Do you know what’s more? More. You know what’s bold? Bold. You know what’s classic? Art deco design. There’s something that swaggers about this early 20th-century style. Think the Great Gatsby. Think the Chrysler Building. Think of that dramatic Gotham-like animated quality.
It’s that era of design that had its original heyday in the 1920s, 30s, and a bit of the 40s. It’s bold but uncluttered shapes. Curves and angles. Richly contrasting colors and patterns. Opulent textures. Dark woods. And metallic flourishes. It’s as if you’re letting your home’s interior play dress-up in early 20th-century Hollywood. Pretentiously unpretentious. And simply divine.
We’ve ogled at the glamour of this style a bit before but today we want to dig deeper, look at the details, and celebrate art deco design as the lasting source of inspiration it has proven to be. With a particular focus on upholstery fabric — naturally.
The Art Deco Design Basics You Need For Your Home’s New Style
While there are many layers of art deco design’s mystique, today we’d like to direct your attention to its deliciousness. Because it is to design what the first bite of the most luxurious food you can think of is to eating. It’s clear the chef poured love into it and with each bite you kind of need some private time. Every bite is to be savored.
We’ll get back to that soon enough. First, let’s review some core elements of art deco design at their most basic:
- Colors – rich and bold
- Textures – luxurious and opulent like velvet, leather, and silk
- Wood furnishings – dark and warm
- Details – mirrors and metallics like silver, brass, and chrome
- Patterns – geometric, bold curves, and even animal prints
Let’s focus on that last one: patterns. And let’s circle back to that moment of savoring a delicious bite of your favorite food. When you look at art deco design, it’s clearly about savoring every detail and line. Curves are pronounced and defined. Same for geometric patterns, thick and contrasting. Where pale colors are used, they’re paired with rich wood tones and details that sparkle and shine.
To put it another way, if you were having your portrait drawn art deco style it wouldn’t be a fine pencil sketch. It would be in Sharpie. Bold and defined. Celebrating curves, angles, and colors rather than fine lines and details. That’s the essence of art deco.
Set The Stage For Your Art Deco Dream With The Fabrics You Choose
There’s more than one way to add a design style into your space. But given art deco’s flair for flair, today we’ll start with furniture. Interestingly, as bold as this style is overall, furniture upholstery isn’t overly flamboyant. It is, however, decidedly opulent and even self-assured. (Yes, upholstery can be self-assured.)
The colors are rich. Not heavy, but rich. Blues, yellows, pinks, greens. And neutrals like taupe, cream, grey, and others. Actually, it’s less about the color family itself and more about the tone or hue. Saturated but still soft and warm. Like we said, confident. And contrasting colors — especially black and white — that offer grounding and a consistent visual reset.
The furniture itself is comfortable but simple with clean crisp lines. Again, art deco revels in the lines, angles, and curves of things. And fabrics should have luxurious and alluring textures. As a result of all of the above, most of the foundational pieces of your art deco upholstery will stay solid colors. (Don’t worry, flair comes later.)
For instance, you can dress a sofa in silver grey, dark emerald, or maybe a rich burgundy red velvet. Or elegant neutrals like a fluted headboard (adding more lines) in pale rose velvet, armchairs in pearl white recycled leather, or a boldly neutral loveseat in basic black Italian leather.
And we promised patterns. Bring those geometric, abstract, and chevron art deco vibes in accents and details. Go high contrast like throw pillows in a black and taupe pattern or navy and cream diamonds. And animal prints — with their contrast and curves — like a black and white noir pattern, fit perfectly as art deco upholstery accents.
Bring in more curves with a headboard upholstered in an arc patterned damask in jade. Add a decadent design element with dining room chairs in a hybrid geometric and floral pattern. Give a neutral sofa an art deco lift with throw pillows in a chevron patterned taupe — or go big and make it an accent chair. And try drapes in a dynamic blue and white ogee pattern.
Art deco is positively symphonic in the way all the elements work together. So keeping your upholstery in the vein of art deco’s rich colors, opulent textures, and geometric patterns without overwhelming the space is what you’re after.
Now For Adding The Details And Glam That Let Your Gatsby Look Begin
On to the rest of the room. Here again, you have options. Let’s look at the spectrum of additional furniture and features you can draw from.
Add shimmer and shine. Gold and silver tones — including brass and chrome — are right at home throughout your home. As are metallics like a brass starburst wall art piece. Or a silver or gold chandelier in the dining you. Consider going with glass and metal side tables and coffee tables. It’s all about a bit of elegant glam.
Be reflective. Literally. Mirrors are typical features in art deco spaces. Look for an artistically designed mirror, often faceted and in unique shapes. The key is to stick with simple angles and curves and either no frame or a silver or gold-toned frame. Add them in an entryway, living room, or other spaces you’d like to visually elevate and expand.
Welcome with wood. Use wood floors with dark yet warm tones. And wood furniture provides yet another opportunity to add artistic flair with inlaid patterns of angles or curves, even inlaid rendering of clean-lined animals, people, or other objects. And — of course — quintessential art deco flooring loves black and white contrasting patterns.
Same with art. Abstract geometric shapes fit as do artworks featuring that dramatic Gotham-like animated quality. Greenery and decorative accessories are completely at home here, too. Just keep in mind that clutter is the enemy of elegance, so keep it simple.
Time To Give Your Home A Gotham Gift And An Art Deco Design Lift
Art deco design pulls together a plethora of powerful elements. But the star of the show is the celebration of shapes, angles, curves, colors, and textures and how they all come together to create an unforgettable mystique. An almost larger-than-life look.
Rather than becoming dated over time, nearly a hundred years since its emergence art deco has proven to be as timeless and enchanting as ever. It offers a kind of unparalleled example of what design does at its best — it transports you and makes you feel right at home.
When you’re ready to go full-on Gotham or to release your inner Gatsby, we’re here to help. The upholstery you choose can make all the difference in creating an art deco masterpiece worth living in. We say life is short. Live large.