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Design Explained: Art Nouveau Vs Art Deco

I don’t know about you, but I get tongue tied even talking about Art Deco and Art Nouveau.  Both were popular early 20th Century movements which became popular interior design trends that have slowly made a come back over recent years.  But what’s the difference?  Can you tell your Klimt from your Erte?

The number one rule to remember is Art Nouveau is fancy and decorative, Art Deco is sleek and clean….

Art Nouveau

A popular movement ranging from 1880 to before World War I, Art Nouveau was the aesthetic answer to Europe’s new industrial age.  Adopting geometric shapes such as arcs and semi-circles, design is elaborately stylised.

Inspiration was taken from insects and mythical woodland, with Tiffany Lamp Fairies epitomising the trend.


Bring Art Nouveau style into your 21st century home with intricate, curved lines and natural woodland features like ivy and twigs.  Take inspiration from the Tiffany colour palette, or add finishing touches with beautifully crafted mythical figurines.

Art Deco

In its prime throughout the 1920’s and 30’s, Art Deco challenged the intricacy of Art Nouveau design, opting for sleeker, streamlined shapes and geometric patterns.  The movement saw more zigzags and sunbursts shapes as a result.  Paying attention to more modern materials like chrome, stainless steel and inlaid wood, the movement used natural materials more sparingly, with Zebra skins and fern leaves as popular choices.


Elements of Art Deco can look wonderful in today’s interiors with the use of sleek lines, and a monochrome palette.  Popular designers from the age such as Erte and Mackintosh can still be called upon for inspiration.

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