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Ideas & Inspiration

3 Styles From The Last Century You Can Incorporate Into Your Home Today

by DecorMatters|updated Aug 16, 2022

Regardless of what your psychologist may tell you, living in the past isn’t always bad. Sometimes, borrowing tastes or ideas from a previous century can serve you very well in styling the present.

antique mirror, black leather sofa bed, white and black plush rug

📸: @tiffwang_

Whether it be an antique lampshade from the roaring 20s or posting up an animal print wallpaper from the 40s, we can always look back on common architectural and design styles to gain inspiration for what we want to create today in our homes.

So, without further adieu, here are our three favorite design styles from the last century and a few tips on incorporating them into your home.

Modernism: 1900s to 1940s

‘A house is a machine for living in,’ said the mouth of Swiss architect and designer Le Corbusier, a known pioneer and almost the man to blame for the uprising of Modernism.

If we took a quick trip back to the early 1900s, we’d be surrounded by living rooms that prioritized elegance in all its forms, clean lines, bold colors, and a clear sense of simplicity.

Light and beige living room, skylight windows

📸: @maychamber_living

Modernism in interior design prioritizes organized and uncluttered spaces that are functional in every aspect and bring a feeling of clear headed-ness with a relaxing ambiance.

Modernism-up Your Living Space

Less is more - don’t crowd yourself with decorative elements.

As Modernism prioritizes a minimalistic and clean approach to a space, the fewer decorative elements you use, the better. Ensure the pieces you choose for your home are pieces you love. Invest more in a few good pieces rather than a lot of little ones you feel neutral about.

textured ceiling, textured green wall, nursery

📸: @sarahshermansamuel

Celebrate materials in every form.

Do you have any concrete you may be able to expose in the dwelling of your home? Or can you get in touch with your creativity and paint walls in different textures than just with a traditional paint rolling pin? If you’re stuck and need inspiration, go outside and explore the city you live in. Look at what the architects around you have used in their designs, and see if you can pull together materials for your walls, furniture, or decor based on the minds of others. If you’re too lazy for a walk, look no further, we’ve had a chat about this before.

Art Deco 1920s to 1940s

Bring Great Gatsby vibes to your everyday life as we swiftly turn our heads towards Art Deco.

When we think of Art Deco here at Decormatters in interior design, we think of geometric patterns, symmetry all-around, rich colors, stained glass, animal-print wallpaper, and luxurious decorative pieces or furniture.

Bold, Vibrant Bedroom, Orange, red, geometric shapes

📸: @ruggable

Treat your space as a person who needs a significant confidence boost because that’s precisely what this style pervades. Turn this guy into someone with boldness, confidence, and a downright bad-ass.

Add Bold Art Deco Vibes

Go big with animal motifs.

Geometry was a vast go-to for this era, so to take it to the next level, one could use wallpaper with animal motifs in bold colors to stand out and bring the confident Art Deco feeling to the home. In today's world, leopard print walls speak glamour and luxury. If committing to an entire wall is too much for you, opt for some cushions that are covered in an animal print design.

Work with geometric patterns.

Bold colors, blue couch, painted wall, orange, yellow, pink

📸: @lizzie_darden

If animal print is not your thing, we understand. It's a bold move, and even though we implore you to bring boldness to this style, we get it –- it's not for everyone. So instead, you can opt for working alongside the familiarity of geometry. Either search for geometric wallpaper online or at your local store or utilize geometric shapes in your furniture choice. You could add a geometric sideboard or a triangular mirror in your hallway. Don't be afraid to work with many different forms; you'd be surprised by what you can create.

Mid-Century Modern 1930s to present

The Mid-Century Modern design style has not left our side in almost a century. This makes it a pretty safe and timeless design choice when it comes to restyling your home, especially if your budget only gives you one shot to do so.

Egg-shaped mirror, beige carpet, wood accents

📸: @latishalyncarlson

It never loses its class. Have you ever watched Mad Men and wished the home was your movie set? We know we have. And in recent years, Palm Springs, California, has become a photographer's dream destination to capture stunning mid-century architecture.

It's classy, chic, elegant, easy to implement, and it's here to stay.

Mid-century Modern It Out!

Bring back the wood.

Wooden mantlepieces, wicker cabinets, bamboo side tables, or rattan bedframes: Whatever stain, whatever color, find some wood, and bring it in! The Mid-Century Modern house used so much wood we wonder whether any trees were left in the forest. You can even upcycle a bargain at secondhand stores and give it a new coat of varnish to liven it up.

Wooden dining room table

📸: @devon_grace_interiors

Implement earth tones, warm colors, and consistency in your color palette.

This era was all about warmth and class, creating a comfortable and cozy home that served as a place to entertain. This may be due to the height of mid-century modern peaking during World War 2 when most people needed a comfortable place to be amongst the chaos happening overseas.

Here are some color recommendations we’d recommend you choose for your palette if you’re looking for a mid-century modern feel in your home:

  • Warm yellows and oranges
  • Teal and turquoise
  • Reds and pinks
  • Earthy greens
  • Brown and beige
White dressing table, black round mirror, candle, decor

📸: @staceys_home_touch

So the next time you’re looking to shy away from the cookie-cutter design styles in our world today, have a look behind you and don’t be afraid to create a downright carbon copy of homes that existed 100 years before you were born.

They’re still around for a reason, so let’s keep them timeless and incorporate them into our world today!

Check out the DecorMatters blog for more design style inspiration--and the DecorMatters web app to start your project. 

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