Written in 1925, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is set in the roaring twenties, the decade when interior designers were first used. Their influence made houses much more glamorous, and dream homes were created. Homes became modern and fun as well as extremely sophisticated.
Modernism was taking off and shocking the world with its pared down almost harsh look. In the middle of the decade, Art Deco showcased and became the major new thing, lasting way into the 1930’s. The Art Deco style is characterised by feminine curves and flowing lines, lots of masculine iron work and walls accented my geometric designs. Art Deco used various decorative motifs, notably lightening bolts, wheels, chevrons, fans, sunrays, circles, pyramids and waterfalls.
Art Deco was influenced primarily by speed and movement as technology around high speed transit was rapidly mushrooming, surfaces became polished, sleek and shiny. Curves were replacing rights angles and soft colours such as aqua, pink, peach and the many shades of white were beginning to rule this movement. There is an almost masculine feel to the Art Deco period which also has a romantic air about it.
Along with modernism and Art Deco, early Hollywood, the glamorous and glitzy world of the silver screen also filtered through to interiors. Think cocktail cabinets and crystal decanters!
One of the most definite styles of the era was the use of geometric shapes in everything from fashion to architecture to interior design. Renowned fabric house Zoffany brought out their latest collection of wall coverings, Lexington alongside the release of The Great Gatsby movie. Lexington introduces ‘scatter’ beads (applying fine translucent beads to the surface of the design), creating a luxurious sparkling effect on classic and elegant designs.
The collection features a geometric sunray pattern, a stunning damask of fountains, and a subtle smart graduated stripe, along with Vienna, which is definitely one of our firm favourites in the studio! With a thick mosaic pattern arranged as rows of overlapping colours, this paper reflects the rich façades and tiled interiors of 1920’s buildings. Available in 10 colour ways this paper would provide a stunning dimension to any room scheme! Art Deco is all about symmetry and balance which you can capture using wallpaper like these below……
Or why not use this exquisite bevelled mirror design by Cole and Son recreating a modern twist on the trend for antique glass? Printed on foil, this design comes in 6 subtle reflected shades of aged silvers, rusted bronze, faded blues and amethyst, and would form the perfect paper for a feature wall.
During this decade walls in most rooms were painted in plain and light colours, while ceilings were often painted in high gloss. Teaming whites and off-whites with subtle blues will create this beautiful monotone serene feel. One of Designer’s Guild latest collections, Seraphina plays with muted indigos combined with a sleek oyster colour palette, rich damasks, heavy linens and raw silks. The emphasis is very much 1920’s and the style is clean, simple and very easy to live with.
Bold colours were also used, especially in halls, and virtually always in combination with black. Green was the most used colour, so to recreate the bold stylised look of the jazz age choose a bright and full of life green.
The early Hollywood influence on the twenties is evident in the popularity of shiny, luxurious fabrics like silks and satins. I would advise not using any strong florals when trying to create an Art Deco inspired room. The fabrics in this style are usually either shiny solid colours or geometric designs. Patterned satin or silk cushions with piping and tassels were more the look.
The Cymbeline Velvets collection, also by Zoffany, features velvets layered with silks and linen. Two velvet designs make up this collection, where soft shades, texture, and depth result in an overall style that is both modern and elegant. One of these designs features a stunning fan like design perfectly tying in with the decorative motifs used throughout this era. The Cymbeline collection is available to view in our webshop, please click http://bit.ly/12y63KR
Top Left: Zoffany Cymbeline (Linen), Top Right: Romo Estella (Azure), Bottom Left: Romo Ziani (Wasabi), Bottom Right: Zoffany Cinnebar – Silver and Centre: Osborne & Little Ibis (Fuschia)
Designers such as Colefax and Fowler date back to the early 20th century and many of their fabrics are in twenties design. Lasalle combines a subtle floral motif with a bold geometric pattern, and this luxurious silk fabric would make ideal curtains which are sure to bring the glamour of the 1920’s to any interior.
Furniture consisted of strong, streamlined shapes, and often in single pieces rather than suites. Reflective furniture was all the range in the twenties and this antique mirrored sideboard is a perfect example. This type of furniture creates a real statement piece in a room and similar designs would have been found in the homes of the high society living in this era. Falling in line with the shiny fabrics and reflective surfaces was the popularity of polished metal such as chrome. Adding leather to this finish instantly creates a more masculine chic décor.
Furniture was British born Interior Designer Syrie Maugham’s speciality. French antiques in particular, which she would strip back, paint and glamorize. A trend which we see again and again now a days! The appeal of high gloss furniture evoked a sense of décor glamour and drama into a room.
If the floor didn’t consist of ornate decorative tiles, it would have almost certainly been over laid with a large geometric patterned rug. Why not go for a large circular one as the centre piece to a room?
Nothing has the ability to add more glitz and glam to a room than a few stunning chandeliers, and these unique twenties-inspired versions will cast a glittery glow from wall-to-wall.
Plenty of low key accent lighting such as lamps and wall scones were often used to create a romantic setting. Lamps were often mirrored like the one shown below, to add a real flapper look why not add a tassel fringe to the bottom edge of the shade? To channel the more masculine chic décor, go for a fabulous 1920’s inspired standing movie lamp.
Adding a striking painting or accessories in materials such as tortoiseshell and mother-of-pearl will give touches of opulence, but avoid cluttering. Mirrors were also a big accessory during the Deco period so either big or small, round, jagged or triangular they all make a great contribution to a wall in your room.
The frivolity and glamour of the Roaring Twenties, the era in which The Great Gatsby is set, has been intoxicating, and it is from this vivid setting and the likes of Syrie Maugham and Dorothy Draper that many designers today get their inspiration from. If you are not looking to do a complete redesign of your home, you can still add hints of 20’s-inspired décor with the odd glamorous home furnishing or accessory. I hope this post and products shown show you the beauty of 1920’s design and encourage you to place some twenties style in your home that will pay homage to the Great Gatsby era!
All products available at the Amy Nicholas Interiors shop.