Decorating ideas for Art Deco interiors

How to create the Art Deco look in your family home in five simple steps


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The Art Deco movement that began in the 1920s and extended through the 1930s and 1940s began as an art movement in Europe then the USA and went on to permeate architecture, fashion and interior design. Seen as a way to exhibit new wealth and sophistication it’s understandably a look many want to create in their homes today. Here’s how to evoke the style and sophistication in your own home.


The Art Deco era is perhaps most easily recognised for its use of geometric shapes and patterns. Zigzags, circles, arches and chevron patterns adorned everything from curtains, carpet and furniture to walls, mirrors and ceilings.

An excellent way of introducing the patterns that are so emblematic of that time, without having to replace your ceiling or add panels to your walls, is through floor rugs. Merino wool can be treated in a variety of ways to achieve a broad range of textures, colours and prints, making it perfect for truly Art Deco style textiles such as rugs, curtains or cushions.


The Art Deco era was a time of decadence and excess and so interiors were heavily layered with different textiles and furnishings to reflect the owners that lived in them. You can achieve this look today without appearing gaudy. Think plush sofas, heavy curtains, decorative rugs and plenty of cushions and throws to add drama and texture. Merino wool upholstery is an easy, effective and long lasting way to achieve this look.


It wasn’t just patterns on soft furnishings that included the now famous zig zags and geometric curves. Furniture itself was either patterned or curved with circles and squares or entirely cut into shape. To incorporate the look consider a curved bench top rather than the now common rectangle, or perhaps a reading chair with a dramatic, geometrically shaped arm.


The increase in international travel and therefore influences from other cultures led to the use of many new materials and bold colours. While rich and bold colours were often used during this time, so too were neutrals to great effect when combined with metallic, reflective materials such as mirrors, paints artworks or wallpaper.


The best way to achieve a look that’s true to its era is to source items that were actually around at that time. Vintage and antique stores can be wonderful treasure troves for original Art Deco items such as chandeliers, chairs, buffets, mirrors and artworks that will absolutely make a room.


Illustration: Barry Allen Patenaude


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