The visual symphony of exuberant shapes and elegant finishes punctuate the iconic Art Deco movement — are they beginning to resonate again?
An entire century after its inception, Art Deco is making its way back into modern homes. However, its current iterations are appearing more understated, paying homage to the era while keeping timeless design in mind.
The bathroom is an easy place to begin adopting its defining features, so we’ve curated our essential Art Deco bathroom ideas below.
What is Art Deco?
Art Deco, short for the French term ‘arts décoratifs’, is a distinctly bold style that began in the 1920s. Extending beyond interior design, it permeated architecture, visual arts, and product design.
This exciting aesthetic was born at the conclusion of the First World War, aiming to add playful luxury to everyday life. It was also a testament to the progress being made in mass production, taking advantage of new materials such as stainless steel and reinforced concrete.
Art Deco is easily identified by its use of geometric shapes, striking lines, and symmetrical patterns. Artistically curved elements, such as the memorable fan and sunburst shapes, are also hallmarks of this style.
What colours are used in Art Deco?
Art Deco traditionally identifies with rich colours, such as reds, greens, and yellows, paired with metallic finishes like chrome or brass to achieve its notoriously elegant ambience. Neutrals such as black, pastel pink, and polished timber also feature throughout to balance the bolder hues.
To contrast the high-shine surfaces, velvet often embellishes Art Deco furniture to add a soft, inviting touch to lounges, chairs, and bed heads.
In the bathroom, there are a number of ways to make your space more Art-Deco-esque without needing to overhaul your entire design.
1. Art Deco Bathroom Taps
One of the most impactful art deco bathroom decorating ideas starts with your tapware, as your chosen finishes have the power to transport you back to the Roaring Twenties.
Madeleine Downs, Interior Architect and Designer at Maden Studio, says, “Be specific with your tapware selections — selecting tapware, showers, and accessories with an interesting detail, and mixing up the finish and opting for a bronze or gold option is always helpful!”
Fortunately, our range of brushed brass and brushed copper tapware can help you cultivate a time-honoured aesthetic, with the versatility to adapt to future style updates. The vintage flourishes of our Kingsley Provincial Collection can also infuse unique distinction into your space.
2. Art Deco Bathroom Cabinetry
If you’re committed to incorporating a historic hero piece, an Art Deco bathroom vanity will work wonderfully.
Downs believes, “Detailed joinery is a must — the cabinetry you choose for an Art Deco bathroom should not be a plain panelled cupboard. Opt for a shaker detail with cute handles in a ceramic or a bronze to match your tapware. If you can, add detailing to your benchtop by asking for a bevel or an ogee edge to your stone.”
If sleek is your style, a black shaker vanity with brass cabinetry handles will invite a modern element to the design. Alternatively, if a softer scheme is more appealing, a walnut timber vanity will instil the calming effects of the natural world.
3. Art Deco Bathroom Sink
The bathroom accommodates creative versatility — you can tailor your basin choice to either make a subtle statement or a conspicuous expression of the Art Deco era.
A marble basin or round gloss white sink will quietly nod to the elegance of the style, while coordinating with your surrounding features for many years to come. For those who dare to truly encapsulate the exuberance of Art Deco, a striking rectangular brass sink would sit proudly when top-mounted on your vanity.
4. Art Deco Lighting
Art Deco bathroom lighting offers an exciting avenue to set the mood of your space, while reflecting the optimism that underpinned this movement.
While it may not be viable to incorporate an opulent chandelier as per the set of The Great Gatsby, you can still foster ambience from above with a pendant light — find one that features geometric shapes and brass accents.
To promote visual diversity in your modern Art Deco bathroom, include lower-level lights in the form of wall sconces. Those with a glass or crystal finish will perfectly replicate the style while dispersing warm radiance throughout your bathroom.
5. Art Deco Bathroom Floor
If you’re renovating your bathroom or building a new home, the right Art Deco bathroom tile ideas will lay a confident foundation for your design.
Downs mentions, “Subway tiles never fail — subway tiles immediately create an Art Deco feel in the bathroom. Pair a simple white subway with their coinciding capping rail — this then gives the bathroom that extra detail that Art Deco is famous for.”
6. Art Deco Walls
Decorating your bathroom walls to match an Art Deco theme can be easily aligned with your tastes.
White or pastel pink paint softens your space, while emerald green, navy, or black can be used for a dramatic effect.
If you want to completely transform your space into an Art Deco escape, create a feature wall using removable bathroom wallpaper featuring metallic details or the iconic geometric fan pattern.
7. Art Deco Bathroom Decor Ideas
Art Deco bathroom accessories can be the finishing touch to your overarching theme, or they can be used alone as a muted reference to this extravagant era.
Stuart Clark, home expert at Victory Blinds offers some guidance. “Using designs with straight and sleek lines gives order and precision to your bathroom,” he says. “Try to incorporate bold triangles on artwork hanging on your walls or more subtly in towels.”
An Art Deco bathroom mirror is also a key piece, especially if you can source one in a unique, angular shape. “Use large Art Deco-style mirrors in your bathroom that take up a large proportion of the wall to add style and more light into your room,” continues Clark. A brushed brass mirror would also be a perfect match or one with LED lighting for extra illumination.
He says, “For smaller accessories like vases and frames, include hints of gold to ooze elegance.” Keeping these ideas in mind, each element should cohesively tie together the overall design.
The benefit of Art Deco is that it can be skillfully executed in contemporary homes without appearing overwhelming. Modify each element to achieve your design goals while making an unforgettable impression.
Interested in design throughout the eras? Check out the impressive comeback of 70s interior design.