February 6, 2017
The shimmering glass sconce from Hudson Valley Lighting lends twentieth century charm to a modern bathroom.

Dear Debbie;
I love glitz and glamour, and have always been drawn to the “over-the-top” decorating style of Art Deco. I can’t afford to buy genuine furniture pieces that have lasted since the 1920s. I did inherit a leather chair from my grannie that has wood inlay on the sides. What would you suggest for imitating this style on a budget? Thanks for your fun tips.

Dear Georgina;

Art Deco is an exuberant, exciting style. It sprang out of the optimism of the 20s, when big statement fashion and décor blossomed. The furnishings and colours appear boastful and demand attention … look at me, I’m here and ready to go for the gold ring. I have always considered Art Deco a brave overall style, and imagine that you are outgoing and fun and love a sense of the dramatic. It’s important to note that you can replicate a mood or style in your home with a few well-placed pieces. It’s not necessary to be 100% pure to get the look.

Furniture of that era was sexy, produced with characteristic smooth curves, soft leathers, sleek wood and metal mixes, wood inlays and marquetry. (Your grannie’s chair is a wonderful example.) Think glossy, lacquered finishes, glass and mirrors, and exotic woods. You can repurpose a secondhand table that has slim lines with a few coats of high gloss paint, or a faux wood finish. Embellish an inexpensive dresser with a bright paint shade, red or orange, and a selection of luxurious-looking hardware such as mirrored handles. Upholstery and cushion fabrics featured sunbursts, and zigzags. Chevron patterns decorated wood floors, carpets, as well as fabrics. The chevron pattern is a popular choice today for wood floors. I have seen the pattern produced with a combination of wood planks and tiles too, which is truly stunning.

One of the most pronounced features of any style is the design and use of lighting. This could be your ‘splurge’ item. Oversized chandeliers and table lamps glimmered in coloured glass, jewel tones of ruby red, sapphire blue and golden yellow. Fixtures had a futuristic feel to them, fashioned with sleek lines in geometric patterns, constructed of shiny metals and cut glass. Shown here, the Albion LED Sconce from Hudson Valley Lighting is reminiscent of the era. The shimmering sconce has an array of polished crystal rods that are beveled on each end. Fluted cast metalwork holds the rods in a tapered formation. The sconce, and the clear makeup seat set the scene for vintage glamour in a modern bathroom.

Decorate the walls with an eye-catching Art Deco poster or two, or set up a montage of small images over the sofa. Check out the brilliant designs on line, colourful silhouettes, architecture sketches, fashionistas, trains and planes that are portrayed using the particular angles and vivid colours of the era. A collection of items from the twenties includes bold jewelry, perfume bottles, purses, hair pins, boxes and containers, books and memorabilia that can be put on view.

Keep your eye open for antique and estate sales. It’s a great way to source old finds that fit your style and pocket book. Your collection will grow over time, don’t rush it. Enjoy the adventure.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to You can follow Debbie on Twitter at, and visit Debbie’s new website,