Interior design: 20th century

We look after places that are decorated with some very striking 20th-century interior design. In the years that followed the First World War, the Modernist movement, established in Paris, was seeking to reject the excessive ornamentation of the past. Modernist architects and designers like Le Corbusier and Ernö Goldfinger favoured new ideas and cutting-edge technology that could improve the quality of life. Here's some of the places we care for where you can see 20th century style:

20th century design features to look our for...

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

Art Deco and Modernist style at a glance incorporated: an 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; and design motifs including geometric shapes, ‘stepped’ forms and chevron patterns.

The Library at Coleton Fishacre
Coleton Fishacre boasts Art Deco features in an Arts and Crafts exterior National Trust Images / Dennis Gilbert

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 Dining Room at The Homewood, Surrey
The Dining Room at The Homewood, Surrey, is a fantastic example of Modernist design National Trust Images / Dennis Gilbert

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.

The Art Deco bathroom at Upton House, Warwickshire
Don't miss the stunning Art Deco bathroom at Upton House National Trust Images / Andreas von Einsiedel

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.

The Entrance Hall at 2 Willow Road, with its opaque glass wall
Goldfinger's Modernist home has plenty of surprising design details to spot National Trust Images / Dennis Gilbert

2 Willow Road, Hampstead, London

This is 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.

Design in other eras