20th century features in our houses

Two of the most distinctive styles of the 20th century were Art Deco and Modernism.

Art Deco and Modernist style at a glance

  • Emphasis on clean lines, light and space, simplicity and practicality
  • Use of modern materials such as aluminium, chrome, lacquer and inlaid woods
  • Accents of bold colour within white and cream decorated rooms
  • Innovative designs for lighting and wall and ceiling light fittings
  • Abstract designs for carpets, fabrics and wallpapers
  • Design motifs including geometric shapes, ‘stepped’ forms and chevron patterns

Follow the 20th century style trail

Keen to see this style in action? You can absorb the atmosphere of 20th century style at the following places:

    Coleton Fishacre, Devon

    Designed in the 1920s for Rupert D’Oyle Carte, the house contains distinctive Art Deco decoration, furniture, fixtures and fittings within an Arts and Crafts exterior. The light, stylish rooms evoke the sense of the era with music echoing the family’s Gilbert and Sullivan connections.

    The Homewood, Surrey

    Designed in 1937 in a radical Modernist style by architect Patrick Gwynne, the house is an early example of the influence of continental avant garde. It includes a striking spiral staircase, built-in furniture and sliding doors concealing features such as the gramophone and drinks cabinet, and stylish finishes of marble and tiny glass wall tiles.

    Upton House, Warwickshire

    Re-modelled in 1927-29 by the 2nd Viscount Bearsted, whose father had founded Shell Oil, the house includes a stunning Art Deco bathroom in red and black, with silver aluminium leaf decoration.

    2 Willow Road, Hampstead

    The unique and influential Modernist home built by leading architect of the era, Ernö Goldfinger, for his family in 1939. It includes many items of furniture that he designed along with art works by Henry Moore and Max Ernst.