How to Decorate an Art Deco Living Room

Art Decor design style, which originated in France in the 1920s and '30s, is a study in contrasts. Bold colors accent monochromatic palettes, and geometric patterns coexist with ancient motifs and natural materials. In a living room, the symmetry and artistry of Art Deco style creates an atmosphere of sophistication. If you are a homeowner, you can give your living room a floor-to-ceiling Art Deco makeover. If you are an apartment-dweller, use furnishings and accessories to get the Art Deco look.

Choose a Palette
Art Deco color schemes focus on contrast. To create a living room that's sleek and bold, choose a basic palette of black and white and then incorporate bright accent colors. Start with a black-and-white tile floor -- an iconic Art Deco design element -- and paint the walls and ceiling white. Add a feature wall in black or an accent color. Bright red, yellow, maroon and purple add depth and warmth to a black-and-white palette while staying true to Art Deco style. If prefer a more subdued color scheme, choose a palette of deep browns and soft neutrals. Cover the floor with dark hardwood and paint the walls beige or ivory. Use green or gold for an accent color.

Add Bold Patterns
Bold lines and patterns are the hallmark of Art Deco style. When you decorate, let your furniture provide the foundation of the room's geometry. Look for sofas and chairs that feature clean lines and sculptural, geometric shapes. Incorporate pattern into your living room's decor with wallpaper. Look for papers printed with symmetrical graphic motifs, such as fans, chevrons or zigzags. You don't want to overwhelm the room, so limit the use of the paper to a wall or two. Textiles also bring pattern to a room. Choose rugs, upholstery fabrics, window treatments and accent pillows that feature geometric lines and shapes. Don't let your wallpaper and textile selections muddle your palette. Stick to patterns with just two or three colors.

Make It Shine
Sleek finishes and understated lighting give Art Deco-style rooms a sophisticated glow. When you plan your Art Deco living room, incorporate shine in every step of the decorating process. Set the stage with glossy floors -- ceramic tile or polished wood -- and large mirrors that add depth and sparkle. Incorporate furniture that features glass, metal and mirror details. A black lacquer coffee table, a chrome-and-glass bar cart and cabinets with mirror-front doors add shine and function. To show off your gleaming living room to its best advantage, choose lighting fixtures that cast a warm, subtle glow. Look for Art Deco-style wall sconces, table lamps and accent lamps that feature geometric lines and sculptural shapes.

Accent the Exotic
An increase in African travel in the 1920s and '30s boosted European interest in exotic materials. As a result, animal prints and ancient Egyptian motifs are as much a part of Art Deco design as geometric patterns and chrome tables. When you furnish your living room, choose pieces that blend Art Deco lines with exotic woods and natural materials, such as ebony, ivory and tortoiseshell -- or environmentally friendly lookalikes. Incorporate some luxurious leather into the decor by including an upholstered sofa or a large, tufted ottoman. To complete your Art Deco living room, use a zebra-print rug as an accent piece and decorate the room with art and sculptures that feature pyramid, sphinx and other Egyptian designs.


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