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Art Deco Furniture

Updated on July 24, 2017
Art deco furniture is very popular for vintage and antique furniture aficionados.
Art deco furniture is very popular for vintage and antique furniture aficionados. | Source

Art Deco furniture is a unique style that originated in the 1920s and 1930s, and has had an amazing influence on most design, styling and architecture ever since. Art deco furniture is based on the movement and architectural style, and it is a very popular style for interior decoration to this day. Art deco furniture is very sought after, and it's considered a prize find in a secondhand shop or antique store.

This article is intended to explain a bit about the history and original philosophy behind art deco furniture, and to explain some of the design cues and styles to be found in this genre. I'll touch on how to utilize art deco furniture pieces in your home in a tasteful and engaging way.

Let's learn more about art deco furniture!

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Art Deco Furniture: History and Origins

Art Deco furniture was directly correlated to the art deco movement of the early 20th century, and the design styles and cues were a direct contradiction to the flowing, organic lines of the art nouveau style that preceded it. Art deco is based on the concept of linear symmetry and the use of mathmatical shapes to create interesting and engaging designs. There is something pleasing to the eye about linear symmetry, and the look caught on in a major way. Landmark buildings, most famously the Chrysler Building, are perfect examples of the burgeoning art deco style.

Though it quickly died off in popularity in the late 30s and into the 40s, it had a resurgence and has been growing in popularity again ever since. It has gotten to the point that art deco style is once again modern, and much of Pop art is based on this aesthetic.

Art Deco furniture, like the architectural style it was derived from, followed the trend of bucking the art nouveau styled flowing lines and instead replacing them with hard, linear edges and perfect, uninterrupted curves. Modern styles of hardwood, steel and leather were popular, as well as interesting mathematical shapes and perfect symmetry.


Art Deco Furniture: Popular Design Styles

There are a few characteristic art deco furniture design styles, and they are pretty easy to recognize. Although no one at the time realized they were creating a uniform design style, the pieces all seem to call on certain shapes and patterns.

First, you'll notice perfect angular lines, as the style was heavily influenced by futurism and cubism. Common looks were diamond or crystalline patterns, simple angular shapes (rectangles, squares and triangles are very common).

Jumbled patterns of interrelated zig-zags, crosshatches and shape clusters were pretty common as a decorative element as well. While the style relied on simple shape arrangements, the effect was definitely posh and decorative, designed for a sense of opulence and luxury.

The materials used in art deco furniture styles were commonly heavily laquered wood, steel and chrome, aluminum, and occasionally animal patterns. The pieces often relied on inlaid or stylized symbols such as the rising sun, clockfaces and chevrons.

Art Deco Furniture In Your Home

The use of art deco furniture should be very intentional. Because it is so radically different from other antique styles, I wouldn't recommend mixing and matching time periods. The only kind of 'mixing and matching' I would endorse with art deco furniture is mixing it with modern style. Anything metallic, chrome, aluminum, or very avant garde will mingle very nicely with a classy bit of art deco furniture design.

Art deco furniture is very ornate and noticeable in its own way, so I wouldn't overdo the usage in a single room. Use a few bits as statement pieces, or one large piece to center a room. Be very aware of the impression your furniture will make, you'll need to be quite intentional in your design. With the wrong assortment of stuff it will lose its sense of classiness.

Good Luck!

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