Art Deco Room Design 101

What goes into Art Deco room design? One of the core components is fine art. The Art Deco period was a time of wild artistic innovation on many fronts. In general, art moved away from naturalistic themes to more abstract figures, geometric shapes, and pieces that relied more on imagination, rather than trying to preserve nature in artistic mediums. These new pieces could be downright shocking compared to previous eras. In home design, the more eye catching, the better.

When you walk into an Art Deco room, there is little that feels natural about it. Even the natural materials which are used, like exotic woods, are transformed into inlays and patterns that no natural designer could reproduce. The use of unusual materials is also a highlight of the Art Deco period. While we still use glass and wood for interior decorating, more unusual materials like zebra or shark skin, lacquered wood, steel, and chrome were highly prized during this time. They were seen as novelties and as a new expression of modern society's power over nature. Lacquer and chrome were especially popular because they could catch the light of modern electric lighting and neon lighting, the latter of which was invented and popularized during this time..

Mixing shapes, lines, and colors for a create a stunning look

Along the same vein, the use of strong geometric shapes and streamlining to emphasize man-made design were also a strong theme in Art Deco room design. This also extended to colors. You don't usually see strong black or white colors or the color of refined metals in nature. These were very popular in the Art Deco era. Charcoal grey and metallic blue were also popular interior colors.

Art Deco is also known for its excesses. A high amount of ornamentation was quite popular, usually in the use of chrome or overlapping geometric designs. When the Great Depression hit and air travel became possible, a sub-school of Art Deco called Streamline Moderne arose that toned down the ornamentation and turned to more aerodynamic shapes. The Bauhaus School, a German school of art and design that became prominent around the same time as Art Deco, took Art Deco's strong geometrical designs and tossed out much of the chrome and filigree to make very modern-looking structures. Much of later Modernist design around the world was heavily influenced by Bauhaus after many of the artists fled Nazi Germany, while Art Deco's exaltation of luxury and ornamentation died away due to the Great Depression and WWII.

The best way to start approaching an Art Deco room is by looking through antiques. Browse through our selection of Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern pieces today and see what ideas spark for you.