Art Deco furniture conjures images of the Roaring Twenties with its sleek geometric shapes, luxe materials, and air of sophistication. While authentic Art Deco pieces can command lofty prices at auction, there are ways to get the iconic style for less. With some savvy shopping and DIY refinishing, you can furnish your home with gorgeous Art Deco style on a budget.
Where to Find Discount Art Deco Furniture
Searching for discount vintage and antique furniture takes some persistence, but the thrill of the hunt is part of the fun. Here are some of the best places to scout out deals on Art Deco furnishings:
Estate sales are a prime venue for finding Art Deco treasures. When entire households are liquidated, the furniture is often priced to sell. Arrive early for the best selection and be prepared to act fast if you spot a must-have piece. Negotiating is expected, so make an offer if the price isn’t listed.
Don’t overlook thrift stores in affluent areas. Some surprisingly stylish Art Deco finds can turn up in these charitable resale shops. From ornate mirrors to sleek buffets, thrifting takes an eagle eye and patience. Go often to increase your chances of scoring the perfect Deco item.
Check consignment stores in modern, vintage, and antique categories. The scale of inventory can bring hidden Art Deco gems. Timeless Deco designs tend to get rediscovered by each generation. Ask when new stock arrives to plan timely visits.
Searching through flea markets takes time but is rewarding for vintage furniture. Look for sellers specializing in architectural salvage or mid-century modern styles. Haggling is standard so make an offer below asking price. Flea markets are ideal for finding Deco accents like lamps and decorative objects.
Scour local Facebook Marketplace listings for Art Deco furniture offered in your area. Vintage oak desks and dressing tables surface frequently as homes get updated. Examine photos closely and don’t hesitate to ask questions about condition and dimensions.
Check auction listings at small local houses for undiscovered Art Deco finds. Study the catalog ahead of time and inspect offerings thoroughly in person before bidding. Auctions are best for getting unusual Deco pieces below retail. Go on weeknights to avoid crowds.
Living Estate Sales
Living estate sales advertise when homeowners are downsizing and holding on-site sales. They are often willing to negotiate to avoid moving pieces. Deco furniture sized for expansive spaces of the 1920s and 30s can turn up at living estate sales.
When a move is the catalyst for a sale, furniture may get priced to sell quickly. Watch for garage and yard sale listings mentioning a move. Deco furnishings that no longer work in the owner’s new home could be perfect for yours. Ask if they have additional items not listed yet.
How to Spot Authentic Art Deco Furniture
When evaluating potential Art Deco finds, look for these hallmarks of the style:
- Sleek geometric forms – zigzags, chevrons, sunbursts
- Luxurious materials like exotic woods, glass, chrome
- Elongated vertical shapes, accentuating height
- Curved fronts, pebble graining, inlaid designs
- Molding or banding outlining edges of pieces
- Iconic motifs like fans, flames, dancers, flowers
- Rich moody finishes like macassar ebony and paldao wood
- Original hardware fitting the era like bakelite knobs
Quality construction including dovetail joinery on drawers and weighty solid woods point to genuinely vintage pieces. Compare any markings to known furniture maker’s marks to confirm date of production.
Research the style characteristics and common shapes of different Art Deco furniture types as well. Distinct profiles like a waterfall front on vanities or kidney silhouette in desks are hallmarks of Art Deco appeal.
Art Deco Furniture Types to Find on a Budget
Many different furniture forms take on the sleek Deco aesthetic. Expand your search to diverse pieces for budget-friendly ways to incorporate this design style:
The elegant lines of Art Deco style translate beautifully to dining tables. Look for small rounded pedestal tables, especially in rich woods like mahogany. Or seek out expandable tables with self-storing leaves to accommodate dinner parties.
Iconic Deco dining chairs feature curved back splats, waterfall seat fronts, and tapered legs. Upholstered or leather versions add comfort while maintaining the spare geometric lines. Dining chairs are easily mix-and-matched to build a set over time.
Buffets and Credenzas
The horizontal shape of buffets and credenzas suits the Deco aesthetic. Original examples in woods like walnut or exotic rosewood can be discovered at thrift stores or sales. Look for characteristic inlaid wood designs or chrome detailing.
Deco style sideboards project a sleek, low silhouette. Search for examples with rounded corners, polished metal drawer pulls, exotic veneers, or tambour doors. Simple floating shelves on each end lend a light, airy accent.
Cabinets and Chests
Compact cabinets and chests flourished in Art Deco, fitting the smaller spaces of apartments and homes. Search for petite versions with striking grain patterns or glossy lacquer finishes. Deco motifs like chevron patterns or sunray pleats embellish many.
The broad kidney or U-shape of Art Deco desks looks dramatic yet takes up minimal floor space. Search for stylized supports like splayed legs or curved metal. An integrated desk chair with Deco flair completes the look.
Vanities and Dressing Tables
The waterfall front and oval or arched mirrors make Deco vanities distinctive. Look for marble tops, glass knobs, and a padded bench for a boudoir. Tripod bases, like matching dressing tables, epitomize Jazz Age style.
