Art deco window treatments

In the 1920s, a new decorating style swept the world. Inspired by the 1925 Paris World's Fair, the "Exposition des Arts Decoratifs" put forth the name "art deco." The art deco style is characterised by crystalline structures, streamlined classicism and a sleek, mechanised look that includes metal-toned motifs, as well as Aztec and Egyptian motifs. These design principles are important to remember when creating your own art deco window treatments.


One of the keys to successfully carrying out an art deco theme in your window treatments is to select fabrics and patterns that invoke the modern feeling of art deco. Fabric colours used at the time were high contrast and inspired by Fauvist paintings. The predominating colours were pale colours such as cream or beige, which created a serene backdrop for vibrant and passionate accent colours. Contrasting colours should be vivid in orange, lime green, mauve, crimson and yellow.

Patterns should incorporate geometric shapes such as triangles, rectangles and circles. Popular patterns included zigzags and chevrons. These fabrics were often draped in a classical style to invoke elements of Greek or Roman architecture. The valances may be cut so that they fall with sharp angles or curves to reflect the desire for geometric shaping. Additional touches include silk tassels and fringing on valances and tie-backs.


Hardware of the time period reflected the modernist outlook of the roaring twenties. Traditional materials were rejected over "new" and "modern" manufactured materials. These materials included metals, which were selected to represent the machine age, or plastic such as Bakelite. During this time, lacquered furniture came into vogue as a way to give old wooden furniture the shiny appearance of Bakelite or other manufactured plastics.

Curtain rods can be made with the appearance of lacquered wood, stainless steel or plastic. Finials can be decorated with Art Deco motifs, such as cubist shapes, ziggurat ends or balls made of brass, crystal, polished and lacquered wood. The window itself may be covered with wide-slatted venetian blinds in pale wood, or painted with stained-glass effect window paints. Popular stained glass patterns were more abstract in keeping with the cubist movement of the time. They included patterns made from perfectly straight or angular lines and geometric shapes including sun bursts, clusters of grapes, palm-leaf and bell shaped flowers, landscapes and seascapes, repeating patterns of circles and squares, knot work with angles and corners and shapes reminiscent of a Chinese or Persian rug.

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