Spend some time watching the Turner Classic Movie Channel, and you’ll see scenes from old movie sets that suggest that life back then was best lived in elegant rooms that cradle the owner in luxury. Hollywood in the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s was known for abundant glitz and glamour.
Dorothy Draper and Billy Haines were two interior designers from the 1930s whose style influenced a décor that today is called Hollywood Regency. Draper established the first interior design company in the United States in 1923 and was known for her striking color combinations. A former actor, Haines’ clients included Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard.
While Hollywood Regency sounds like a look for the rich and famous, the glamorous style would make an excellent backdrop for your modern life. Going Hollywood Regency is all about the details. Here are five of its signature characteristics:
Hollywood Regency focuses on making the home a showpiece and that is best done with surfaces that shine. Just like the platinum beauties who dominated the big screen during the ‘30s and ‘40s, sparkling settings set the tone with heavy use of lacquer and mirrored surfaces. Introduce a reflective surface into your room with a table like the Miraval Square Bunching Table, with mirrored sides that showcase light. Casters on the base make it easily moved during parties, and it can be used alone or in a group for a stunning cocktail table
In the ‘30s and ‘40s, designers believed furniture should fade into the background, letting the homeowner become larger than life in the room. As a result, much of the furnishings were small scale. In today’s era of overstuffed sectionals and big screen TVs, these smaller pieces seem like a novelty. Grab this look by using a settee in place of a sofa or loveseat. The Heidi Settee from the Style Collection features slim lines and contrasting welting and buttons. Upholstered in a neutral tweed, the piece is also available as a custom order so you can choose a more dramatic fabric if you wish.
Hollywood Regency homes are dressed to impress, with velvet drapes and thick, sculpted carpets. Showy fabrics and glitzy details make a statement and create a sense of sophistication. A luxe choice for lighting would be our Contemporary Floor Lamp, featuring a polished chrome finish. Instead of a traditional white shade, its solid silver topper is like an eye-catching crown jewel.
While Hollywood Regency is from the ‘30s and ‘40s, its look is strikingly modern and relevant in today’s homes. Look closer and you’ll realize that it’s due to the classic lines found in its furnishings. Comfortable yet sleek, you’ll find such timeless pieces as slipper chairs and tufted round ottomans. While the lines are simple, the fabrics are often bold. Consider our Illusions Accent Chair; the streamlined slipper silhouette gets dramatic flair with the bright red and gray floral upholstery.
Finally, Hollywood Regency designers loved to use color, especially bright pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, blues and greens, and they often adorned walls in high-gloss paint. The striking hues were grounded with lots of black and white, providing a rich balance. Take a look at our Thread & Feather Callie Chair. A great addition to a Hollywood Regency living room, its lime green genuine leather seat seems to float inside its chrome base.