How to Decorate in an Art Nouveau Style

As its name suggests, Art Nouveau style was very innovative at the time of its conception. It broke with previous styles and gave a fresh perspective on the future of interior design.
How to Decorate in an Art Nouveau Style

Last update: 14 November, 2018

In order to decorate in Art Nouveau style, you need to know what it’s based on and what it tries to achieve.

Firs,t we need to give some context. This movement began between the final years of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The innovations that emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution were very basic and simple. The goal of Art Nouveau was to break with previous traditions and leave the conventional behind in order to create new art.

The Art Nouveau style took on many names, such as Jugendstil in Germany and Nordic countries, Sezession in Austria, Modern Style in Anglo-Saxon countries, Nieuwe Kunt in the Netherlands, and Liberty or Floreale  in Italy. All of these, including Art Nouveau in France and Belgium, are included under the umbrella of modernism.

Finally, we can’t forget that this style developed in different areas of life, such as architecture, illustrations in books and magazines, jewelry, furniture, tiles, ceramic, glass, etc.

Some European cities have a large number of buildings made in Art Nouveau style. You can see a lot of Art Nouveau in Brussels and Antwerp. If you’re very interested in Art Nouveau, we recommend touring these cities to learn more about it. These places are the perfect locations to find inspiration and ideas.

The features to keep in mind for decorating in the Art Nouveau style?

Next, we’ll give you some general characteristics belonging to this style.

  • Search for beauty. Beauty is paramount, even in the most simple or ordinary objects, which should ideally be handmade. They should be useful but also present a careful and “correct” look. If you’re interested in art, this is a way to apply it in the decorative field.
  • Inspiration in nature. You’ll find the recurrent use of floral, plant, and animal motifs such as dragons, butterflies, dragonflies, and peacocks in this style. As you’ll see in the next section, you can apply this to all kinds of furniture and objects. In addition, you can always place varied plants to accentuate that fondness for nature.
  • Lines. In general, lines in Art Nouveau style are asymmetrical or curved, imitating plant vines. Door and window frames can also be curved, even if they’re not made of wood.
  • Exoticism and eroticism. Some pieces of Art Nouveau style are totally original, while others are borrowed from other cultures, such as from the Japanese. In addition, this style employs eroticism and a touch of sensuality.
  • Female figures. This style has a close relationship with the ideas of eroticism and sensuality. Think about delicate figures with beautiful faces and curves and wavy hair.

In terms of this, Alphonse Mucha stands out, as he was a renowned painter during this movement.

He did paintings and posters and created carpet designs in which he often represented this type of woman. They appear dressed in flowing tunics, often surrounded with flowers. They’re a good option to decorate your walls with, using a large tapestry or a painting. Another option is for you to find personalized boxes with those images on them. 

art nouveau

personalized boxes /

  • Colors. Colors should be somewhat muted. Think about browns, mustards, or green colors. It’s also common to see highlights and the use of white, electric blue, and gold.
  • Colored glasses. These are very characteristic, and they allow a greater amount of light into the room. They can replace opaque walls. They’re the perfect solution if you like clear and bright spaces.
  • Materials. Materials are mostly made of wood, glass, steel, and iron. We mustn’t forget that steel and glass emerged from the Industrial Revolution.

Decorate the main rooms in your home in Art Nouveau

In this section, we’ll give you some resources to take into account when decorating or redecorating your home. You’ll really get that Art Nouveau touch by following these guidelines.

  • Your bedroom’s headboard. Choose a headboard with a design that reminds you of a vine, with curves and small leaves or flowers. You can incorporate the earthy feel to the end of your bed in the same way. You’ll find headboards like this in varying degrees of complexity.
  • Tiles. Some tiles are very showy and original. Find tiles that have a design with flowers or leaves.
  • Furniture. Choose furniture with intricate, curved lines. In the case of chairs, a design with a seat and a back in the shape of a leaf or flower will stand out. In addition, this furniture doesn’t have to be symmetrical. The legs should be curved and thin. They can be upholstered with the range of colors that we mentioned above.
art nouveau furniture

Art Nouveau dressing table /

  • Walls. Using wallpaper is very popular in Art Nouveau, especially with designs consisting of flowers, leaves, dragonflies, or peacock feathers.
  • Doors and windows. It’s very common to see curved doors and windows, particularly in the shape of an arch. In both cases, you can consider adding colored glasses that would take up all of the available surface. We also frequently see stained glass decorated with colorful flowers, trees, female figures with long robes, or little birds.
  • Accessories. Accessories such as vases, bowls, or porcelain vases made of colored glass are popular choices in this style. In addition, you can also frame pictures of painters from this period, such as Alphonse Mucha or the Viennese Gustav Klimt.
art nouveau

Art Nouveau print /

  • Railings. If you have a house that’s more than one story tall, find a railing with successive curved lines, like vines. This type of work that’s very fine and delicate, can remind us of bars that we would find in gardens or balconies.
  • Mirror. Our mirrors don’t have to be completely symmetrical. We can choose them with frames containing plant motifs or with figures that are generally feminine.


In conclusion, these are just some ideas that you can use to achieve an Art Nouveau style in your home. Also, if you’re a fan of Art Deco, which comes later in time, you will find many similarities between both styles. Therefore, it’s very possible to create a link between the two styles when decorating your house.

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