would distract from the dining experience, and would be seen as gaudy by people in the time period.


Focal Points

The focal point in an Art Deco dining room is the sideboard and the space above it. A sideboard is a low set of cabinets meant to store plates, cloths, and other dining room necessities. Most people don't use sideboards these days now that kitchens have more cabinets. Most people eat in front of the television rather than in formal dining areas, but if you do have a formal dining space a sideboard would be a good first purchase.

When placing a sideboard, try to place it in the center along the long wall of the room. Art Deco design values symmetry and your sideboard will define the two halves of the room. Above the sideboard is a place to put a single bold piece of art from the period. You can also choose a textile design. If you choose to install wall sconces, use lamps or hang mirrors along this wall to keep the design symmetrical.


Dining Tables and Chairs

Most dining room tables are rather plain compared to the sideboard due to their constant use. Few were inlaid and if one was, it was only in the center. Chairs could be upholstered on just the seat or cover the entire back. The important thing is to make sure the colors of the chairs match the colors of the table, and that there are enough chairs to maintain the symmetry of the room.



Dining room rugs, window treatments, and tapestries were used, but they were used with care. As mentioned, a bold piece of textile serves as a great focal point, but if you use one there then other textiles such as your chair upholstery or your window treatments must be more subdued. As long as there is only one bold textile you'll keep the room from being too ostentatious.


Cocktail tables

The one new piece of dining room furniture that emerged during the Art Deco period was the cocktail table. Depending on the taste of the owner, these could be found in living rooms, dens, or even in formal dining rooms. Many cocktail tables from the period come in very unusual shapes. As there were no previous designs on this type of table, artists were able to let their imaginations run free in their creations.



While there was some experimentation in using Art Deco geometry in smallwares like plates and teapots, most designers quickly gave up these ideas because they were difficult to use. Your fine china will suffice for formal dining. Stainless steel flatware was first developed in this period and there are designs from the period that used Art Deco geometry on the stems.

With these design tips, you'll be well on your way in selecting the proper pieces for your Art Deco dining room.