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The Complete Guide to Spotting and Collecting Authentic Art Deco Designs

Updated: Mar 28

Art Deco clay mask

Whether you know it or not, the Art Deco style is all around us. From the archways of vintage hotel lobbies to your grandmother's favorite diamond jewelry set and the antique lamps at the antique store near Orlando, Art Deco design can be found just about anywhere. Believe it or not, this luxurious décor era is as popular today as it was a hundred years ago. With bright colors and exaggerated geometric patterns—what's not to love?

People around the world collect rare Art Deco home décor and priceless collectibles—but why? It doesn't matter if you're searching for one unique addition to your gallery wall or collecting and selling Art Deco designs as a career; there's something for collectors of every level waiting at the Florida vendor mall—it's just a matter of learning how to spot it.

Prove your love of vintage by learning more about the intriguing style of this design era, and learn what to look for the next time you shop with our guide to collecting Art Deco furniture and décor. Who knows—you may learn a little something along the way!

Defining Art Deco Style

Art Deco was an illustrative and geometric period of design, style, and art that spread to the United States after emerging in Europe in the 1920s. From the Empire State Building to your family heirloom jewelry, there are examples of Art Deco style everywhere. 

When Was Art Deco Style Popular?

Although the Art Deco design first emerged in Paris in the 1910s, its popularity skyrocketed as it spread across the globe after World War I during the 1920s and '30s. The vibrant and creative Art Deco furniture designs and artistic creations went hand in hand with the modern Jazz Age. Flappers, prohibition, and class were key to this period, so Art Deco designs matched the extravagance!

What is the Difference Between Art Deco and Art Nouveau?

White Art Deco Cat Statue

While Art Nouveau and Art Deco may sound similar, they have key differences that set them apart. Pieces in the Art Nouveau movement came first and were inspired by whimsical escapism and romance. This style era ended around 1914 when Art Deco designs celebrated modernism in a new, partying era. 

What Inspired Art Deco Design?

Many modern art movements collided at the start of the 20th century. Art Deco design is influenced by the geometry of Cubism, archeological discoveries in Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and the bright colors of Fauvism. When you take these three inspirations and blend them together, you get the beautiful Art Deco furniture and collectibles everyone loves!  

5 Characteristics that Define Art Deco Style

If you've fallen in love with the idea of adding Art Deco designs to your home décor, you're in luck! These pieces can be found everywhere, from Indiana furniture stores to antique mall events in Illinois. Keep your eyes peeled for Art Deco home décor, wall art, and furniture that feature these key elements:  

1. Symmetry and Precision

Gold Art Deco Canister with Geometric Design

Almost every example of Art Deco style showcases vertical symmetry. If you can draw a line down the middle of a design and the sides mirror one another, chances are, you've found Art Deco home décor. The creators of this time period appreciated the modern, simplified look that came from machine-made art. Every single Art Deco style detail had to be precise to continue the symmetrical illusion of any product. 

2. Geometric Shapes 

Art Deco design uses contrasting shapes and lines to create a completely unique aesthetic. Everything, from the panels on a TV stand to the diamond set on an antique necklace, uses a dynamic arrangement of straight lines, circles, triangles, and squares to make a beautiful geometric form. Search even the smallest details for intricate patterns of repeating bold shapes, and you may find an Art Deco style in the antique furniture store!

The key to recognizing Art Deco style in wallpaper, art prints, furniture, and more is paying attention to the patterns. Where Art Nouveau preferred delicate florals and nature-inspired shapes, Art Deco home décor features repeating shapes and lines. In most cases, the frame shape could be one large rectangle or circle, but the inside would be decorated with different geometric patterns, such as zigzags, chevrons, or sunbursts. 

3. Bold and Daring Colors

Bold Pink Art Deco Bowl

Art Deco style was alive and well during the Roaring '20s, and the wide range of bright colors is a perfect representation of the times. For neutrals, black and white remained a favorite for checkerboard flooring, wallpaper, and clothing, with creamy neutrals such as beige and taupe introduced for Art Deco furniture and décor.  

There are two standout color palettes popularized in the Art Deco style. The in-your-face rainbow hues, such as canary yellow, peacock blue, rich green, vivid red, and royal purple, make up the lively hues used for statement pieces in Art Deco furniture and fashion. On the other hand, metallics, such as silver, gold, greys, or shiny blues, were prominent accent colors, adding instant glitz and glamor to any collectible.  

4. Stylized Figures 

Art Deco dancer figurines and jewelry

Art Deco style art depicts the human body in a very specific and stylized way. Both sculptors and painters would draw over-elongated figures. The neck, arms, torso, and legs would all be drawn with extra length, adding to the dramatic and stylish look of the time. If you collect old theatre playbills, original art, or collectible figures, keep an eye out for long and elegant forms. 

5. Materials

Most Art Deco furniture was made from wood, steel, glass, or lacquered wood. Every style of Art Deco furniture was made with a memorable shine to it, so every finish feels bright in any room of the house. Most Art Deco home décor items were made by hand and built to last, so these antiques are sturdy, stylish, and easy to spot.  

Pro tip: If you're in the market for a one-of-a-kind rug, loveseat, or pillow, search for exotic materials and patterns. Many Art Deco home décor styles featured worldly animal skins, such as zebra, cheetah, or leather. 

Common Accent Materials for Art Deco Style

Art Deco Tea Set with Blue and White Design

Everything from added Art Deco-style patterns to small handles on Art Deco furniture was often made out of an accent material, like:

  • Pearl

  • Metal

  • Ebony 

  • Ivory

  • Crystal

Why Decorate with Art Deco Furniture?

