Blog by Beebe Cline

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8 Ways to Dress Rooms in Art Deco Drama

Art deco can feel cold and austere to some — understandable, since many of today's art deco–style homes use palettes based on chrome and black. But original art deco homes actually embraced a multitude of colors and international influences, creating an eclectic and accessible look.

Art deco uses furniture and decorative items that embrace technology and manufacturing. Art deco homes look clean, bold, glamorous and sophisticated; their lines are clean, symmetrical and modern. However, everything should still feel functional and friendly.

Here are eight elements and principles of art deco style that you can try incorporating into your own space.
1. Dramatic and sophisticated colors. Art deco's bold use of geometry, colors and textures creates a dramatic and sophisticated look. Deep blues, greens, purples, reds, pinks and yellows can be mixed with black, chrome and gold.

Get this look: Don't worry — art deco can still feel at home in a house with a lighter palette. Not ready to take the plunge with all-black walls? Try painting just one or two accent walls in your living room a deep hue, or covering them in a deco-style wallpaper or fabric. If you'd rather leave your walls alone, try some floor-to-ceiling draperies or even a few richly colored throw pillows to get some color in there.
2. Deco motifs. Travel became more accessible during the art deco period, exposing people to different cultures and designs. A love of archeology during this era also encouraged designers to use motifs from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Asia. Wood carvings, wallpaper, textiles and columns with motifs were common in both residential and commercial settings.

Get this look: Motifs have made their way back into interior design today, so you won't have to go far to get this look. Limit yourself to an accent pillow or two, or go all the way with carved wooded doors and wall designs. Greek keys, chevrons, fans and sunbursts can all fit into an art deco space — just go for something bold and geometric.
3. Mixing materials. Glass, mirror, chrome, stainless steel, gold and exotic woods can all be seen in a single art deco room. Often these elements emanate luxury — original art deco designs used exotic animal skins, marble and ebony.

Get this look: Use a mirror to get this mixed-material look in your home without spending a ton of money. Look for a mirror with a self-beveled detail (like the one in this image) and stick to bold geometric shapes. Layer in some chrome, stainless steel or wood to make the mixed-material look even more obvious.
4. High shine. Shine is key in an art deco home, so search for lacquer, glass, mirror and chrome to accent your space. Many art deco fabrics have a reflective quality too. The right lighting can make all of these materials glow.

Get this look: For affordable shine, add a high sheen to one or all of your walls. If you’re feeling really brave, add a clear coat of lacquer on top of your wall color for some serious gloss.
5. Bold fabrics. There's a subtle femininity to art deco, but don't be fooled into thinking it's girly. Pretty florals are off limits in true art deco style. Bold geometrics and solid colors are often used for windows and furniture. Exotic animal skins find their way onto smaller pieces, like ottomans and pillows.

Get this look: Rich fabrics like silk, velvet and leather in clean and dramatic cuts can help you bring the deco look into your home. If those fabrics aren't on budget, poly blends and faux leather in dark, rich colors can help you get the same look.
6. Clean-lined furniture. Traditional deco furnishings are large with sleek, strong and streamlined lines — a nod to modern design and manufacturing technologies of the 1920s.

Get this look: Stick with clean and simple forms — nothing overstuffed or terribly chunky — accented with exotic wood pieces, chrome or mirrored elements. If your budget is tight, try putting a mirror or mirrored tray on top of an existing table for some sparkle.
7. Patterned flooring. Linoleum flooring made an appearance in most residential homes during this time. Large, geometric rugs were also widely used. Larger commercial settings often had a central design made from marble and metallic details, with a similar decorative border.

Get this look: Linoleum and vinyl floors are still popular today, thanks to their low price tag and easy installation. Get creative with your installation by mixing tiles to create a dramatic pattern. If you don't like the idea of linoleum, look for art deco patterns in other materials — like the clay tile in this kitchen.
8. Glamorous lighting. The lighting during the art deco era was sleek and dramatic, with bold but simple lines. Many fixtures were made of glass and chrome, and were etched or enameled with ancient motifs for additional detail.