The Reasons Designers Want You to Stop Trying to Make Art Deco Happen

It's time to move on

Front view of a living room and mantel with Art Deco decor elements

The Spruce / Marty Baldwin

Yes, the bold shapes and vibrant jewel tones of the Art Deco style have become synonymous with glitz and glamour. And in its very best form, it makes perfect sense. But, in its worst form, it can feel cold and dated.

We turned to the experts and asked Emma Sims Hilditch, founder and creative director of Sims Hilditch Interior Design, why should everyone stop trying to make Art Deco happen again?

  • 01 of 05

    It Can Feel Stark

    There’s a reason why trends like cottagecore and modern farmhouse are popular at the moment. We all want our homes to feel welcoming and warm, but Art Deco can have the opposite effect.

    “An overload of Art Deco can make a home feel too stark and unlived in,” said Emma. Right now, we all tend to prefer “a more classic and timeless aesthetic inspired by nature that evokes feelings of comfort and homeliness.”

  • 02 of 05

    It’s a Look That's Best Enjoyed Outside the Home

    Just like most people don't lounge around their home in pearls and sequins, there’s a reason Art Deco is often used in grand spaces like restaurants and nightclubs.

    “There may be a place for geometric opulence reminiscent of the Art Deco era,” agreed Emma. But “a home should be cozy, comfortable, and evoke a sense of emotion.”

    Unfortunately, geometric opulence and cozy rarely go hand-in-hand.

  • 03 of 05

    There’s a Fine Line Between Visually Interesting and Totally Dated

    As a style meant to evoke feelings of grandeur, it's basically built to be visually overwhelming. But instead of dizzying your friends and family, consider incorporating muted versions of Art Deco pieces into your existing style. Emma suggested something like, “a patterned wallpaper or an ornamental piece of fluted furniture.” 

    But she warns that “as soon as you start to incorporate too many zig zags, geometric shapes, and rich colors into one room it becomes very dated.”

  • 04 of 05

    Interiors Can Be Better When Multiple Styles Are Blended Together

    None of this means that you have to skip on the Art Deco accent piece you love. In fact, that might be the one time Art Deco shines. “Often, the most beautiful interiors are those that do not follow one single trend,” Emma told us. The most eye-catching spaces offer “a careful blend of eclectic pieces, considered fabrics, and functional design solutions.”

    If you do opt for Art Deco accents, Emma recommends that “these should be used minimally rather than overwhelming a room.”

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    There’s No Need to Stick to One Era

    Along with blending different styles, you can also incorporate different eras into your rooms. “Elements of Art Deco can look great when part of a larger interior design,” said Emma, whose team often layers Art Deco items with more contemporary pieces.

    “We like to incorporate features from different periods to add character and contrast to a room,” she said. Too much Art Deco can quickly take you from paying a small homage to “creating something that resembles a scene from the Great Gatsby.”

Art Deco can work well when elements of this style are carefully curated within home design, but too much can leave a room feeling stark and dated.

And, honestly, if anyone tries to seriously bring “old sport” back into the everyday vernacular, we’re going to need to have words.