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Retro Decoration: Vintage Ideas for an Art Deco Style Home

Updated on November 3, 2013

Retro Decorating: How to Create a Vintage ART DECO Atmosphere into Your Home

We are fascinated about old things: Antiques, vintage, and retro objects which used to decorate our lives or our parents' or grandparents' lives years ago.

If they still have a monetary value or not, matters less.

The most important thing is the emotion they send us and, eventually, the memories they recall from the dip of our hearts.

That's why seeing them in museums or in an antiques, vintage or retro shop is not enough.

We want to have them around us to feel the atmosphere of the good old times.

And we also want to keep all the comfort of our times and integrate it into the retro decorating style.

Old stuff from yesterday are the cool things of today...

But how could we redecorate our homes in retro style in order to bring them back after we threw them away rushing to evolve toward a new, modern and efficient era?

Image credit: Art Deco apartment pictures are from my personal collection

Photos' Credit

The black&white photos are showing images taken in an Art Deco apartment in Paris. The pictures were taken by my grandmother in 1936. In that apartment used to live her sister.

I selected the images to give you an idea and a source of inspiration in decorating your home in Art Deco style.

What Is Art Deco

art deco cabinet
art deco cabinet

Vintage Decoration Ideas

Luxury, Glamour and Minimalism combined into the Sophisticatd Art Deco Style

Art Deco style appeared in the years 1920 as a combination of old deco motifs with rich ornamentation with the new requirements of the industrial age and mass production. Art Deco represented more than a new deco style, it was faith in the social and technological progress people felt after the First World War.


Main characteristic of art deco style are the sleek and smooth lines, the elegant look imprinted by the raising industrial trend of post-war time.


The color palette is limited including few colors like black, dark red and black, dark green and black, and white and black combined with gold and chrome accents and very little accents of light blue and grey.


Modern and comfortable furniture with smooth lines replacing the rich decorating motifs or the previous years. Massive wood lacquered in dark colors with velvet upholstery.


White and black ceramic floors is a typical art deco element - almost all buildings built in the 30's have the entrance room, the bathroom and the kitchen floors in black and white marble squares.

In the rooms the hardwood flooring was in general covered by rich floral motifs carpets.


The walls were covered in rich floral motifs wallpapers matching the carpet design.

The decorations hanging on the walls were framed in narrow sleek and smooth lines.


Richer decoration goes in the metal part of deco objects like lighting and mirrors, door and windows handles and candlesticks. At the same time, the bronze sculptures and desk pen and pencil sets are designed in smooth lines.

Art Deco Complete: The Definitive Guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s

This is a volume comprising more than 1,000 color images of classic Art Deco objects and spaces in a 544-page volume.

The author, Alastair Duncan, is known as the Art Deco and Art Nouveau expert.

Art Deco Complete: The Definitive Guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s
Art Deco Complete: The Definitive Guide to the Decorative Arts of the 1920s and 1930s

Understanding and getting familiar with Art Deco style is the best way to get started.

This book will be at great help in choosing the right decorating elements in your vintage Art Deco inspired interior (furniture, sculpture, paintings, graphics, posters and bookbinding, glass, ceramics, lighting, textiles, metal work).

It is worth to know that this book is focused on the European fine art aspects of Art Deco.

For American Art Deco there in another book of Alastair Duncan.


Do You Like Vintage Style and Retro Stuff?

Would You Choose to Decorate Your Home in Vintage Style?

How to Start Decorating Your Home in Art Deco Style?

To obtain an Art Deco inspired interior you don't have to decorate it exclusively with Art Deco objects.

It is enough to have a selection of Art Deco elements that compose the specific Art Deco style atmosphere.

How to Proceed?

  1. Study the style and get familiar with its specific decorating elements. Read books on the subject or just make an online research.
  2. See pictures, visit museums (if you have the chance) to begin 'feeling' its atmosphere.
  3. Research offers on eBay, Amazon and other online stores where you can original or Art Deco inspired objects (furniture, paintings, graphics, posters, glass, ceramics, lighting, textiles/upholstery, metal work)
  4. Decide which decorating elements you'll select for your interior and start with only two-three elements to not get an overwhelming image. Then, add more elements one by one to check very well how they are looking beside the others until you obtain your Art Deco inspired interior.

Art Deco Dining Room

The Dining Room

dining room
dining room

Art Deco Gold Leaf Waves Porcelain Espresso Set 12 PiecesBUY IT NOW

Murano Art Deco Collection Cake ServerBUY IT NOW

English Art Deco Silver Plated Tea & Coffee SetBUY IT NOW

Art Deco Cabinet

art deco cabinet
art deco cabinet

Note: The building on the deco throw pillow represents the building where was the Art Deco apartment in the black&white pictures (the building in also Art Deco style). Click on image for product details!

Art Deco Lady Dancer Statue Candle Holder, Bronze Powder CastBUY IT NOW

Art Deco Peacock Maidens Illuminated StatueBUY IT NOW

Art Deco Peacock Sculptural Floor LampBUY IT NOW

The Desiree Art Deco Lighted SculptureBUY IT NOW

Art Deco Shelf ClockBUY IT NOW

Art Deco Statue "The Squall" By Demetre Chiparus Bronze SculptureBUY IT NOW

cabinet in Paris in 1936
cabinet in Paris in 1936
art deco desk
art deco desk

Boudoir French Art Deco Style

art deco boudoir
art deco boudoir

Art Deco Style Specific Objects: Small Furniture, Lamps, Deco Perfume Bottles

Spreading these objects around, you'll get a perfect Art Deco atmosphere: a small table or a sideboard, a vintage Art Deco lamp purchased on eBay, a perfume bottle...

boudoir with armchair
boudoir with armchair

Art Deco Kitchen

art deco kitchen
art deco kitchen

Decor Retro Rectangle Ceiling Rack with GridBUY IT NOW

Bookshelf Pot RackBUY IT NOW

J.K. Adams Ceiling Oval Pot RackBUY IT NOW

See Here More Designs!

retro kitchen
retro kitchen

Are You Living in an Old/Vintage/Retro Style Decorated Home or in a Contemporary One?

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    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      Wow, this is really a unique collection of art deco art and design. Great lens!!

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Congratulations on the purple star! I love antiques and vintage collectibles (I am a dealer, afterall) so this was an interesting lens for me.

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      I am glad you identified the source of the photographs. That made them immensely more interesting to me. I enjoyed the tour of your great aunt's Paris apartment!

    • anka05 profile image

      anka05 4 years ago

      @HardyGirl: I'm happy you liked it. I have the vintage photos from my grandma. Her sister used to live in that apartment. The pictures were taken in year 1937.

    • HardyGirl profile image

      HardyGirl 4 years ago

      I absolutely LOVE this lens! Especially the vintage photos and the way you spotlighted objects that can be used today for the same look. Great job!