How to design an Art Deco living room

Interior Design Trends

Living rooms are the heart and soul of our homes. It’s hard to even begin estimating the amount of time we spend in these rooms. From intimate gatherings with friends to binging Netflix on rainy weekends, it’s a room we associate with warmth and relaxation. It’s a place to kick off your shoes and grab those fuzzy socks your grandmother gifted you for your birthday. It’s an escape from reality where you can cozy up with your latest book and a glass of wine after a long day. 

A room filled with warmth and relaxation doesn’t mean we have to overlook style for function. With so many interior design trends out there, it can be hard to narrow down exactly which style or styles you want to incorporate into your living room, while still making sure the room serves its core purpose. 

One of our favorite design styles to incorporate into your home is the Art Deco look. It tends to be classified as a luxurious and elegant style, but what we love is the ability to incorporate even small elements of the aesthetic to instantly elevate a room. Trust us — when we say small, we mean it. We aren’t suggesting a need to turn your living room into a room straight out of The Great Gatsby. Although, if that’s your vibe — we say go for it!

Art Deco design elements and color schemes

First, we’ll do a quick refresher on the Art Deco style and Art Deco furniture. If you’re thinking this sounds familiar, that’s because the style has been dominating the design world in recent years. It first appeared in Paris at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925. Fast forward almost a century, and Art Deco is still a favorite of top interior designers around the world. Like anything in history, it was heavily influenced by its preceding style, the Art Nouveau movement of the late 1800s known for its expressive and organic lines and textiles derived from nature. However, at the turn of the century, the style was increasingly considered out-dated. Born was the Art Deco movement, meant to embrace modernism and this new age. 

Known for its use of geometric shapes, zigzags, and bold colors, Art Deco interior design is glamorous and eye-catching, even in small doses. The beauty of this style is that you can go all-in and create a retro room straight out of the Roaring Twenties or you can add an Art Deco element or two and still achieve this sought after glam look. 

10 Art Deco-inspired design ideas to incorporate into your living room 

Go bold with animal prints 

We’ve already filled you in on how the Art Deco period was full of geometric shapes, but that doesn’t mean animal motifs weren’t also popular. The nature-centric designs of Art Nouveau didn’t just vanish; instead, they were re-invented and incorporated to create more modern designs. Today, nothing says glamour and luxury more than leopard print. We might even venture so far as to say leopard print is a neutral. If you’re drawn to minimalist styles, try a couple of decorative throw pillows on your sofa. If you’re a maximalist, why not make a statement with a sophisticated animal print area rug? We’re also loving these leopard print chairs! 

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Animal print in a living room | Photo Credit: Cottages & Gardens

Don’t be afraid of stripes

Not an animal print lover? Another bold pattern that speaks to the opulence of the Art Deco look is stripes. It’s a repeated geometric pattern, but feels more manageable than some of the other patterns of this time period. We love the simplistic yet decadent look of a full room covered in stripes. Pro tip — if you’re renting or don’t want to take the leap of faith involved with permanent changes, throw up some peel + stick wallpaper. No past DIY experience required.

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Black and white striped wallpaper in living room | Photo Credit: Bright Bazaar

Create decadence with sunbursts 

Half or full golden sun shapes appeared on buildings, in rooms, and even above elevators. Today two of the most common decor pieces that contain sunbursts are prints and mirrors. You’ve probably seen a mirror with a tiny circular mirror but large rays that seem to extend forever? It’s more of a home decor piece than a functional mirror, making it a design staple for many looking to draw from Art Deco design. For max glam, place a sunburst mirror above your mantle with two adorning scones.

Paint with pastels 

If you’ve ever strolled through Miami’s Art Deco Historic District, you know just how popular pastel colors were during the 1920s and 1930s. Picking a pastel color palette is an easy way to incorporate the Art Deco look into your living room. If you really want to go all out, you can even match your velvet upholstered sofa to your wall color. While you might be weary hearing us say that, just take a look at how stunning this pink velvet couch looks against matching walls. We’re already daydreaming about how we can incorporate this design tip into our homes!

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Pastel living room | Photo Credit: My Domaine

Throw in a geometric patterns or two 

Geometric patterns come in all sizes and shapes, so that even our most loyal modernists can get behind this design element. You won’t have to repaint your floors or even bring in bold artwork to give this one a try. Simply go for a piece of furniture that uses geometric shapes, such as chevrons or repeated rectangles. We especially love this geometric inspired sideboard.

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Art Deco Sideboard | Photo Credit: House Beautiful

Since we’re on the topic of sideboards…we love using this traditional dining room piece in the living room. Not only are they great for displaying all of those coffee table books you’ve tirelessly collected over the years (forever and always saying thank you to flea markets with exceptional book selections!), they can also hide any unsightly clutter. We’ve seen sideboards house kids toys, blankets, and even our bulkiest sweaters that seem to fit nowhere else.

Decorate with brass accents 

With the turn of the 20th century, decorative artists felt the new century not only needed to reflect modernism, it should also incorporate materials of this new period. Luxurious materials such as exotic woods and metals were incorporated into furniture. Today, these materials may not be making quite the same statement about modernity, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you create a sophisticated living room. Place a brass coffee table in the center of your seating area with a matching floor lamp to the right of your sofa. You can also pull in matching styles across the entire room by replacing the knobs on your side tables or adding a console table with brass legs to the entryway leading to the room.

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Geometric chandelier | Photo Credit: Veranda

Bring in some glam lighting 

Extravagant lighting was no stranger to the design world, but during the 20th century, Art Deco lighting really made a big splash. Highly decorative and eclectic chandeliers were the epitome of glam at this time. Today, many popular lighting styles are actually influenced by this period, like glass panels on light bulbs, faceted and fan shaped lights, and large, cascading fixtures. Big chandeliers may feel like they’re reserved exclusively for skyscrapers or luxury hotels in New York or Los Angeles. We’re here to tell you they aren’t! An Art Deco inspired chandelier may be just what you didn’t know your living room was missing.

Dip your toes into decorative arts — with a sculpture 

If you’re still not sure about the Art Deco aesthetic, a simple and low stakes way to test it out is a sculpture. And luckily living rooms have a plethora of places to place your new sculpture. Don’t have a green thumb? Place a sculpture anywhere your not so lush orchid has been living. Do you have a bookshelf or even better, built-ins? There is always space left between or on top of books.

Create Hollywood glamour with mirrors

Nothing quite says Art Deco luxury like an entire mirrored wall. This style can really be applied to any room in your house from your living room to walk-in closet. Just make sure you showcase geometric designs in your mirrors.

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Wall of mirrors | Photo Credit: Architectural Digest

Add in wall art 

Art is an easy way to add your personal touch to any living room design. It can bring the room together, and unlike some decorative elements, doesn’t require a massive design overhaul. For all the mid-century modern lovers out there, try framing an Art Deco poster to create your own version of modern art.

These sumptuous fabrics, animal prints and streamlined shapes will leave your living room feeling glamorous and sleek, no matter your commitment level. 

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