As the exterior of many homes improved in the 1920s, so did the interiors, particularly for those who could afford the distinctive styles of Art Moderne and Art Deco. Many homes of this period were also decorated in the American Arts and Crafts style, which offered variations on the traditional Georgian and Colonial styles. Art Moderne and Art Deco were far edgier, and celebrated the modern love of machinery, clean lines, and a functional elegance.
Function and Simplicity
With a pared down elegance, bedrooms in the 1920s were based on simplicity, function and efficiency. Built-in bookcases, window seats and night tables meant less free-standing furniture, leaving the smaller rooms of Arts and Crafts bungalows feeling comfortable but not cluttered. On the more glamorous side, Hollywood-style bedrooms of this era were decorated with bold geometric shapes, bright metals and deep glossy woods. Designers used dark reds and bright yellows to complement the use of dark woods.
Chintz, Pink and Gold
Elsie Sloan Farley, a well-known interior designer of the 1920s, describes a bedroom she designed as having a deep "Nile green" on the beds and nightstand. This she set against a "pink and white [painted] wall," which complemented the deep green carpet and a chair and stool upholstered in chintz fabric. The dressing table and bench were painted in canary yellow, and the mirror and picture frames in gold. The bedspreads were in soft pink "with comforters in a soft wine shade" with "lampshades and accessories in pastel shades."
Though the effects were watered down by the time they reached the American market, in Europe the Bauhaus school's modern art and craft influence was being felt in interior design, most of it strictly modern minimalist. In the mid 1920s, Art Deco had become the new key interior style. The look was glamorous in feel and angular in shape, making use of strong geometric patterns, chrome and glass. Objects and buildings were clean-lined -- the Chrysler Building, built in the late 1920s, is still an iconic Art Deco image.
Other defining 1920s bedroom designs include nature motifs and exotic items of the Far East, Africa and Egypt. African safari motifs and animal skins were popular, as were ivory, pearl, tortoiseshell and peacock feathers. Defining designers of the era included Eileen Gray, an Irish furniture maker who worked in Paris, architect and furniture designer Le Corbusier, still greatly admired to this day, and Syrie Maugham, famous for her all-white interiors, who designed rooms for Noel Coward and for Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
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