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Hollywood Regency Style Design

Updated on April 1, 2012

What is Hollywood Regency Style?

If you're not asking what Hollywood Regency style is as you read this article then you're probably wondering how to get it. Hollywood Regency is a style of decorating that developed in the 1930s during the Hollywood heydays when designers like Billy Baldwin, William Haines and Dorothy Draper ruled. It, as its name would suggest, was first put to effect in Hollywood. Conceived with a heavy nod towards set design and a wink to letting the "stars" shine, it was meant to envelope glamorous people in beautiful settings while still letting them be the main attraction.

Today the style is making a major comeback with stars of the interior design world like Kelly Wearstler and Shawn Henderson leading the way. The Hollywood Regency style, like any other interior decorating style can be achieved expensively or not. If going the latter route, you'll need more creativity, but that's half the fun.

Naturally, Hollywood Regency style incorporates a lot of glitz and glam, that goes without saying. But, it also makes heavy use of classic lines and furniture. Luxury textiles and materials like gilt, fur, silk, leather, and mirror, are combined with clean geometric lines. Asiana is also a welcome accessory. And speaking of accessories, forget about your grandma's tchotchkes collections, with Hollywood Regency it's all about letting one or two really fabulous pieces shine. It's over the top - if you can pull it off. Otherwise, it's not.

Regency Redux: High Style Interiors: Napoleonic, Classical Moderne, and Hollywood Regency
Regency Redux: High Style Interiors: Napoleonic, Classical Moderne, and Hollywood Regency

"a MUST have for any design or decorating fanatic. Full of insight and amazing pics. Run and buy it."

Viceroy Hotel Designed by Kelly Wearstler
Viceroy Hotel Designed by Kelly Wearstler
Foyer design by Jonathan Adler
Foyer design by Jonathan Adler

How to Get the Hollywood Regency Look

Big, fat, overstuffed upholstered sofas and chairs are a big no-no. You need to go with slim, elegant lines if you want to achieve Hollywood Regency status. That's why classic furniture is a great starting point, not to mention a timeless look and therefore a great investment. So too, are minimalist, mid-century modern designs. What they have in common is clean lines. Try to stick with pale hues for your bigger pieces and layer in saturated colors with your walls and accessories (this makes it easier to change your room to another style should you ever get sick of the look).

Scale is also really important when it comes to this look. Think: opposites attract. Big next to small. Tall next to short. Rough next to smooth. Also, always incorporate at least one but not more than three really over-sized pieces like a huge mirror or light fixture. If you can't find or afford gargantuan dimensions, then use many elements grouped together to create the sense of largeness. For example, use 3 or 5 medium sized mirrors all grouped together (always try and group odd numbers of accessories). On the other hand, symmetry is used very often for the basic layout of the room.

Individuality, also know as eclectic style, is also important, so shop flea markets and ebay to find pieces that aren't in all of your neighbors homes as well. 

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Minimalist Hollywood Regency
Minimalist Hollywood Regency
Hollywood Regency Kitchen by Kraftmade
Hollywood Regency Kitchen by Kraftmade
Slender and elegant gilt Italian side chairs
Slender and elegant gilt Italian side chairs
Mirrored furniture, crystal lamps, silk slipper stool all add up to comfortable glamor.
Mirrored furniture, crystal lamps, silk slipper stool all add up to comfortable glamor.

Elements of Hollywood Regency Style

La La Luxe

In the days of yore, homes were destinations designed to impress with luxurious textiles and materials. You could expect to see lots of velvet and silk. Rugs had thick, deep pile. Everything was very sensual to all the senses.


These are Asian inspired pieces of furniture and accessories. The operative word here is inspired. Look for blanc de chine, foo dogs and Chinese lanterns.


Lacquered furniture is actually very expensive to produces so it could just as easily fit under the luxe category. It's made by layering on up to 14 coats of fine lacquer paint and each coat needs to be sanded before the next can be applied. That's why it imparts such a decadent, lustrous sheen. It's bright and glossy and absolutely gorgeous. TIP: to get the look on a low budget use several coats of high gloss paint, sanding with fine grit between coats.


With mirror its reflective surface bounces a lot of light around and light (coming from the right sources) is glamorous. Look for mirrored furniture with beveled edges. TIP: You can easily just have the top of a chest or its front mirrored for an inexpensive alternative.


Plexi-glass has a peek-a-boo quality that's flirty and fun that's down right sexy if you ask me, and since this look is all about appealing to the senses it fits right in.

Ecclectic Style

Mix it up! Don't be afraid to put that mid century modern table next to a classic tufted couch. Hang your Chinese lantern with abandon in from of your french gilt mirror.

Hollywood Regency is Meant to be Enjoyed

In the end, it's a style that's meant to be lived in and enjoyed. As people retreat more and more into their homes be it for a staycation, or just hanging out with friends and family, it should be in an environment that you all can appreciate. Even in these tough time. So, spoil yourself - that's what its all about.

Article by Anne Alexander Sieder all rights reserved.  For hardcore interior design fans, check out my blog


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    • edelhaus profile image

      edelhaus 5 years ago from Munich, Germany

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      lepetitchalet 5 years ago

      I was searching for Hollywood Glam definition and this was nicely done.

    • Laura Schneider profile image

      Laura Schneider 5 years ago from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

      Yet another excellent article (the third one I've read of yours). What more can I say? Once again you reduce a huge concept into a bite-sized piece that anyone could understand. And, I learned something very important: I don't happen to like the "Hollywood Regency Style", no offense to anyone intended. This is important to know because I just bought a house and am unpacking (supposed to be unpacking) boxes and figuring out what furniture to get and where things should go. Thanks again for another wonderful, educational art article.

    • HomeDIY profile image

      HomeDIY 5 years ago

      Beautiful Pictures. I really like the "Hollywood Regency Style"

    • edelhaus profile image

      edelhaus 7 years ago from Munich, Germany

      Thanks James!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

      Awesome article! I enjoyed learning about "Hollywood Regency Style." The pictures are exquisite. Thank you for this educative pleasure.