As we move into a new decade, we have a great opportunity to reflect on the past. Trends, styles, and tastes change with advances in technology, politics, and pop culture. Now that we’ve hit 2020, let’s take a look back at a time when design and furniture seemed to spring directly from the movie screen – 100 years ago, in 1920.
Furniture trends in 1920 could be described in three words: heavy, dark, and dramatic. Wood was widely used for everything from sofas to cabinets to beds. Large, detailed rugs (featuring 1920s-style geometric patterns commonly found in the Art Deco movement) covered cold hardwood or linoleum floors. Big fans of rich color, it wasn’t uncommon to find sofas and armchairs in jewel tones such as sapphire and emerald. It was during this era that sitting rooms were often used for social gatherings, so a sense of comfort, elegance, and opulence was highly desired and conveyed through their luxurious seating and accents.
However, lighting these parties was tricky since not every home had electricity. Homes not yet on the grid used oil lamps at night, whereas grander homes used electric chandeliers and light fixtures to illuminate their homes. But by the end of the decade, almost 68% of American homes had electricity. Glass was obviously a major component in lighting, as was the introduction of chrome – a sleek, silver metal that gained popularity for its modern look. These touches, in addition to glamorous additions like velvet cushions, showed how home decor was heavily influenced by the glitz of Old Hollywood. Similarly, innovations like airplanes and skyscrapers, as well as exotic locales shown in feature films, were featured in decorations and art pieces through the trendiest of 1920s homes.
Many of the styles of this age are still relevant today. Art Deco has come back into style – and some would say it never left. From geometric décor pieces accented with wood, glass, and metal to chrome accents in light fixtures, plumbing, and even art pieces, these staples of the 1920’s can easily be found in the most modern of homes. Large rugs used to tie a room together and keep chilly toes warm during the winter is a timeless look from the 20’s, as is solid wooden furniture that will last decades and serve as investment pieces for years to come.
Though 100 years seems like a lifetime ago (it is!), the recurring trends and themes show that certain looks are timeless and can transfer to the modern age, while still referencing beautiful design of the past. If you want to add some 1920s flair to your own home, look for geometric designs and plush, richly hued fabrics to channel the era of flappers, gangsters, and classic Hollywood with just a few simple touches.