Creating an Art Deco interior

Posted on | September 2, 2011 | 10 Comments

When you’re thinking about decorating in the Art Deco style, the best thing I can recommend is to look at the best of the original ideas that ultimately inspired the many “knock off” ideas you will see when doing an internet search on the subject.  I am illustrating some beautiful original (albeit idealized) interiors to study, all of them French and photographed at the pivotal 1925 Paris exposition. In these you will see so many of the details that inspired much of the architecture, interior and furniture design that we have come to recognize decades later as being “Art Deco”.  Hopefully these photographs will help you to find some of the key ingredients you can use to “spin off” of in creating your fantasy Jazz Age interior.

Clean lines, reflective surfaces, and some bold design elements like the rug here are often found in these original Art Deco-styled settings.  Sconce lighting, wall mirrors and elegant sculptural figures are also frequent elements.

Again, these rooms were meant to inspire and to present the latest ideas when it came to Modern interior design, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have a grand entry way like this one… But there is some good inspiration here.  The mirrored wall, the console table against it, and that coved and “stepped” ceiling might all be incorporated in an Art Deco room design.  Note Edgar Brandt’s iron masterpiece L’Oasis folding screen there on the right… so why not incorporate an ornamental folding screen in your room also?

You almost expect Claudette Colbert to walk into this room at any moment.  Light and graceful furniture, rich wall treatments and lots of filtered light in this room.  Maybe you’re noticing too that not all Art Deco rooms were devoid of pattern or ornament. That is where designers in the Art Deco style in many applications parted company with some of those in the Modern movement who believed that “Ornament is crime”, (it’s not, by the way).

Oh, and speaking of ornament,

Bam! How about this grand “stair hall” designed by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann.  Fluted walls, delicate iron railings and a playing of dark and light contrasts, (even on the piano keys).  And that amazing ceiling treatment!  Here’s a detail of the wall treatment hard to see in that last photo:

This wall treatment incidentally was the inspiration for our “Cyclos” wallpaper.  Notice too the sandblasted pattern above the window(?)

So there are just a few sources for Art Deco inspiration.  I will be posting more, along with some contemporary takes on the style, so please stay tuned.

If you have any great Art Deco rooms you’ve seen please send a snap of them along to and we’ll share them.


10 Responses to “Creating an Art Deco interior”

  1. Laota
    September 4th, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

    I shared this on Facebook!

  2. Amina Laverick
    October 4th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

    My first time here. Awesome blog and super post. Well done.

  3. steve
    October 4th, 2011 @ 6:53 pm


  4. Jeanette Puglia
    November 11th, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

    I am renovating a house built in 1926. The blog is very helpful.

  5. Jeanette Puglia
    November 11th, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    I am renovating a house built in 1926. The log is helpful.

  6. Maria
    November 15th, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    Great Inspiration….looking forward to more

  7. montana
    November 17th, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    just found this site. i have several wallpaper catalogs dating from the 1940′s back to the 1880′s. in Maine, we never throw anything away. Love this post being a big fan of deco and nouveau.
    does anyone know about a 19th century company called “SP and P Co”. i just came across three of their Syracuse Line wallpaper catalogs?

  8. steve
    December 1st, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

    Thanks montana. So, after consulting with Greg Herringshaw at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in NY, our best guess is that the “SP and P Co.” was an abbreviation for the Syracuse Paper and Pulp Co., a wallpaper manufacturer registered form 1900-1908.

  9. Naoma Welp
    December 5th, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

    Wow thanks so much.

  10. emma anthony
    May 7th, 2012 @ 4:28 am

    awesome post..i used this as an inspiration in my basic design project and my professor loved it! thank you :)


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