What Is Hollywood Regency Style?

Hollywood regency glam decor

Daniel Barnes / Unsplash

Hollywood Regency is an American interior design style that emerged in California in the 1930s, a product of the Golden Age of cinema that was inspired by the heady glitz and glamour of the silver screen. 

What Is Hollywood Regency Style?

Hollywood Regency Style (or Regency Moderne, or Hollywood Glam) is an American design style that was born in Hollywood, CA during the Golden Age of cinema in the 20th century. 

Greenbrier Hotel Hollywood Regency Style
Greenbrier Hotel designed by Dorothy Draper

Brinsley Matthews / Dorothy Draper & Co.

History of Hollywood Regency Style

Hollywood Regency style was a product of the Hollywood Golden Age of the 1920s-1950s, when film set designers built over-the-top dream interiors for the silver screen that looked great on camera with all of their attention to detail, color, texture, composition, and finishes. Sometimes called Regency Moderne, Hollywood Regency was an updated take on the interiors of the 19th-century Regency Era.

Hollywood royalty developed a taste for the polished glamour of the movie sets, employing interior designers like iconic 20th-century interior designer Dorothy Draper, actor-turned-interior designer William Haines, and Paul R. Williams to glam up their own homes in similar style, in turn popularizing the trend with the film-going masses. 

In that more glamorous era, stars weren’t doing no make-up virtual job interviews in their basement home offices to show they were just like the rest of us, but rather posing like larger-than-life movie stars in their movie set-worthy private residences. Hollywood Regency was part of an era where luminaries like Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, and Carole Lombard, to name a few, were still in the business of propagating Hollywood mystique and glamour. 

While Hollywood Regency coincided with the popularity of Art Deco, it remained a distinct style, eventually running its course as the International Style and Mid-century Modernism became the prevailing aesthetic. But Hollywood Regency will always appeal to maximalists, and has never really gone out of style. Hollywood Regency style continues to influence modern designers such as Kelly Wearstler and home decorators alike, who keep the classic Hollywood style current by mixing it with neutrals and balancing retro glamor with a slightly more pared down sense of modern luxe. Even those who don't wholeheartedly embrace Hollywood Regency style can add a bit of sophisticated to any room with a well-chosen piece of mirrored furniture, or another hallmark of the design style.

Hollywood Regency Style

Forbes + Masters

Key Characterstics of Hollywood Regency Style

  • Glamorous, luxurious, opulent, and playful in overall design and details
  • Interiors focus on luxury and comfort
  • An embrace of maximalism with layered, textured design elements and finishes
  • Features mirrored and metallic finishes on furniture, wallpaper and wall treatments, and decorative objects
  • Use of vibrant color and vivid, contrasting patterns to produce striking pairings
  • Signature use of black and white 
  • Characterized by the use of small scale furniture with slimmed down profiles
  • Uses lacquered and high gloss surfaces from furniture to walls to ceilings
  • Luxe accents such as fur (feel free to sub in faux fur), silk, and velvet
  • Focus less on furniture than accessories and styling
  • Embodies old school glam, elegance, and eclecticism
  • Often features Rococo-style or inspired furniture, including curvy velvet upholstered armchairs, slipper chairs, and skirted sofas 
  • Use of Chinoiserie, including faux bamboo on furniture and décor such as room dividers
Hollywood Regency Style

Maryna Terletska / Getty Images

Hollywood Regency Style Decor Tips

  • For a less commitment-heavy modern take on Hollywood Regency that's easy to live with, keep main elements like flooring and walls neutral and add glam touches in measured doses that can be swapped out easily
  • Nothing says Hollywood Regency like a vintage or modern gold sunburst mirror, an iconic design accessory that works in the living room, the bedroom, or any room
  • Incorporate mirrored furniture pieces, such as bedside tables or dressers
  • Add a vintage lucite bar cart or coffee table for some retro glam
  • Don’t shy away from gold and gilded accents
  • Dare to use bold, brash color accents, such as the era’s ubiquitous hot pink, emerald green, turquoise, and yellow
  • Temper flashy colors and/or rich jewel tones with black-and-white elements such as checkerboard tile flooring, zebra prints, or large-scale black-and-white photography
  • A vintage black-and-white framed photo of a Hollywood starlet is something that might have been found in an original Hollywood Regency interior design scheme, and still works with a wink and a nod today
  • Embrace (faux) animal prints such as leopard skin on floors, textiles, and upholstery
  • Incorporate lacquered accessories such as trays, vases, or larger furniture pieces such as credenzas that add shine and polish
  • Go ahead and install that statement crystal chandelier, or a pair of gilded vintage wall sconces to create flattering and feel-good Hollywood-style lighting