Art Nouveau in Decoration: How to Implement This Style

The Art Nouveau is an ancient artistic trend, but it is maintained as a modern decoration style.
Art Nouveau in Decoration: How to Implement This Style

Last update: 10 March, 2023

The sophistication of Art Nouveau is what attracts those who choose this trend for decoration. This is a vintage style that, at first, included changes in fashion, painting, sculpture, and illustration. However, it did not take long to be applied to architecture and interior design.

This trend is applicable through the implementation of glassware and furniture, for example. Modernism, as it is also known, captures looks through the elegance and exquisiteness of pieces of common use, but with aesthetic functionality.

What else is there within this concept? Let’s find out below.

The roots of Art Nouveau

The birth of Art Nouveau took place between 1890 and 1910 and is often credited to the designer William Morris. It posed a response to historicism and the constant approaches of the naturalist, rationalist, and mystical aspects, as explained by the Revista Digital de Artes y Humanidades.

Modernism then crossed the border of exclusively representing traces of everyday life to show a touch of fantasy, according to the account given by the Real Academia Catalana de Arte San Jorge (Royal Catalan Academy of Art San Jorge). Furthermore, it reacted to the exhausted artistic models, based on the arts and crafts, which returned to the value of craftsmanship in the face of neoclassicism and mass production.

Its peak was reached in the Belle Époque. Although it toured several countries, France gave it a major boost with exhibitions at the Parisian gallery La Maison de l’Art Nouveau.

In architecture, it took over major works, such as the facade of the Casa Batlló in Barcelona; also, it could be found in sculpture and in works such as The Fountain of the Maiden, as well as in paintings and canvases such as The Kiss, according to the Encyclopedia Concepto.

In the field of decoration, Art Nouveau implemented geometry, with curved and asymmetrical lines, flat arches, and exotic ornaments, simulating the curves of the human body, animals, and vegetation. Thus, this is the current path of the style.

‘Art nouveau’, ‘liberty or floreale style’ and ‘jugendsil’ are the names it receives in Spain, Italy and Germany, respectively. The original term is French.

Casa Batlló es art noveau.
The Casa Batlló in Barcelona is a classic example of the style in architecture.

The characteristics of Art Nouveau, a trend in decoration

The scientific journal Ciencia Acierta preponderates nature as inspiration for the new art, with the caveat of not reproducing exactly the motifs it provides and, instead, aiming towards the abstract.

They define the relationship between ornament and the structure of buildings using iron as a building element and creating figures of flowers, leaves, and animals as characteristic of this style. Here are some of the other unique traits of this style:

  • Elegance: The style is very detailed and elegant, and this is evident in its delicate and fine finishes.
  • Ornamental balance: The decorative composition is rhythmic and balanced and is always looking for striking effects, such as spirals, waves, and waterfalls, for example.
  • Novelty in materials: The freedom to create served him when decorating with components such as glass, concrete, brick, and ceramics, with a nod to craftsmanship.
  • Asymmetry: Strange and asymmetrical shapes harmonize in this modern art. It tends to opt for undulations to straight lines. There’s also room for dreamlike shapes, especially for furniture.

How to implement Art Nouveau in your decoration

Considering the prestige of modernism, let’s take a look at how you can implement this style in your interior design.

The floor is the protagonist in the Art Nouveau style

Take advantage of the spaciousness of the floor to express the Art Nouveau in your decoration. You can do this by installing geometric mosaic tiles, opting for wooden floors, or integrating an oriental patterned rug.

Homes with high ceilings and stylized windows are ideal for Art Nouveau art.

Combine neutral and bright colors

If you paint the walls with neutral colors, then contrast them with bright pigments on the doors, windows, and floors. Consult with an interior decorator and review color contrast theories to create more luminosity and intensity.

Opt for fine wood furnishings for an Art Nouveau style

Even if the furnishings are updated, choose those with soft, arched lines and organic shapes that evoke fantasy and convey energy. Take note of the following examples of shapes:

  • Stems
  • Clouds
  • Trees
  • Silhouettes of women
  • Shells
  • Butterfly wings

Install decorative vinyl wallpapers

Decorative vinyl completely changes the look of a room, bedroom, mirrors, furniture, and fixtures. This resource is customizable, so you can apply it in a floral style. Remember that geometric and natural motif wallpapers are the best.

For those who are just starting out in the world of decoration and are tempted to try Art Nouveau, the installation of vinyl wallpaper is also an excellent initiation.

Incorporate nature on the walls

Use motifs associated with nature in borders, ceiling moldings, or stained-glass windows, making it the central focus and neutralizing the scene with other neutral details.

Fuse subtlety and rusticity in the Art Nouveau style

If you have a high ceiling with brick vaults, spruce up the environment with varnished or painted wood for windows, beams, and doors. The purpose is for the rustic to complement the refined.

Hierro en la arquitectura art noveau.
Iron with stylized shapes is the perfect combination of subtlety and rusticity for this style.

Try frosted glass

Tiffany lamps (seen in the cover photo) and stained glass with browns, golds, greens, and lilacs are key to this style, as they involve the use of frosted glass. Furthermore, this material modifies the incoming light.

Flexibility in decoration based on the Art Nouveau style

A paper published by the Polytechnic University of Valencia argues that the elements in a modernist space can be interpreted just as they are, but it’s also possible to see them as symbols, with the aim of transmitting flexibility and achieving an overall message in your space. They’re also very flexible.

This means that, although it’s necessary to stick to certain guidelines corresponding to the style, nowadays, slight variations are fine, as long as they stick to the sophistication and naturalness that define Art Nouveau. So, would you dare to decorate your house with this trend?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.