Learn All About Surrealist Decoration

While you might not see its influence in every aspect of life, there's not denying that surrealist art has had an impact on the world of interior decor.

Last update: 28 January, 2021

If you like the unconventional, the surprising, and the norm-defying, you’re sure to find the world of surrealist decoration fascinating. In its own unique way, this unique decorative style reflects a love of unusual furniture and extravagant accessories.

Surrealism was a huge artistic movement in the early twentieth century, and was born of the dada movement. The idea behind surrealism is that the truth can not be found in the obvious or the everyday; rather it is found beyond the limits of logic, inside the unconscious mind. 

According to this idea, there is no reason why an object should have only one interpretation. In fact, the imagination is able to take that object, transform it and embellish it, stripping it of its purely prosaic nature.

Surrealist decoration takes much of its inspiration from this idea, and from a love of great change and revolution. The result is a unique and unusual aesthetic, that has long been a source of wonder and marvel for people around the world.

In this next section, we’ll talk in detail about the characteristics of surrealist decoration, and how best to use it in your home.

Characteristics of surrealist decoration

  • Surrealist decoration often combines various elements to create an optical illusion.
  • The furniture is not designed to be conventional. Even the materials are unusual. For example, instead of typical chaise longue, you can find chairs made of a Persian rug draped over a metal base.
  • As for the decorations and accessories: the weirder, the better. Contemporary sculptures and artwork generally work very well.
  • You can also incorporate antiques into surrealist decor. After all, surrealist artists have no problem with incorporating anachronisms into their work.
  • At first glance, surrealist furniture seems designed to surprise, rather than for comfort or functionality. Despite this, it is usually just as comfortable as any other furniture, and is actually very versatile, as it often has more than one use.

Deconstructing conventions and creating the fantastic and the abstract can be great fun in the world of interior decor.

Surrealist decorating ideas

You don’t need to have elaborate furniture or a huge budget to achieve great surrealist decor. There’s also no need to overfill your room with objects. Instead, the idea is to use details such as color, form and texture to surprise and delight the eye.

It’s possible to achieve original and eye-catching results with very common, everyday objects. Here are just a few ideas:

  • You could buy globes of a different sizes and hang them from your bedroom ceiling.
  • Hang your favorite rug from a wall like a tapestry, instead of laying it on the floor.
  • Add decorations in unexpected places. For example, you could hang a wall clock in the bathroom, choosing a different style from the one you used to decorate the room itself.
  • If you have souvenirs such as clogs or boots, you could display them in prominent places to really make them stand out.
  • Look for unique and interesting wallpaper. Designs with bold black and white stripes are a great option, and can help bring energy and create optical illusion.
  • Common, everyday objects such as floor lamps that are far larger than normal size can be used to create surrealist-style decoration.
  • Another really simple idea for surrealist bedrooms involves decorating the floor as if it were the ceiling. For example, you could decorate it with glow-in-the-dark stars.
  • Decorate an entire wall with clocks. You could use all the same clock, or a variety of different shapes and sizes.

Where can you find surrealist decoration?

One great example of surrealist decoration can be found in the movie Beetlejuice (1988). The home of protagonist, Lydia, is full of huge grotesque sculptures, and decorated with bold, contrasting colors.

While surrealist decoration has generated great interest in the world or television and cinema, it hasn’t become a major interior decorating trend in the Western world, except in the boldest and most audacious homes.

It might interest you...
Decor TipsRead it in Decor Tips
Applying the Modernist Style to Your Home Decor

The modernist style can work for both home interiors and exteriors. Bring your home alive with curvy lines, colors, and nature.