Interior design styles in brief (2): Art Déco, Modern, Retro

by tine sintermann on July 28, 2021

Art Déco - sophisticated, lush and avant-garde

Art Déco (short for French "art décoratif", meaning decorative art) is a style that had its heyday in the 1920s, especially in Paris. Its roots lie in the French Art Nouveau style, which can be well recognized by the rich decorations with stylized floral and organic elements. Art Déco reflects the awakening, lightness and experimentation of its time. Everywhere you can see stylized elements from Africa, China or Ancient Egypt. You can recognize Art Déco by the following characteristics:

  • clear, avant-garde design with geometric and symmetrical patterns and ornaments
  • mix of strong colors and polished surfaces, but also black and white
  • high quality materials like velvet, gold, precious woods, marble and steel


Modern - aesthetic, spacious and puristic

A modern interior style is characterized by clear shapes and subtle colors. The rooms are spacious, the furniture with clear shapes. Aesthetics and functionality go hand in hand here. Modern style is representative, timeless, but still cozy. Accessories, plants and other decorations are reduced and deliberately used. The individual elements are unfussy, do not overwhelm, but leave free space. A modern interior style is characterized by

  • puristic lines with large seating areas, chrome, stainless steel, exposed concrete and glass
  • neutral colors (white, gray, black) arranged in a balanced and clear way, completed with natural wood
  • plain palette with deliberately used color accents



Retro - innovative, colorful and psychedelic

Retro refers to the innovative interior style of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. Organic shapes dominated here, wildly combined with colorful and large-scale patterns. Retro classics include molded teak furniture, colorful plastic shell chairs and the famous kidney table. Form and function go new ways here, but the goal is a cozy overall look.

  • material mix of dark woods, chrome, leather and linen
  • seating furniture made of colorful plastic combined with molded wood furniture made of local woods
  • colorful, graphic patterns or floral patterns on wallpaper, tablecloths and carpets