Art deco wall colors

Updated April 17, 2017

After the first World War, the United States entered an era of optimism and prosperity, which was reflected in art deco, the prevailing aesthetic sensibility of the 1920s. Art Deco is characterised by sleek, modern neutrals and metallic accents contrasted with cool, muted colours and lively black and white patterns. Use art deco wall colours to create a 1920s-themed room or add a subtle vintage feel to any space.


Neutral colours, such as muted shades of cream, beige, taupe, grey and soft brown, are often used as the primary wall colour in an art deco room. Neutrals act as a canvas for more dramatic accents and help achieve the modern, streamlined feel that characterises art deco. A neutral wall colour can be paired with bright colours or black and white patterns for contrast. For a calm, relaxing atmosphere, create a monochromatic look with various shades in the same colour family, such as cream, tan and chocolate brown.

Cool and Bright

Cool, muted colours, in shades of blue and green combined with bright golden yellow, vivid purple and coral pink, are prominent in art deco design and reflect the energy and optimism of the 1920s. To avoid overpowering the rest of the room, colours should be used sparingly. Try painting a bright colour on one wall for accent, or using bright colours on furnishings and textiles. Pairing neutrals and bright colours, such as brown and pink or grey and green, can be visually interesting without being overwhelming. Likewise, complementary pairs of colours, such as blue and yellow, can create a bright, cheerful space.

Black and White

Black and white, primarily used in checkers, chevrons and animal prints, is a popular colour scheme in art deco design. Black and white tiles, textiles and wallpapers add a whimsical element and can coordinate with virtually any colour, bright or neutral. Add a black and white patterned border to the wall, or cover an entire wall in black and white wallpaper to break up a monochromatic room. For a dramatic effect, pair black and white patterns with cool blue or green.

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About the Author

Lane Madison is a freelance writer and editor with over eight years experience as a corporate paralegal. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and English and a paralegal certificate. Her writing has been published on various websites.