20 Art Deco Looks We Love

The distinctive style that infused interiors with glamour and grace in the 1920s is back in the spotlight in the 2020s. Take a design cue from the pros who draw inspiration from history to bring drama and luxury to these modern spaces.

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May 04, 2020
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Raising the Bar

This buffet is as fabulous as it is functional, thanks to monogramming, a hammered brass case and old-school, crystal barware. Beveled, smoky glass panels surrounding the wall mirror’s four faces echo the buffet’s four panels and pull the eye upward where a pair of shapely gold lamps, in turn, carry it out to the swirling agate wallpaper.

Urban Menagerie

Digitally printed grasscloth wallpaper creates a vibrant foundation for this lounge’s wild personality — even the room’s molding sports a coat of supersaturated turquoise paint. Glasswork on twin lamps and curves-meet-corners geometry on the brass, mirror and lacquer side tables give that exuberant background an air of sophistication.

Burst of Inspiration

If you’re Deco-curious and want to splash out with a bit of the style before committing to a larger space, a powder room is the perfect spot to get started — and to make a significant statement without a massive investment. Here, a subtly patterned trellis wallpaper gives way to lavish marble tiles, while an opulent sunburst mirror adds golden gleam. The marbled-and-lacquered sink, in turn, is both tailored and curvy.

Dramatic Entrance

The foyer in this lakefront North Carolina home welcomes visitors with a bold, oceanic note, courtesy of lacquered wallpaper with vertical bands of blue and a sculptural piece of bleached coral. Magnificent sconces on either side of a decorative mirror set the stage for nested mercury-glass cylinders in a pendant lamp.

Emerald Sitting

Clad in lavish green velvet, this curvaceous barrel chair pairs beautifully with a geometric, glass-topped occasional table. Designer Nina Magon installed glam, golden sconces to enhance the effect of the high-gloss black paint she chose for the room's walls and intricate molding.

Proud as a Peacock

Subtle influences have their place, but this sitting room in the sky wears its inspiration on its sleeve. Designer Allison Lind extended the decorative tone and rich palette of the World’s Fair poster above the sofa throughout her clients’ home. Here, dupioni silk curtains and a velvet, tufted sofa add luxurious textures while acid green carries from plumage on the area rug up to the credenza and throw pillows, and midnight and teal tones spread their wings across the sofa and up the walls. Now that’s commitment to a theme.

Opening Scene

Carefully chosen details embellish this diminutive corridor without overwhelming the eye. Most of the items on the slim entry table, for example, are transparent, which invites attention to the sculptural piece supporting them and the curvaceous mirror hanging above. The wall's seafoam tone deepens on an asymmetrical runner while the entry table's honeyed wood tone coordinates with the glam, gold ceiling fixture.

Royal Chamber

Traditional silhouettes and saturated shades come together in this regal master bedroom, where a scene-stealing, skyscraper-evoking upholstered bed luxuriates between aubergine fabric-clad walls. The black lacquered finish of the desk reemerges on the nightstands, and a crane-patterned throw pillow adds interest to the bed linens.

Cabinet of Curiosities

Art Deco wallpaper with a metallic fish scale pattern frames a bar area stocked with playful vintage finds and a layered mirror that would delight early-20th-century Cubists. The trailing succulent in an iridescent decanter is an unexpected and effective touch here: it both builds on the scene’s eclectic vibe and introduces a note of contemporary chic.

Elegant Array

Silver wallpaper with a spiraling, textured pattern provides a subtly sophisticated backdrop for a Lucite table topped with eye-catching curios like an equally "invisible" table lamp, a sculptural horn, stacked clear cubes and candles with trompe-l’oeil marble veining. Look closely at that stack of coffee table books: one celebrates Frances Elkins, an early-20th-century California interior decorator known for pairing traditional pieces like Chippendale furniture and Queen Anne mirrors with ultra-modern designs by artists like Salvador Dalí.

Evolution of Style

This soaring duplex on Chicago’s Gold Coast was brimming with Gothic Revival style when designer Lauren Coburn swooped in to update it for a new owner. Notes of that ornate, mid-19th-century style still resound in the space through the sweeping staircase and graceful molding on the barrel-vaulted ceiling. Coburn pulled the look into the 20th century with streamlined club chairs, modern art above the fireplace and a gleaming mother-of-pearl piece on the side table.

Precious Metals

While modern interpretations of Art Deco themes are delightful, one does occasionally yearn for a tableau that could have been lifted directly from The Great Gatsby. Designer Allison Lind offers that kind of visual feast here with ornate metallic wallpaper, perfectly coordinated furniture, statement-jewelry lighting and a trove of retro tabletop treasures.

Metro Mediterranean

This living room, on the other hand, is a sly blend of eras. Explicitly Art Deco pieces like the pendant lamps share space with contemporary pieces like the area rug and furnishings that reference Art Deco style (like the stunning velvet sofa and the black leather armchairs) without making things official.

Retro Futurism

In this hallway, dramatic black sconces reimagine the exotic wildlife motifs that entranced Deco designers, while the sculptural gold console table below them could have been designed last week or last century. Art Deco was all about what was newest and could come next, and the framed video installation at the center of this space is appropriately innovative: It features “starlings” that swoop across the screen and create an ever-changing abstract scene.

From: Wick Design

Velvet Crush

The office beyond this hallway is unquestionably inviting, but it’s hard to look past the rich details designer Cynthia Spence selected for it: Holly Hunt fabric walls! A faux-bois-textured tin ceiling! A dramatic brass pendant! An exquisite Art Deco grille (that doubles as a cover for an unsightly electrical panel)! Reminder: One doesn’t need a window to create a spectacular view.

Coastal Tones

This modern Floridian take on Art Deco begins with a one-of-a-kind footprint: the graceful oval shape of this dining room provides beautiful visual interest where it meets the wall's boxy wainscoting. Shades of aqua tie accessories and artwork to the plush velvet dining chairs, while four alabaster sconces serve as a minimal counterpoint to the uber-glam crystal chandelier.

Cityscape Sink

Urban design is all about maximum effect in a minimal footprint — and this powder room feels like a mini-metropolis, as designer Anthony Michael chose a dramatic frosted sink that draws the eye along floor-to-ceiling details like a geometric beveled mirror and shagreen-papered wall panels. We love how the chrome sconces seem to go on for miles.

Let There Be Light

Consider this your reminder that a single, pitch-perfect detail — in this case, an antique Art Deco pendant — can set the tone for an entire home. (Yes yes, the arched iron, wood and glass door is lovely as well, but that light fixture is unforgettable.)

All in the Details

Designer Javier Fernandez gave this contemporary townhouse’s master suite a hint of historic character with accessories: a smoked-glass mirror pays homage to classic urban architecture, and a gorgeously detailed sunburst light fixture that's both exuberant and elegant. A trio of tessellating occasional tables introduce geometric patterning that continues in subtle, tone-on-tone textural detail in the carpet.

His and Hers

Designer Paula Grace reached for a pair of vintage portraits to both emphasize this bedroom’s symmetry and add character. Fluted, lacquered lamps bring a golden glow to the soft, buttery shade she chose for the walls, while boldly patterned curtains tie in beautifully with a complementary upholstery fabric on the bench at the foot of the bed.

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