The Seven Elements of Hollywood Regency Style

These in my mind are the seven big ideas to take away when you think about how to achieve a Hollywood Regency look. Don’t feel like you have to do all seven of these, but some combination of them will get you there. You’ll probably notice that in most cases the images I have selected exhibit multiple elements. That is the beauty of Hollywood Regency – it allows the “promiscuous mix” of design elements we talked about in my blog posts titled An Introduction to Hollywood Regency Design. If you have not seen them, here are the links to Part I and Part II. In addition, I am developing a series of Instagram posts with additional images selected to illustrate the best of this style. You can follow along on Instagram by following me — social links are embedded in this page.  Note that I cannot take credit for most of the images shown here. I identified the sources wherever possible, and for the most part found them through simple Google searches.  There is a lot of design porn here and out there on the internet for your enjoyment and creative inspiration.  My goal is to provide you with examples so you can see what to look for and what works with this style of interior design.

  1. Play With Scale. Scale in this context refers to the size or level of something in comparison to what is average. When thinking about Hollywood Regency interior design, we could have furnishings, architectural details or other design elements that are larger or smaller than average. For example in a room with higher than average ceilings, you might have larger than average doors or decorative panels. When it comes to furnishings, you might have items that are lower to the ground. My beloved Brentwood chair as an example has a seat height of 15” which is a bit lower than average, while a canopy chair with its very tall back which provides additional visual height. Note the slideshow  images here from Kelly Wearstler’s 2006 book titled  Domicilium Decoratus which provides rich interior design eye candy with a mix of scales (and super elegant interiors). Mixtures of scales that are appropriate for your space are the first element of the Hollywood Regency style.

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  1. Don’t Be Bashful — Color Boldly! Bold pops of color are used freely in these interiors. It may be used on an accent wall, key pieces of furniture, art or accessories. The options are almost endless. Just be careful to know when enough is enough (or not). In addition to the Domicilium Decoratus images above with that beautiful bright orange, here are two additional examples. The first is an image from Jonathan Adler that features a kelly green sofa against a creamy background with pops of black (yes, black can pop). The second image takes an entirely different approach by using a black background and the color pops come from the white sofa and accessories as well as the Kelly green patterned rug. The key is a bold jolt of color, and when used against a black background even white can be a bold choice.
  1. Use Patterns With Impact. Hollywood Regency interiors often get big impact through the use of pattern. If you look back at the black room from point two above you’ll notice the neo-classically patterned floor rug and side chairs combined with the subtle damask like wall covering.  The image below also shows the use of a large bold geometric pattern on the floor combined with a smaller scale geometric print on the chairs at left. Note also the bold pops of turquoise blue on the campaign chair and accessories combined with the deeper ocean blue on the sofa.  This is all set within a mid-century interior (the fireplace is a dead giveaway).  Notice also in the adjacent space the bold, complementary orange accent wall.

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  1. Accent With Chinoiserie. I will confess, I am deeply fond of Chinoiserie. Although my home décor doesn’t adhere to enough of the elements here to be considered Hollywood Regency, there is a place for Chinoiserie in many different interior styles. There are a number of ways to incorporate Chinoiserie elements. For example, you can use decorative items like ginger jars, lantern styled lighting fixtures, Chinese Chippendale chairs or beautiful hand painted wallcoverings. Here are some beautiful examples. Note the bedroom scene uses a couple of panels which are a lower cost way to introduce more expensive hand painted papers.  Notice also the pair of turquoise foo dogs on the bench.

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  1. Bring On The Gloss. Glossy lacquered furnishings are so appropriate to the Hollywood Regency style. The little apple green chest in the slideshow above is a “three-fer”.  Not only does it have a glossy lacquer finish, but it features Chinoiserie motifs and a bold pop of color.  These are the types of pieces which really “bring it” from a style point of view.  Some of my favorite lacquered pieces at the moment are from Jonathan Adler a few of which are in the slideshow below. I love that he has a number of different pieces that have great hardware and can be made to order in as many as five different colors. He also offers lacquered Chinese Chippendale chairs which would give you a “twofer”.  Another approach is to use a high gloss paint on walls, old furniture or woodwork which is an inexpensive way to go. Yet another option would be a piece of furniture with a more exotic hardwood finish.   Naturally, there are many decorative accessories you can choose from to bring a bit of gloss into the room.

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  1. Touchable Tactile Textures. There are a lot of ways to bring textured textiles into the room and delight the senses– textured wallcoverings, plush velvets on the sofa, silk pillows, leather, and fur throws are just a few. If you scroll back through the images you’ll find these in many of the previous examples in addition to the ones shown below.lisa-gilmore-interior-design-hollywood-regency-bold-decor-living-room-dining-room-new-york

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  1. Pretty Shinny Things.  Bring additional sparkle into the room with items like mirrors (may include mirrored furniture), lighting fixtures and reflective surfaces.  These items add instant glamor and drama, especially when the room is lit.  Don’t forget to create layers of lighting as they are needed in every room design regardless of the design style.  The four basic layers are ambient, decorative, task, and accent — I look forward to explaining these further in an upcoming post.  Your biggest bang (from a “sparkle” point of view) is likely to come from effective decorative and accent lighting.  This is very important, however with Hollywood Regency as these interiors are meant to be dramatic and glamorous.  If you look back at the previous images, you will see examples in addition to the ones shown below.
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