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What Is Art Deco & How To Do It Right

By  Suzan Horne | 

What is Art Deco and How to do it Right


Art deco is the foremost decorative style of the 1920’s and 30’s. It is distinguished by precise and boldly outlined geometric shapes and strong colors. Art deco was a very creative but unfortunately short lived movement which left its mark not only on architecture but also fashion and furniture design.

Art deco is all about making a statement. It was very popular during the great depression because it provided a sense of escapism to those that desperately needed it. If you want to incorporate some elements of art deco design into your space or decorate your entire space in this style here is what you’re looking for:

During its time art deco was very futuristic, in keeping with this reputation, art deco was all about shine. Lacquered, polished wood and metal, and glossy paint combine for fluent and glamorous effect. To add to the reflective quality we suggest splashing glass and mirrored pieces like consoles, chests or tables throughout your space.

To create the right atmosphere you will need indicative lighting, think sconces and torcheres which provide a comfortable and ambient light. Typical to this style these pieces should be made with polished or shiny materials such as chrome or brass.

The signature element of art deco style is its emphasis on geometric shapes. This mean angular patterns, stepped design and bold curves. Graphic patterns and sleek textures also ruled the art deco era. If you are decorating in this style your rugs, carpets and upholstery should have geometric patterns and rhythmic motifs. Do not be afraid of animal patterns either as they are equally showy.

A black and white art deco palette is classic, sophisticated and timeless. Combined with the shine that was typical to this look a black and white palette simply amazes. That being said, some of you may be craving color. If you want to incorporate color into your art deco space, go bright. Golden yellow, green, royal blue, and regal purple will all evoke the energy that you’re looking for. Keep in mind however that art deco interiors tend towards minimalism so combine bright prices with a quieter background and limit them to one or two dominant choices.

Another aspect of the art deco style is symmetry which is derived from the earlier Victorian philosophies of decorating. This symmetrical approach extends to every aspect of the style including architecture, furniture design and placement of art or accessories. However, symmetry does not mean rigid lines and boring profiles, you will want to choose pieces that maintain balance and keep with a theme of repetition.

Art Deco was a style which sought to inspire all forms of arts and crafts and has influenced numerous design styles since it’s decline in the 1940’s and hey, maybe after reading this article it’ll even inspire your home.

Take a look at this Architectural Digest article from December 1993 about Barbra Streisand and her museum quality art deco Malibu home http://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/barbra-streisand-malibu-house-slideshow/all