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Art Deco Style Interior Design

By Michelle Radcliff

Art Deco style interior design has its roots in the 1920s and 1930s. This sleek style influenced
architecture as well as furnishings, sculpture, fashion, jewelry, and visual arts. Art Deco then
lead directly into the glamorous designs of 1940s Hollywood.

Art Deco History

Art Deco is a streamlined, geometric style which often includes furniture pieces with curved
fronts, mirrors, clean lines, chrome hardware and glass. This elegant style began as a Modernist
response in opposition to Art Nouveau style which featured elaborate, flowing natural forms
plus female imagery and Tiffany lamps.

Art Deco makes use of angular, balanced geometric shapes, such as the classic skyline imagery
of the 1930s Chrysler Building and Empire State Building. Renowned artists that helped to
define Art Deco style include Erte, Adolphe Mouron (aka Cassandre) and Tamara de Lempicka.

The term "Art Deco" is taken from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et
Industriels Modernes, which was a World's Fair held in Paris, France, in 1925, though the name
was not used until after the 1960s. It is therefore also called Style Moderne or 1925 Style.

The atmosphere of pre-World War I Europe was a major influence on this style, which was a
reaction to the hasty societal and industrial advances of the early 20th century. Paris was the
hub of Art Deco style, due in part to the artistic creations of Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, Jean-
Jacques Rateau, Eileen Gray, Edgar Brandt, Jean Dunand, René Lalique, Maurice Marinot and
After a 1926 hurricane ravaged Miami, Florida, architects designed whole city blocks in the Art
Deco style. This architectural experiment resulted in Miami's distinctive tropical influenced Art
Deco design.

Art Deco Style

Art Deco is thought to be a diverse form of Modern decoration with eclectic influences coming
from the primal arts of Aztec Mexico, Africa and Egypt, in addition to the powerful images of
the Hi-Tech Age, like radios and skyscrapers. For example, the 1935 Victrola is a vivid and
discernible Art Deco item.

Art Deco employs unique materials such as:

 Aluminum

 Inlaid wood

 Lacquer
 Shagreen

 Stainless steel

 Zebra skin
Design elements of art deco involve:

 Zigzagged and stepped patterns

 Sweeping curves and lines

 Chevron patterns
 Sunburst shapes
Art Deco was frequently opulent in nature and was often featured in cinemas, theaters and
ocean liners. A corresponding movement, called Streamline design, was taken from
manufacturing and scientific advances in addition to sleek, aerodynamic shapes. Following the
success of the Chrysler Airflow design of 1933, similar shapes began to be used for everyday
objects, like pencil sharpeners and refrigerators.
Mediterranean Style Interior Design

By Sarabeth Asaff
Kitchen and Bathroom Designer

Mediterranean style interior design evokes the romance and cornucopia of smells, tastes and
colors on the southern coast of Europe. The region's casual and friendly lifestyle is reflected in
the relaxed design, rustic furniture and wall textures. It's a colorful and pleasing design style
that brings a touch of the Mediterranean to even the most northern home.

Mediterranean Design Elements

Mediterranean style refers, roughly, to the design style of the south of Spain, Greece and Italy.
This region is known for its turquoise waters (hence, the cote d'azur), sparkling sunlit days and
vibrant produce and flowers. These elements are mirrored in Mediterranean design.

Unlike formal Parisian drawing room style or dark Florentine or Madrileno design,
Mediterranean design is more similar to Tuscan design; carefree and casual, emphasizing the
colors and textures found in the surrounding landscape. Nature is apparent in the architectural
elements and furnishings in Mediterranean style. Terra cotta tiles, rough-cut stone and pine
wood are all used liberally.

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The Colors of Mediterranean Style Interior Design

Mediterranean colors are vibrant and earthy. Yellows, oranges and deep reds mirror the
spectacular seaside sunsets. Lavender, deep purple (aubergine) and cornflower yellow evoke
the fields of flowers that cover the foothills, just up from the coast. Greens, from lush forest
green to light mint green, reflect the lush countryside.

Textures and Fabrics

The textures of the Mediterranean are rough and earthy, just like the colors. Walls are
customarily made of textured white plaster or stucco. Floors are covered with roughly finished
tile or plain pine planking. Large, dark wooden ceiling beams are commonly used, in stark
contrast to the white-washed stucco walls.

Water is another common Mediterranean design element, and many European homes include
a courtyard fountain or other water feature. North American homeowners can capture this feel
with a ceramic wall fountain or lavebo.

Furniture and Accessories

Mediterranean-style furniture reflects the casual lifestyle and community of the
Mediterranean. Light pine furniture is a signature of this design style, as are large pieces, such
as a plank kitchen table, suitable for eight to twelve diners. Mediterranean kitchens are always
open to neighbors and friends.

Large, usually pine, armoires are common - they were a necessity in 18th and 19th century
homes that had no closets. In modern homes, these massive pieces can double as
entertainment centers or linen closets.

Accessories in Mediterranean style interior design are also rustic and colorful. Door and
furniture hardware are often made of rough-hewn iron. Additionally, mosaic tiles, taken from
Spain's Islamic influences, are frequently found on tabletops, countertops and even stuck in
plaster as wall adornments. Smaller accessories are mostly useful items, such as copper and
iron cookware, colorful crockery and braids of garlic, peppers and onions. Flowers, either fresh,
dried or simulated, add another source of color to a Mediterranean room.
Minimalist Home Design

By Sarabeth Asaff
Kitchen and Bathroom Designer

Architects and designers who favor a less is more approach often support minimalist home
design. The concept of minimalism in buildings and interior spaces calls for the use of clean
lines, simple color palettes and unadorned surfaces.