Nightstands and End Tables
Compact Deco nightstands and end tables suit small spaces. Ideal examples feature chrome hardware, exotic veneers, or lacquered finishes in black, green, or ivory. Graceful curves and iconic sunburst patterns capture Art Deco panache.
Sofas and Chaises
Seek out Deco sofas with low profiles, track arms, and tight upholstered backs. Carved frames and tapered legs lighten the look. Chaise lounges epitomize Art Deco glamour – look for ones with rolling ends or curved profiling.
Affordable Ways to Repair Art Deco Finds
Part of the hunt for budget Art Deco furniture is being open to pieces that need some TLC. Damage like worn finishes, loose joints, or torn upholstery should not deter you. Many flaws can be repaired using these DIY methods:
Art Deco wood pieces often need minor or major refinishing. Try using chemical strippers to remove layers of old lacquer or thick paint treatment. For veneered surfaces, stick to gentler abrasives like steel wool.
Use mild cleaners and metal polishing creams to revive the gleam of chrome, nickel, and silver accents on Deco finds. Test products first on inconspicuous spots before applying overall.
Regluing Loose Joints
Check drawers and legs on pieces to make sure joints are sound. Use carpenter’s wood glue formulated for the specific wood type to resecure any loose joinery or veneer. Add small metal corner brackets on the interior of drawers and cabinets for extra strength.
Patching Veneer Damage
Missing veneer spots on Deco finds can often be filled in. Use a veneering kit with adhesive sheets in a matching wood grain to patch holes and cracks. Affix the veneer replacement and trim carefully for an invisible repair.
Reupholstering Seat Cushions
Update thrifted upholstered Art Deco seating with new coverings or cushions. Use a staple gun or heavy duty fabric glue to adhere new material cut to fit snugly. Refer to online reupholstering guides for tips.
Many vintage Art Deco table lamps just need basic rewiring to restore function. Replace old cloth covered wiring with modern lamp cord and switch. Check connections and the lampshade fit before using.
Tightening Loose Hinges
Doors and lids on credenzas or vanities can sag over time. Tighten the screw joints securing each hinge, and add thin washers if needed to take up any extra play. Test operation before loading pieces up.
Art Deco Style Paint Colors
Sometimes a fresh coat of paint is all a budget find needs to channel Art Deco allure. Lean into iconic Deco color trends with:
- Luscious ivory, cream, or soft white
- High gloss black or inky charcoal
- Silver, gold, and metallic champagne
- Vibrant jewel-toned colors like ruby red or sapphire blue
- Two-tone combinations like black and white, grey and pink
Look to period Deco color schemes like Moderne palettes for style-appropriate shades. Use finishing products like high-gloss lacquer or metallic paints to emulate a luxe Art Deco feel on budget finds.
Art Deco Hardware Updates
Swapping out hardware for Deco-style options instantly elevates basic furniture. Try adorning budget finds with:
- Glass knobs or pulls with etched Deco designs
- Oversize round chrome bar pulls on drawers and doors
- Angular black plastic or bakelite handles
- Curved chrome drawer pulls for a streamline accent
- Hoof feet or splayed tapered legs in metal
Updating door hinges to an eye-catching piano hinge made of polished metal or painted to match also nods to Art Deco styling.
Decorative Accents to Complete the Look
Once you’ve sourced some furniture steals, complete the glamorous Art Deco vibe with decorative accents:
- Geometric mirrors with curved profiles or cutout patterns
- Marble, glass, chrome or lacquered tabletop objets
- Sculptural urns, vases and lamps in glossy black or white
- Framed graphic prints in bold contrasting colors
- Macrame, shagreen or glass wall hangings
- Throw pillows and rugs with Deco motifs
- Fringed, beaded or fringed lampshades
With a discerning eye and clever enhancements, you can furnish rooms with sumptuous Art Deco style without breaking the bank. Happy treasure hunting!
Five Key Features of Art Deco Furniture Design
Art Deco furniture stands out through bold geometric forms, lavish materials, and sleek streamlined shapes. If you are seeking discounted vintage pieces, what are the quintessential hallmarks to look for?
Sleek Angular or Curvilinear Shapes
The most distinctive aspect of Art Deco furniture is its sculptural shapes. Classical ornamentation was stripped away in favor of abstract angular or softly rounded geometric forms. Iconic zigzag, chevron, and sunrise motifs epitomize these radically modern contours.
Clean vertical lines and asymmetry also dominate the Deco aesthetic. This embraced the influences of Cubism, African art, Ancient Egyptian motifs, and the rhythms of jazz music. Deco shapes manage to feel both spare and visually dynamic at once.
While pared down in ornamentation, Art Deco furniture spared no expense when it came to exotic, opulent materials. Ebony, mahogany and rosewood lacquered to a ultra high gloss were used lavishly. Deco pieces often mixed luxurious materials, such as chrome accents on ebonized wood furnishings.
Rich macassar veneers with distinctive graining were prized. Marble, glass, and leather upholstery added more sumptuous texture. Shiny Bakelite and mirrored surfaces gave a liquid look popular in the 1920s and 30s.
