• Art Deco is an art and design style popular in Europe and America from the mid-1920s until before World War II.
  • It traced its beginnings to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, an international design show held in Paris in 1925.
  • The artists, designers and architects who worked in Art Deco wanted to create a modern style for a modern age. They purposely avoided echoes of past styles.
  • The name ”Art Deco,” by the way, comes from the title of that international show.

Art Deco was inspired by the advances in modern technology of the 1920s, which can be seen in the smooth lines, geometric shapes and streamlines forms that are characteristic of the movement.

Deco has an inherent luxuriousness, which is accentuated by the use of silver, crystal, ivory, jade and lacquer.

The style is typically elegant, glamorous and functional and has stood the test of time.


The materials that were typical in Art Deco designs include silver, crystal, ivory, jade and lacquer as well as molded glass, horn, and exotic skins such as shark and zebra.

High-shine and opulence were requirements for the glamorous and luxurious style, however as the style progressed aluminum, stainless steel, plastics and inlaid wood veneers made items in this style both more affordable and more accessible.


There is a great range of colours that are complementary to these high-shine metallic or black Deco details –

  • Bright and deep yellows,
  • Reds,
  • Greens,
  • Blues and
  • Pinks are most used within traditional Deco interiors .


Pattern is warmly embraced in Art Deco interior design, so Deco interiors often focus around pattern, which makes it a key element in achieving the Deco look.

Patterns that were widely used throughout Deco interiors included leaves, branches and feathers; trapezoids, chevrons and zigzags; stylized animals and nudes; sunbursts, and jagged, stepped or pointed edges that are reminiscent of skyscrapers.


A modern take on Art Deco design adheres to the streamlined, aerodynamic, symmetrical, geometrical and modern look that is typical of traditional Deco design, however, contemporary designs have been brought up-to-date with more modern materials, proportions and details.

Woods such as ebony, walnut, maple and ash were used frequently in Art Deco designs for the natural beauty of their grain, which is exaggerated by the highly polished finish that is typical of the movement.

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