Basics of Minimalism
The core goal of minimalist design is to break down forms and structures to their basic
elements. The straightforward nature of Asian design, particularly classic Japanese design, has
been one of the inspirations for minimalism. Famous designers who pioneered minimalist ideas
include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and members of the De Stijl Dutch art movement. Mies van
der Rohe focused on the exterior frame of buildings while adopting open floor plans on the

Minimalist designers and architects concentrate on removing dimension from spaces and
connecting the intersecting visual planes of the building. This leaves room to diligently plan out
the wide open spaces of the interiors. The initial push to rediscover pure forms is now
supplanted by the desire to instill a sense of calm, harmony, and spirituality in interior spaces.

The Art Nouveau architectural style developed in Europe between 1890 and 1914. This style
grew out of a rebellion against classical ideals in architecture and art. It was based on the
premise that nature was the best source of inspiration and aesthetic principals, or ideas about
beauty. The major characteristics of Art Nouveau architecture and art were curved forms and
ornate embellishments with shapes from nature. Art Nouveau styles were found not just in
architecture and paintings, but in the decorative arts as well, making it accessible to many
Proponents of Art Nouveau architecture turned against references to classical Greek and
Roman standards that had been popular during much of the 1800s. They were driven to throw
off strict and formal philosophies of art. Instead, architects who designed Art Nouveau buildings
found their inspiration in the expressive lines and shapes of nature, especially from flowers and
other plant life.
Curved lines and arches dominated the exterior of Art Nouveau architecture. An example is
Casa Batllo in Barcelona, Spain, which was redesigned by Antoni Gaudi between 1905 and 1907
in the Art Nouveau style. The exterior of Casa Batllo has curved, leaf-like balconies. The bottom
of each balcony has a flower design that can be seen from the street, and the lower floors have
undulating arches. Casa Batllo does not have many straight lines or geometric shapes, as even
the corners of the building are curved.

Another example of Art Nouveau architecture is the Hotel Guimard, built by Hector Guimard in
1912 in Paris, France. Guimard built the house for himself and his wife Adeline Oppenheim. The
windows of the Hotel Guimard are shielded by arches with root-like designs. A large balcony at
the top of the building has an elaborate wrought iron railing with flowery elements. The
entryway to the house has an arch with asymmetrical, floral designs.
Not only was Art Nouveau evident in external architecture but interior design displayed its
standards as well. Ornate moldings with relief sculptures of plants, flowers and birds were
characteristic of building interiors. Opulent, winding staircases were common as well.
Proponents of Art Nouveau intended it to be a non-elitist style of art that did not draw
distinctions between fine arts like painting and sculpture, and applied arts like ceramics and
metalworking. Art Nouveau style was applied to rugs, furniture, textiles, wallpaper, lamps
andgraphic design. For this reason, Art Nouveau was a style available to a wide number of
Post Modern Interior Design

By Kim Stone
Interior Decorator

If you like contemporary updates of styles from the past, then you will probably enjoy post
modern interior design. This contemporary style shuns minimalism in favor of decorative
surfaces and designs.

What is Post Modern Design?

Beginning in the 1960's and lasting through today, the post-modern movement took root as a
response to modernist design. This movement began in America and then spread
internationally across the globe. Post-modern designers tend to reject the functional, minimal
use of materials and lack of embellishment adopted by modernist designers. Seeking to free
themselves of restrictive rules, post-modernists place form over function when desired.

Another key theme in post-modern design is borrowing from the past to create eclectic designs
in architecture, furnishings, and interiors. Wit and humor are also common elements in post-
modern buildings and homes. Post-modernists seek to create comfortable spaces for the body,
mind, and soul. This results in a mixture of various design styles, unexpected design materials,
and unconventional angles. Post-modern design typically has an air of excitement and energy.

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Post Modern Design Details

Notable post-modern designers include Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, Philip Johnson, and
Robert A.M. Stern, to name a few. Some of the furnishings styles which define post-modern
design are Craft Revival, ergonomic furniture, and art furniture. Post-modern furniture
designer, Judy McKie, is known for her Craft Revival pieces which integrate stylized animal
themes in distinctive, sculptural shapes. McKie's expressive, handcrafted pieces can also be
described as art furniture due to her emphasis on beautiful shapes, images, and forms.

Ergonomic furniture includes post-modern pieces for both the home and the workplace. The
rise of the modern commercial office and the home office has lead to a need for comfortable
seating and work spaces. An example of post-modern ergonomic home furniture is the
Stressless® collection fromEkornes. Their recliner was introduced in 1971 with an emphasis on
comfort that provided proper support at the same time. Ekornes now offers their
contemporary sofas in styles and finishes that coordinate with the Stressless line of furnishings.
Their line proves that comfort can be stylish.

Art furniture employs form over function and includes unique designs such as pop art motifs
and whimsical themes. Often times, art furniture stands alone from its function like a sculpture
or object d' art. The furniture should be useful and somewhat functional, but the main purpose
of art furniture is to add interest to a room through a theme, color, or shape. Sculptural chairs
and coffee tables are common examples of art furniture. Bold shapes and interesting angles are
also a major element of art furniture pieces.

Some of the other trends inside the post-modern movement include:

 Classic modernism - borrows from the classical, graceful designs of the ancient

 Memphis style - started by Ettore Sottsass in the 1980's, this style promotes freedom
of expression in form and color.

 Deconstructivism - places emphasis on form and design without adherence to normal

structural rules. Frank O. Gehry's unique, whimsical designs are one example.

 High tech style - emphasizes the display of industrial and structural elements in a
noticeable or decorative way.