Decorating an Art Deco period property

Art Deco is most commonly associated with a sleek aesthetic, symmetrical geometric shapes and bold bright colours. Find out more about the history of your Art Deco home and its original features.

Decorating an Art Deco period property

Art deco property features

  • Geometric patterns
  • Chrome, glass & mirror
  • Egyptian motifs, Hollywood glamour & Picasso shapes
  • Sharp geometric doors
  • Tall windows
  • Curved metal corner windows

What was the interior design of the day? (1908 - 1935)
The dark days of World War 1 were over and there was interest in nature motifs like shells, sunrises and flowers.

Clean, geometric and angular shapes would have been hugely dominant within Art Deco properties. Bold colours, shiny fabrics, chrome, glass, mirrors and mirror tiles are all essential to the Art Deco aesthetic.

What influenced Art Deco design?
There was a mood of optimism during the 1920s and the economy was booming throughout the world. The Roaring Twenties ushered in a spirit of frivolity, luxury and a sense of freedom and hopefulness.

The Machine Age was in full swing and technology was rapidly improving the quality of life. Stylised images of aeroplanes, cars, cruise liners, skyscrapers, all appeared as common features in art work and accessories of the Art Deco era.

The discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in November of 1922 spawned a worldwide fascination with all things Egyptian, further contributing to the evolving aesthetic of Art Deco. Egyptomania, as it came to be known, spread throughout the world and influenced everything from architecture to jewellery to furniture. The classic Egyptian pyramid shape is recognised as a classic Art Deco motif.

Deco kept some the themes of its predecessor, Art Nouveau, but ditched the flowing organic shapes and pastels for bolder materials and colours such as chrome and black. Painters of the age, like Picasso, tempted by cubism, were experimenting with space, angles and geometry. Early Hollywood made its mark with the glamorous world of the silver screen filtering through to design using shiny fabrics, low lighting and mirrors.

Which years does the Art Deco period span?
The art deco era began in Europe in the early twentieth century. Paris played an influential role with an exhibition in 1925, but the movement didn’t take on mass appeal until after the First World War. It reigned until the outbreak of World War 11. Mass production meant it wasn’t just the elite who could partake.

What is the typical structure of Art Deco architecture?
Art Deco architecture was first and foremost considered to be decorative - ornamental and beautifying. Buildings were embellished with quintessential Deco patterns like zigzags, sunbursts, Egyptian motifs and similar geometric patterns all in the name of beauty.

Straight, white-rendered house frontages rising to flat roofs, sharply geometric door surrounds and tall windows, as well as convex-curved metal corner windows, were all characteristic of that period.

Find out more about the history of the UK's period properties in the new series of Nick Knowles' Original Features, exclusive to Home.