Owning a piece of Art Deco furniture is about more than the look—it makes the whole room feel rich with history and never goes out of style. The Art Deco style is renowned with artists, designers, and antique lovers alike, and adding a piece to your curated collection connects you to thousands of people who love this design era. 

Art Deco home décor has been an inspiration for designers for the last hundred years, and you'll notice that almost every piece complements modern furniture design. When you invest in Art Deco styles, you won't have to worry about a piece clashing with your existing interior décor—if anything, it'll elevate it! With sleek shapes, bold colors, and a brilliant shine, Art Deco designs tie together the home.

Are Art Deco Designs Valuable?

Since many Art Deco designs are close to a hundred years old, their antique value is increasing every year. The value can depend on the rarity and condition of the Art Deco home décor, but buying them can be a great investment. As long as you know where to look, there's Art Deco furniture and décor at every price point. 

Popular Types of Art Deco Designs

Art Deco light fixture
Art Deco Hanging Light Fixture

As you prepare to shop for your very own Art Deco home décor, there are plenty of items to choose from! Whether you're starting a collection or interested in starting an antique booth to sell Art Deco furniture yourself, you can find all these (and more!) at our antique mall locations:

  • Desks

  • Jewelry

  • Coffee tables

  • Lighters

  • Figurines

  • Radios

  • Chairs

  • Paintings 

How to Shop for Art Deco Home Décor

If the decadent Art Deco style tickles your fancy, you're in luck! Whether you're a regular at the flea market or prefer buying online, there are countless ways to shop for Art Deco furniture and décor. The next time it's time to spruce up your living room, or you need to find a unique gift for an art history lover, you can start your search for Art Deco designs.

Bright Art Deco Art with Tabletop Décor

When shopping for Art Deco home décor, the internet is all you need. If you have a specific item in mind or plan to sell vintage items yourself, you can scour different auction websites and communicate with online collectors worldwide—all from your own home! Many trustworthy sellers and sites use appraisal and authentication methods, so you can be sure what you're purchasing was made in the Art Deco style period before you have it shipped to your doorstep!

If you're looking for an in-person adventure to find the right Art Deco home décor, it's time to hit up your local antique mall! Whether you frequent your Highland vendor mall on the weekends or spot one on your travels, it's a great idea to stop in and have a look. Each mall has hundreds of vendors boasting all kinds of niche collections, so every search for Art Deco style is unique. With any luck, you'll stumble across your dream Art Deco home décor. 

Look for These 7 Art Deco Designers

Art Deco crystal bowl

The next time you stop by estate sales near you or stop in to wander the aisles of a Chicago antique mall, pay attention to the labels on each item you suspect to be Art Deco design. If you find any of these designer names, you've struck gold: 

1. Sonia Delaunay—a popular painter, fashion designer, and textile worker, Delaunay used vivid abstract shapes in her Art Deco designs.

2. Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann—a favorite interior decorator and Art Deco furniture designer known mainly for his unique desks, tables, and chairs.

3. Süe Et Mare—anyone who needed a comfortable yet modern Art Deco furniture design sang praises for this duo's work.

4. Eugene Printz—symmetrical, functional, and subtly creative, Printz's famed desks are a popular choice for Art Deco home décor fans everywhere. 

5. René-Jules Lalique—often called the "Father of Art Deco," Lalique designed eclectic and brilliant jewelry.

6. Tamara de Lempicka—known for sensual and colorful portraits of sophisticated women in the upper class.

7. Camille Fauré—beloved for his intricate enamel art with different vases and collectibles.

3 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Art Deco Styles

Once you find Art Deco home décor you love, it's time to decorate your home! There's no need to revamp an entire room with entirely Art Deco furniture (although you could!)—even one statement item can make a world of difference:  

1. Transform Your Office with Art Deco Furniture

Art Deco Design Brownie Cameras

Art Deco desks and chairs are often found hidden in the collections of antique mall vendors or posted online—so your home office is a great place to start! With interesting geometric shapes, decorative symmetry, and rich woods and metals, Art Deco furniture is the star of the show. Style your office with vintage Art Deco home décor glamour and feature a classic desk and chair set that complements the other room décor.  

Pro tip: To add history to your office space, set out a vintage phone design on the desk or bookshelf. Even if you can't take calls on it, it'll bring the Art Deco home décor together!

2. Upgrade Your Bedroom with Art Deco Designs

You deserve a bedroom that looks and feels as unique as you, and with Art Deco home décor, anything is possible. Almost every item in the bedroom could be replaced with an antique piece of Art Deco furniture, from the bedframe to the side tables to the vanity. Decide if you want to invest in a matching Art Deco furniture bedroom set or switch out one piece for a subtle pop of 1920s glitz. 

3. Add Art Deco Style Trinkets and Collectibles 

1920s picture in oval frame

If you prefer collecting smaller trinkets, there are many Art Deco home décor items perfect for every room in the house. Set out a rare Art Deco ashtray and lighter on your coffee table. Place matching salt and pepper shaker collectibles on your dining table or bust on your mantle. Line up your favorite Art Deco-designed figurines in a

display case—anything is possible!

When we think of the arts, architecture, and style from a hundred years ago, we can't help but remember the glitter and glam of Art Deco home décor. Why not incorporate some of that luxurious style into our modern lives? Whether you're new to the world of antiquing or this is old hat, learning how to spot valuable and stylish Art Deco designs is key to upgrading your home! 

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