Focus on Vertical Lines
Art Deco celebrated verticality and the skyscraper era. Furnishings emphasized upward movement through soaring silhouettes, tapered pedestals, and towering forms. This dynamic sense of energy embodied modern city living.
Tables, cabinets and vanities were often raised slightly on pedestals or slender carved legs. Vertically striped details, overlapping planes, and ascending sunburst patterns all alluded to upward motion. The vertical thrust energized Deco’s abstract geometry with a rhythmic vitality.
The quest to appear fast and aerodynamic influenced the streamlined look of Art Deco. This is seen vividly in the rounded ‘waterfall’ edges that began appearing on tables, cabinets, and vanities in the 1930s.
Smoothly contoured furniture eliminated ornate carvings and heavy moldings. Legs tapered to razor thin dimensions or were eliminated for airy floating effects. Deco pieces evoked speed and weightlessness even when stationary.
Contrast and Patterning
While Art Deco embraced abstraction, it often relied on rich patterns to animate surfaces. Contrasting exotic woods were bookmatched to create striking symmetrical effects on doors and tabletops. Crisscrossed grains formed grid and chevron patterns that aligned with the modernist aesthetic.
Inlays of chrome, lacquer or marble provided eye-catching color blocking. Ebony furnishings popped with milky glass, mirror or ivory accents. This interplay of materials and patterns brought dynamic visual interest to minimalist forms.
These five principles united the diverse furniture of the 1920s and 30s under the mantle of Art Deco style. Keeping an eye out for them is key to spotting budget friendly vintage Deco furnishings. Mastering what makes this iconic style distinct allows you to furnish your space with its sleek elegance for less.
Affordable Art Deco Style Options for Every Room
Art Deco’s refined yet dramatic allure suits an array of interior spaces. Fortunately, hitting the thrift and consignment store circuit makes it possible to adorn every room with Deco panache on a budget. Here are some style ideas for infusing each area of your home with Jazz Age glamour.
Sofas: Track arm silhouettes with tight, vertical tufting work well. Go for low, deep profiles that don’t obscure the architecture. Neutral linen or velvet are sophisticated choices.
Lounge Chairs: Search for a compact slipper chair with low rounded back. Choose a sculptural frame on legs, ideally with Deco motifs carved into the wood.
Coffee Tables: Opt for a kidney shaped table with wood finish matching your credenza. Or try a circular three-legged nesting tables for flexible seating arrangements.
Media Cabinets: Look for short and long credenzas with chrome legs and Tambour fronts concealing storage. Or wall mount a floating media console with glass shelves.
Accent Tables: Deco detailing transforms basic end tables. Lacquer glossy black or ivory, or pick tapered wood legs over block feet. Inlaid wood surfaces or sunburst mirrors make great tabletop décor.
Dining Tables: Expandable rectangular tables suit casual and formal occasions. Round pedestal tops with self-storing leaves also work. Go for sleek wood finishes like ebony, mahogany or walnut.
Dining Chairs: Curved, scooped out backrests and waterfall seat edges define Deco. Upholstered seat pads and nailhead trim add comfort and polish. Tapered black metal legs have timeless appeal.
Sideboards: Look for short credenzas allowing dinnerware display. Inlaid wood surfaces and chrome hardware keep the look light. Glass door fronts or mirrored bar backs have great presence.
Pendant Lights: For centers of interest, try curved chrome dome lights. Fixtures with alternating black and ivory glass shades or clear Lucite also epitomize Deco dining lighting.
Beds: For drama, consider a black lacquer bed frame with inlaid mother of pearl detailing. Upholstered headboards with Deco piping motifs work too. Lean into the low, streamlined shape.
Nightstands: Compact black and gold night tables evoke glamour. Round tops provide contrast to the room’s vertical lines. Drawers with chrome pulls keep bedside storage slick.
Dressers: Look for the hallmark Deco ‘waterfall’ shape, enhanced by angular legs. Striking woodgrain veneers like macassar ebony or contrasting glossy finishes capture Art Deco richness.
Mirrors: Frameless oval mirrors parallel the Streamline Moderne look. Or choose a sunburst mirror, either concave or convex. Backlighting creates a striking focal point.
Benches: The perfect Perch for dressing, Deco benches feature rolled arms, tapering wood legs, and custom upholstery. Pair with a coordinating ottoman or slipper chair.
Desks: The quintessential Art Deco desk has a kidney or rounded shape. Rosewood veneers and chrome details lend vintage gravitas. Floating desks create a lighter footprint.
Desk Chairs: Try open arm chairs with an oval back and conforming seat. Chromed frames complement wood desks. Leather or linen upholstery offers a tailored Deco accent.
Filing Cabinets: Metal office cabinets have 1940s appeal. Or choose a compact chest of drawers elevated on tall tapered feet. Paint or lacquer it in glossy black for timeless Deco edge.
Table Lamps: For mood lighting, look for Deco motifs like stepped pyramids or sunrise shapes on lamp bases. Pair with drum lampshades. Lucite and marble bases also shine.
Sculptures: Statues or figurines make