How to Create Your Own Art Deco Furniture

Written by benna crawford
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How to Create Your Own Art Deco Furniture
Art Deco style makes frequent use of mirrors on walls and on furniture. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Art Deco style is a hybrid that borrows from Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Impressionism, cubism, Egyptology and other early 20th century influences. It's sleek, modern, glamorous and may be either spare or ornate. Art Deco surfaced from 1915 to 1945, and uses enamelling, mirrors, bright colours and angled geometric shapes as design elements. Give an ordinary second-hand dresser an Art Deco makeover that could be the beginning of a totally transformed interior design.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Low 3-drawer wood dresser
  • Clean rags
  • Fine-grade sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • High-gloss enamel
  • Clear lacquer finish
  • Rectangular bevelled mirror
  • Rectangular mirrored mosaic tiles
  • Strong glue
  • Mirror drawer pulls
  • Frameless wall mirror
  • Murano glass bowl (optional)

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  1. 1

    Remove all drawer pulls and take the drawers out of a low, 3-drawer dresser. Clean and sand the piece lightly to provide a good surface for new paint to grip. Cover the exterior of the dresser and the drawer facings with at least two coats of enamel paint, sanding lightly after each coat once it is dry. Liquorice-black is a good colour for an Art Deco piece, but clear lipstick red will work well, as will dove grey or pale green.

  2. 2

    Clear-coat all paint to protect the finish and give the piece even more shine. Use two coats of lacquer, sanding between coats for a smooth, reflective finish.

  3. 3

    Glue a rectangular bevelled mirror on the top centre of the chest and surround it with small, rectangular mirrored tiles. Use a strong adhesive and follow manufacturer's instructions to let the glue thoroughly dry. Bags of small mirror tiles come in several shapes and colours. Use a colour that contrasts with the paint colour for a decorative mirror border, or stick to plain silver.

  4. 4

    Replace old hardware with mirror drawer pulls and put the drawers back in the dresser. Position the transformed dresser as a sideboard in a dining room or as an entryway cabinet in a foyer. Hang an Art Deco-style mirror over it -- a frameless mirror in the stepped shape of the Chrysler Building would be ideal, but any geometric mirror will work.

  5. 5

    Set a colourful Murano glass bowl on the mirrored surface to hold keys in an entry or fruit in a dining room.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of coloured lacquer, paint a small chest metallic silver, protect it with clear lacquer and add the mirror embellishments.

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