Retro-Up Your Space with Art Deco Furniture

By Charisse Miller

No other style in architecture and decorative arts can celebrate city life in a luxurious way only Art Deco can pull off. When you hear the words ‘Art Deco’ or ‘Art Deco furniture,’ think of The Great Gatsby movie set: geometric shapes, mirror accents, sparkling gold mirrors, velvet finishes and bold patterns. It’s all about high-quality craftsmanship.

The modern version of Art Deco design is a sought-after design among homeowners and designers. If you want to make your space look more luxurious, consider adding Art Deco furniture pieces like an Art Deco chair or sofa!

If you’re new to this design, here’s everything you need to know.

The History of Art Deco

This architectural style originated in France during the early 1920s. The French manufacturers were threatened by the German manufacturer’s simpler and clean styles. To stay competitive, they created Style Moderne, popularly known as “Art Deco,” which is from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925. This was the first time the Art Deco style was made public and attracted the attention of many designers.

Manufacturers started to incorporate more intricate carvings, gold and silver metals and elaborate stitching on their work — elements that we see in modern Art Deco furniture.

What is Considered Art Deco Furniture?

During the early 1900s, furniture was not for the average customer; it was for people from high society. In the 1920s, furniture was considered luxury goods. Major department stores in Paris, France overhauled their decorating departments. They made the huge shift from Art Nouveau design to Art Deco, which enabled them to provide customers with a variety of luxury products from coffee tables and ashtrays to large Art Deco décor.

This decision promoted the rise of the Art Deco movement.

The movement led to high-end modern Art Deco furniture that was meticulously crafted into more refined pieces. The furniture is always polished, too. Most designers and furniture makers used Japanese lacquer to give the piece a shinier finish.

Most Art Deco furniture pieces also use rich leather. Art Deco club chairs, armchairs and sofas made beautiful additions to any office, living room or den. Club chairs are often designed with rolled arms, tight backs and tapered legs made of premium leather.

What Are the Key Features of Art Deco?

Contemporary room interior with furniture and carpet on floor
How can you add a touch of Art Deco to your space? (Photo by Andrea Davis via Pexels)

Art Deco designs incorporate geometric shapes that resemble futuristic forms. As a result, Art Deco furniture is meticulously designed pieces that use exotic lacquer and materials. The craftsmanship involved with this style uses exotic woods for inlays (e.g. rosewood, zebrawood or Macassar ebony).

These carefully-crafted pieces also add posh and visual performance to any room. Based on your designer’s vision, additional embellishments, such as inlays of mother of pearl or ivory, are installed on dining tables, dressing tables, sideboards and side tables. In some cases, they might recommend the addition of shagreen like zebra, shark or snake skin on seating, furniture and other household items.

When it comes to seating (aka Art Deco couch or Art Deco sofa), the standard elements are yellow zinc or chrome-plated stainless steel, animal hide, snakeskin upholstery, geometric curves or lacquered wood.

Many accent pieces are also designed ala Art Deco. These radios, clocks and common household items share a variety of main characteristics: smooth lines, semi-circles and muted color pallets that consist of black, white, yellow, orange, green and red tints.

How Can You Add Art Deco Furniture to Your Home?

The best Art Deco pieces can double as stars in any room. If you want some pizzazz in your home, this is the way to up your home’s aesthetics.

However, not every item in the room has to be Art Deco. Choose statement pieces that can be complemented by everything else in the room. Here’s how you can add Art Deco furniture to your home.

Glam It Up with Lighting

Art Deco is defined by its glamorous nature. Glam it up by completing the look with some geometric lighting. This detail can set off your natural motifs and plush velvet furniture, adding visual interest and depth to any room. Look for lighting pieces that have different ornamentation and geometrical shapes.

Choose Sleek Materials

Though Art Deco furniture was often made with exotic wood, the design evolved to embrace the use of mass-produced materials like glass and wrought iron. If you want to incorporate the Art Deco look into your home, shop for sleek pieces, particularly made from metal. Balance the look by adding cozy finishes like a textured throw blanket or a patterned rug.

Make a Statement with a Mirror

Add glamor to your space by installing an Art Deco-designed mirror to your room. Its shiny, sharp and sleek edges add drama in any space, which also creates a focal point in your room. Play up the luxurious factor by choosing an animal print accent.

Choose Pieces Made from Rich Woods

In the 1920s, Art Deco furniture pieces were made from rich and exotic wood like ash, maple, walnut or ebony, which gives the furniture a gorgeous, deeper and more elegant color. It also offers unmatched durability.

Go Crazy with Creative Storage

With an Art Deco space, it’s important to be intentional with the storage pieces you add. Also, get creative! This design style is characterized by geometric shapes and saturated tones with shiny metal accents. Incorporate storage pieces like desks or dressers in any of the rooms. To showcase the polished look of your storage pieces, install bold artwork as a piece de resistance.

When it comes to the desk, it’s OK to get a bigger one. Classic Art Deco incorporates large desks, so shop for a desk that can double as a statement piece in your room. Complete the look with an abstract stone sculpture or modern art.

 

The Bottom Line

Art Deco design is a reemerging trend in contemporary culture. Today, you can see it everywhere — interior décor, architecture and even common household items. Whether you’re looking for a way to make your home look luxurious or a budget-friendly version, Art Deco is one of the best ways to bring sophistication, glamour and retro to your house.

Scroll to Top