Incorporating Art Deco Elements in Contemporary Design

The Art Deco movement, which emerged in the early 20th century, continues to captivate designers and enthusiasts alike with its bold geometric shapes, luxurious materials, and glamorous aesthetic. While it may be considered a relic of the past, Art Deco elements can breathe new life into contemporary design, infusing spaces with elegance, sophistication, and a touch of nostalgia. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which you can incorporate Art Deco elements into your modern design projects, creating visually stunning and timeless spaces.

Understanding Art Deco

Art Deco originated in the 1920s and 1930s as a response to the austerity of the First World War. It embraced modernity, technology, and the pursuit of luxury. The movement drew inspiration from various sources, including Cubism, Egyptology, and the sleek lines of the machine age. Art Deco was characterized by its use of bold geometric shapes, sharp angles, and symmetrical patterns. It celebrated opulence, employing materials such as marble, chrome, and glass, often adorned with intricate inlays and exotic motifs.

Art Deco architecture and design showcased a sense of grandeur and glamour. From the iconic Chrysler Building in New York City to the iconic furniture of Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Art Deco left an indelible mark on the world of design. Its influence can still be seen today in both residential and commercial spaces, as designers continue to incorporate Art Deco elements into contemporary interiors.

Art Deco Color Palette

When incorporating Art Deco elements into contemporary design, it is essential to consider the color palette. Art Deco favored bold and contrasting colors, often incorporating metallic accents for added drama. Black and white were commonly used as a base, providing a crisp and sophisticated backdrop for vibrant pops of color. Deep jewel tones, such as emerald green, sapphire blue, and ruby red, were also prevalent in Art Deco interiors. These rich hues added depth and a sense of luxury to spaces.

When using Art Deco colors in contemporary design, it is important to strike a balance. Opt for a neutral base, such as shades of gray or beige, and introduce Art Deco colors through accessories, accent walls, or statement furniture pieces. This approach allows you to create a harmonious blend of the old and the new, without overwhelming the space.

Geometry and Symmetry

One of the defining features of Art Deco is its use of bold geometric shapes and symmetrical patterns. Incorporating these elements into contemporary design can add a sense of structure and visual interest to a space. Consider incorporating geometric patterns through wallpaper, tiles, or rugs. Opt for angular furniture with clean lines, such as a geometrically shaped coffee table or a sleek console. These elements will not only pay homage to Art Deco but also add a modern touch to your design.

Luxurious Materials

Art Deco was synonymous with luxury, and the materials used reflected this. Incorporating luxurious materials into contemporary design is an excellent way to channel the opulence of Art Deco. Consider using materials such as marble, brass, velvet, and lacquered finishes. These materials can be incorporated through statement furniture pieces, lighting fixtures, or even as accents in smaller accessories like vases or trays. The juxtaposition of these luxurious materials against a contemporary backdrop creates an intriguing and visually stunning space.

Textured Elements

Texture played a significant role in Art Deco design, adding depth and visual interest to spaces. Incorporating textured elements into contemporary design can create a tactile and engaging environment. Consider using materials like shagreen, faux fur, or embossed leather to add texture to furniture or accent pieces. Additionally, you can incorporate textured wall coverings or create a feature wall using three-dimensional tiles. These subtle touches will infuse your space with the essence of Art Deco while maintaining a contemporary aesthetic.

Lighting and Mirrors

Lighting and mirrors were essential components of Art Deco interiors and played a crucial role in creating a sense of drama and glamour. Incorporating statement lighting fixtures into contemporary design can instantly elevate a space. Look for chandeliers or pendant lights with geometric shapes or intricate metalwork. These fixtures will not only provide functional lighting but also serve as stunning art pieces. Additionally, mirrors with Art Deco-inspired frames can be strategically placed to reflect light and create an illusion of spaciousness.

Art Deco-Inspired Furniture

One of the most effective ways to incorporate Art Deco elements into contemporary design is through furniture. Art Deco furniture was characterized by its sleek lines, luxurious materials, and intricate detailing. Look for furniture pieces with geometric shapes, such as rounded corners or stepped detailing. Opt for materials like velvet, leather, or lacquered wood, and consider adding metallic accents for a touch of glamour. The juxtaposition of Art Deco-inspired furniture against a contemporary backdrop creates a visually captivating and unique space.

Art Deco Accessories

Accessories are the finishing touches that can tie together an Art Deco-inspired design. Look for decorative objects with geometric shapes, such as vases, sculptures, or trays. Incorporate accessories with metallic finishes, such as brass or chrome, to add a touch of luxury. Mirrored frames, art deco-style clocks, and crystal accents can also enhance the overall aesthetic. Be mindful not to overcrowd the space with too many accessories, as the key is to create a sophisticated and curated look.


Art Deco elements can bring a sense of elegance, glamour, and nostalgia to contemporary design. By incorporating the bold geometric shapes, luxurious materials, and symmetrical patterns that defined the Art Deco movement, you can create visually stunning and timeless spaces. Remember to strike a balance between the old and the new, allowing Art Deco elements to enhance your contemporary design without overwhelming the space. Whether through color, geometry, luxurious materials, or accessories, embracing the essence of Art Deco can elevate your design projects to new heights.

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