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Hollywood Regency Decorating Style

An interior design style forged on the film sets of the 1920s through the 1950s, the maximalist glamor of Hollywood Regency continues to influence designers today.

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Photo: The Greenbrier

What Is Hollywood Regency Style?

Do you love classic Hollywood films with all their over-the-top glamorous interiors? Then Hollywood Regency may be the design style for you. Hollywood Regency is a look virtually synonymous with the Golden Age of film from the 1920s to the 1950s when the big movie studios like MGM, Warner Bros and RKO, and directors like Ernst Lubitsch and Howard Hawks, created some of the most lasting, iconic films we still celebrate today. Films like Bringing Up Baby, Design for Living, Trouble in Paradise and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals epitomized the elegant sweet life that many Americans of the time aspired to. Those movie studios and Hollywood directors helped fix an idea in Americans' brains of what glamor and elegance looked like. Film stars of the time like tastemaker Joan Crawford took this style created by Hollywood set designers, used it in their own homes and launched a living, breathing iteration of a style we now know as Hollywood Regency.

Pictured above: One of the godmothers of Hollywood Regency was designer Dorothy Draper, the designer of this fabulous draped swimming pool for luxe The Greenbrier resort where she was the in-house designer from 1945 to 1960.

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Photo: Kips Bay Decorators Show House/Nickolas Sargent Photography

An Elaborate Tented Ceiling Brings Old World Luxury

Contemporary designers are constantly finding inspiration from the timeless elegance of Hollywood Regency. Here, designer Redmond Aldrich offers a fresh spin on Dorothy Draper's tented poolscape at The Greenbrier resort with this lavish, elegant design for the 2024 Kips Bay Decorators Show House in Palm Beach.

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Photo: Chris Tsambis

Key Characteristics of Hollywood Regency Style

Hollywood Regency is a style we might call "maximalist" today, defined by over-the-top luxury, elegance and glamor. The style emphasizes bold colors and patterns, luxurious materials like marble, velvet and lacquered surfaces; symmetrical patterns and details (think identical peacock velvet slipper chairs placed on either side of a white couch); and lots of gold and curvy sofas, chairs and coffee tables for a sleek look. Shiny, reflective, glossy finishes are central to the Hollywood Regency aesthetic. Colors often lean toward bold jewel tones like topaz blue, emerald green, amethyst pink and citrine gold often paired with a bold black and white checkerboard floor.

The lobby of the Viceroy Hotel in Miami (shown here) was designed by a contemporary designer often associated with a modern take on Hollywood Regency, Kelly Wearstler. Miles Redd and Carlten Varney are other designers working today who continue to bring the style into their work.

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Photo: The Greenbrier

An Icon of Hollywood Regency Style

Renowned interior designer Dorothy Draper, whose design impact spanned from 1925-1962, is a central figure in spreading the opulent and maximalist look of Hollywood Regency to resorts, hotels and homes across the country. Her regular column for Good Housekeeping magazine helped convey her taste for high-style luxury to an even larger audience. Her iconic designs for The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, show her use of the style's touchstones like the combination of bold color and pattern in this bedroom, but also the use of black and white, gold and ornate plasterwork, statement chandeliers and flooring to convey a message of abundance and glamor. Beginning in 1946 and until 1960, Draper used Greenbrier as a design canvas, converting a WWII Army hospital into a symbol of American style.

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