Appreciating the History and Design of Art Deco Furniture

The Features and Materials that Distinguish Art Deco Furniture from Other Styles

It is quite possible that you have heard or read the expression Art Deco, used in reference to a style of construction, fashion, or furniture.  It may also be likely that you are not aware of the characteristics that distinguish Art Deco from other styles; and in a lighter moment, some of you may even have speculated that Art Deco must be the name of the person who introduced this particular design.

For those who have a passing or active interest in learning more about this style, examining the history of Art Deco, especially as it relates to furniture, reveals an era of craftsmanship and design that remains very much in vogue today.

The launch of Art Deco, so to speak, is largely associated with the period immediately after the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris, France.  One of the influences behind the Art Deco movement was society’s optimism after the end of the First World War; this feeling of hopefulness and confidence about the future inspired the furniture designers of that era to incorporate broad-minded thinking, vibrant colours, and dynamic designs in their work.

Thus, the types of materials that you will frequently see in Art Deco furniture pieces include:

  • Marble table tops
  • Various exotic woods
  • Metals and polished metals
  • Lucite and Bakelite (i.e.: plastics)
  • Stainless steel, chrome, ivory, and glass
  • Fur, animal hide, and serpent skin upholstery

In terms of recognizing this specific style, there are a number of distinguishing features that will help you tell Art Deco apart from various other furnitu  re styles; these traits would be:

  • Elaborate wood inlays
  • Symmetrical or pointed lines
  • Bold colours, patterns, and prints
  • Elongated, smooth, and sweeping curves
  • Evident themes (animals, V-shapes, stars, etc.)

The Art Deco furniture style continued to gain acceptance throughout the 1920s and 1930s; however, its popularity began to wane by the beginning of the Second World War as it was felt to be too garish and extravagant in the face of that conflict.  This style enjoyed a revival beginning in the 1960s and, as a result, vintage Art Deco furniture, including custom-made reproductions, remains a popular and sought-after style with both homeowners and interior designers today.

Popular Features of Art Deco Furniture

Opt for Sleek Materials

The initial Art Deco furniture pieces were mainly made of exotic wood, but new designs have evolved to incorporate more readily available materials such as glass and wrought iron. If you want to incorporate Art Deco style furniture into your home, you should opt for sleek materials. You can then balance them with cozier finishes such as textured throw blankets or richly patterned rugs.

Go For Glam with Lighting

When it comes to Art Deco furniture, glam is the name of the game. Incorporating intricate lighting is an excellent way of completing your space. With this decorative detail, you can add visual interest and depth to the room. Choose Art Deco pieces with multiple geometrical ornamentation and shapes.

Choose Rich Woods

In the 1920s, Art Deco furniture pieces were made using rich, exotic woods such as burl walnut, ash, maple, mahogany, violet wood, and ebony. These coveted exotic woods give Art Deco pieces gorgeous elegance, deeper colour, and enhanced durability. If you want to add a statement with Art Deco pieces to your home, you should go for solid-wood furniture with eye-catching designs or geometric inlays.

Make a Statement with Mirrors

Art Deco designs were quite popular during the Roaring Twenties. Mirrored furniture pieces were the most glamorous and luxurious furniture investments and were incorporated into dressers, vanities, coffee tables, and more. The shiny, sleek edges of mirrored pieces have a dramatic effect on your space and will create a focal point for your existing room décor.

Lacquer Finish

High-gloss lacquer finish was used to treat woods to incorporate additional glamour. With this lacquer finish, these wooden pieces have a sleek and rich look.


Marquetry is another popular style, which involves covering a frame with veneer pieces to create decorative pictures, designs, or patterns. Marquetry was mainly used on dressers, dining tables, and armoires. Typical Art Deco marquetry patterns usually involve geometric shapes such as chevrons, sunbursts, and zig-zags.


The machine age of the 1920s was an era when manufacturing and industry experienced a significant boom. During this time, factories began producing products at high speed. The invention of sophisticated machinery resulted in the mass production of all types of products, including trains, planes, automobiles, and other products such as lamps, refrigerators, radios, and more. The machine age impacted Art Deco style furniture pieces and brought in a ‘futuristic machine’ aesthetic. This was attained using metal finishes and accents.


The richest buttery soft leathers were used in furniture pieces to maintain the theme of glamour and luxury. They were incorporated in sofas, armchairs, and ottomans in colours such as tan, brown, and black. However, leathers were also available in bold colours such as tangerine orange and cherry red.

A Superb Selection of Vintage and Custom-Made Art Deco Furniture for Your Home

If you have an interest in buying vintage or custom-made Art Deco furniture for that special room or space in your home, a visit to the Carrocel fine furniture store would be the ideal place to begin and end your search.

We have a stunning selection of Art Deco furniture and accessories for sale, including:

A sampling of the many beautiful Art Deco pieces currently available in our furniture store showroom consists of the following:

Vintage Art Deco Makassar Sideboard Buffet

Vintage Art Deco Makassar Sideboard Buffet

  • Constructed of Makassar with solid brass keys, keyholes, and centre-door detail
  • Interior has two drawers at the top, with storage shelves below and on the ends
  • Vintage Art Deco Makassar Sideboard Buffet

Art Deco Spiral Accent Table

Art Deco Spiral Accent Table

  • Comprised of a round wood top, petite bottom shelf, and four curved legs
  • Accentuated by a dark brown and blonde spiral pattern carried throughout
  • Art Deco Spiral Accent Table

Pair of Art Deco Lounge Chairs by Baker

Pair of Art Deco Lounge Chairs by Baker

  • Design has black wood on the top of the armrests and the backrest
  • Cloth fabric with a three-colour striped pattern and black brush trim
  • Pair of Art Deco Lounge Chairs by Baker

Carrocel Custom-Made Walnut Art Deco Style Dining Table

Carrocel Custom-Made Walnut Art Deco Style Dining Table

Set of 8 – 1940s Art Deco Dining Chairs with Wave-Back Feature

Set of 8 – 1940s Art Deco Dining Chairs with Wave-Back Feature

  • Each chair has a dark wood frame, tapered legs, and wave detail on the seatback
  • Upholstery is a navy coloured fabric with a light shimmer; all chairs newly restored
  • Set of 8 – 1940s Art Deco Dining Chairs with Wave-Back Feature

To gain a more complete appreciation of the Art Deco furniture now on display in the Carrocel store, including our custom-made pieces, visit our product catalogue and type Art Deco into the product search field.

Looking for a unique piece of Art Deco furniture to enrich the décor of your home or office?  Call the high-end furniture experts from Carrocel fine furniture today at 416-999-2525 or contact us to request a no-obligation consultation; and feel free to visit our 20,000 square-foot showroom, centrally located at 245 Bridgeland Avenue in Toronto, at your convenience.

You might also want to check our related posts:

1) The Hottest Trends in Art Deco
2) Understanding Art Deco Furniture

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