Art Nouveau is a decorating style that celebrates Mother Nature. Motifs inspired by the natural world such as flowers, plants, birds and insects are represented with free-flowing, curvy lines and a feminine emphasis. Artistic expression is at the heart of Art Nouveau, which also launched the concept of modernism and contemporary style. Less clutter, clean lines and broad cultural influences became the principle design elements of the eclectic Art Nouveau style as the world moved into the 20th century.
Use decorative architectural features.
Artistic architectural features include Tiffany inspired stained-glass windows and decorative wrought iron railings along stairs and balconies with curvy, flowery designs. Trim on furnishings, doors, windows and walls feature decorative, curvy moldings and detailed corbels.
Elegantly curved, modern looking fireplace mantels and hand painted ceramic tiles with floral motifs added to a kitchen backsplash or fireplace surround are characteristic elements of Art Nouveau style.
Dress up walls with organic color, stencils or wallpaper.
Paint walls in natural, muted colors such as olive, mustard, lilac, almond, cinnamon, rust or sage. Use a nature inspired stencil to add a decorative motif such as flowers, ivy, butterflies or elegant, scrolling curves.
Cover an accent wall with Art Nouveau inspired wallpaper with designs such as Celtic knots, twisting vines or leaves.
Ceiling tiles can also be used on an accent wall. Choose tiles with floral designs and cover the wall with a single pattern or alternate between tiles with different floral designs.
Include a statement piece with artistic lighting.
One of the most influential designers of the Art Nouveau era, Louis Comfort Tiffany, helped perfect the art of making stained glass with milky, opaque and rainbow-hued effects in glass rich with variegated color. This high quality glass and the artistic designs depicting flowers, leaves, peacock feathers and dragonflies created from hundreds of individual glass pieces soldered together make Tiffany lamps truly a work of art.
Many modern lighting companies today re-create Tiffany’s most famous designs such as the Wisteria, Peony and Dragonfly in reproduction stained glass shades for chandeliers, hanging pendants, wall sconces, table and floor lamps. Other Art Nouveau style lighting fixtures feature twisting vines, organic, sinuous lines and delicately crafted, blossom shaped glass shades.
Finish with a few tasteful accessories.
Use artistic accessories to enhance the look of a room but be careful not to over accessories. A clean and uncluttered look allows accent pieces to stand out more.
- Anchor a conversation area with a large Oriental rug.
- Matt and frame art nouveau style prints to hang as wall art.
- Hang mirrors with intricately carved wood frames or iron frames featuring flowing, curved lines.
- Display a large bouquet of peacock feathers in an Oriental ceramic vase.
- Add flowering plants to a bookcase, hutch or mantel.
- Accent a sofa or chair with delicate, floral patterned accent pillows.
- Place iridescent art glass sculptures on wall shelves.
Following the simple rule of less is more leads to an enriched experience with vintage and antique home accents.